Latex Mattress Covers ?


I’m narrowing down where I plan to buy a latex mattress, however I’m noticing a variety of cover options. Some of the online sellers offer latex beds with just a thin cotton cover (or something similar). While others offer a much more expensive, conventional cotton/wool stitched cover. Is there any kind of wear-factor involved with the surface of latex when using just a very thin cover? Are there pro’s/con’s to a thin cover vs. one with additional filler such as wool, etc? Are there any particular after-market covers I should consider?

Also, what would be the recommended order with a waterproof mattress protector?..Should it go directly over the latex, or rather over the mattress cover?

As you can see, I’m very ignorant about covers with regards to latex mattresses, so any information would be greatly appreciated.



Hi Sonic,

There are several choices for the quilting/ticking for a latex mattress and they involve some degree of tradeoff.

One that is very popular is a cotton or cotton bamboo blend which is quilted with wool. In many cases … the compressed wool has the advantage of passing the fire retardancy regulations so a fire retardant sock or fabric is not required. The advantage of wool is that it is very breathable and cool and there is some evidence that it can increase the quality of sleep. The disadvantage is that the wool (and most other fibers) will slightly reduce the ability of the latex to form a pressure relieving cradle that takes on the shape of your body so will make the latex feel firmer and reduce its ability to relieve pressure and the depth of the pressure relieving cradle. This is because wool is not elastic or as resilient as latex. This effect can increase as the wool becomes more compressed.

The other option … which is becoming more popular for many … is a high quality stretchy ticking without a quilting fiber. The best materials are a circular knit or other quality material that is very stretchy. It needs to be thick enough to protect the latex as ozone and ultraviolet can cause latex to breakdown prematurely (it forms a hard crust and then begins to crumble). Thin “cheap” materials that are not as stretchy or as durable may be less expensive but are not as good a choice IMO. The advantage of this type of cover is that you are much closer to the latex and this allows the latex to take on the body shape of the person on it and relieve pressure more effectively. This is especially helpful when soft latex is used as a comfort layer and someone wants to take full advantage of the pressure relieving qualities of soft latex. A fire retardant sock or material is needed however to pass the fire laws (the best IMO is a viscose material with inherent silica such as Visil). Fire retardant chemicals used in the ticking or foam itself are less “desirable” although there are some who believe that Borax is the best of these. A wool mattress pad that is either water resistant (just compressed wool) or waterproof (has a urethane film which is breathable and waterproof attached to a fabric). The mattress protectors that are both breathable and waterproof are also widely available without wool.

All mattresses should have some form of water resistant or waterproof protection over them (with or without a fiber like wool) to protect against stains and moisture which can void a warranty. This goes over the mattress cover. Whichever is chosen … I believe that this protector should be breathable.

In the end its usually a preference choice as each has a different feel and each type of ticking/quilting can be used to fine tune a mattress in different ways. Having a stretchy cover over latex is great and keeps the choice of using wool or not in a mattress protector as an option but this also means that the mattress needs a fire retardant method to pass the regulations (unless of course a custom manufacturer makes one without any fire retardant but that needs a doctors prescription).


Thanks once again for such great information.

Do latex mattress covers from the online sites usually meet the fire/fed regulations? I’m wondering if, by selling latex in raw layers along with a cover, maybe that doesn’t qualify as selling a “bed” in the eyes of the law, and therefore not subject to the regulations?

Cotton or cotton/poly mix is what I think many of the covers are made of that I’ve seen online - those paired with the latex diy-layered mattresses. No idea if that type of cover would be fire retardant nor protect from ozone.


Hi Sonic,

The fire regulations require that mattresses be tested “as a whole” using a prototype of the proposed mattress rather than layer by layer. This means that a mattress cover by itself is not tested unless it is part of a prototype which includes the layers inside it. This is an expensive process.

If the manufacturer (including an online manufacturer) is reputable … which of course would include the members on this site … then they have been tested and are approved. There are manufacturers who try to skirt the regulations in various ways and while I am not a fan of the fire regulations … especially the latest one (FR 1633) which is questionable at best … a manufacturer who breaks the law in one way will usually usually not be so concerned with ethical business practices either. Risking an entire business for the sake of “getting around the law” is usually a sign of very short term thinking and short term business practices designed to make a quick buck any way they can.

There are also some (unethical) online vendors who sell “RV mattresses” with the full intent of marketing them for in home use (they rarely sell non RV mattresses). These will usually have inappropriate covers which are not protective and are more “mattress protectors” than tickings but are designed to attract consumers who make choices based on price alone rather than value.

So the quick answer is that if you purchase a mattress … DIY or otherwise … from a reputable manufacturer, then you will be purchasing a mattress that has appropriate materials and has either passed the fire code or will require a doctors prescription if it hasn’t.



There’s some pretty decent information kind of in regards to what Phoenix was saying about making sure the latex can still give you the pressure relieving benefits. It goes into knitted and woven mattress covers, and the difference between the two. To give proper credit, the reference is: