Protectors, Pads, and Toppers

Hello Everyone,

Based on reading a lot of the excellent information on this forum, I just bought a great latex mattress from Gardner Matress in Salem, MA.  I travel for work and have stayed in luxury hotels all over the world, and this is one of the most comfortable mattresses I have ever slept on, so thank you all very much for sharing.

But of course it was a big investment, so now I have some questions about how to protect it.

I have already bought a "Malouf Encase" six-sided, zippered waterproof mattress protector on Amazon.  On my old mattress I did not have a protector, but I did have a regular, thin, quilted cotton elastic mattress pad.  Should I still use a mattress pad on top of my mattress protector, or is that redundant?

Also, in the future, I am considering buying a plush latex mattress topper.  Would this topper then go inside the mattress protector?



Congratulations on your mattress purchase :). It’s nice to see people buying from a local high quality manufacturer and recognizing that this is where the best value is for a mattress purchase.

Your Malouf protector has a breathable and waterproof membrane attached to a fabric so this is fine for protection. Because it is also thin and stretchy … it will also let you sleep closer to the latex and have a negligible effect on its performance. This type of protector is overall the best combination of breathability, moisture resistance, and least effect on the mattress comfort layer. The thin quilted cotton mattress pad is not necessary for “additional” protection.

The cotton quilted pad used on its own would be much less waterproof (you would have to remove the pad and sheets very quickly in case of an accident before it soaked through to the mattress) and becaue it is thicker would also affect the performance of the latex more. They are sometimes used because they are very breathable but the tradeoff is more thickness and far less water or moisture resistance. Your Malouf also surrounds the mattress (there are models that just protect the top) which provides more protection from bedbugs as well … at the tradeoff of allowing slightly less air into the mattress as a whole. The breathable/waterproof membranes are great (and my favorite overall) but they are slightly less breathable than either a cotton quilted pad/protector or a wool protector. They all perform the same “protective” functions though to different degrees.

Different people will make different choices depending on what is most important to them.

Quilted Cotton = least water resistant, most breathable, slight effect on the mattress comfort layer

Quilted or compressed wool = more waterproof (water resistant), very breathable, moderate to significant effect on the mattress comfort layer depending on amount and compression of wool.

Waterproof/breathable membrane attached to a fabric = most waterproof, breathable but slightly less so than the other two, negligible effect on the mattress comfort layer.

Combinations or other choices such as silk are also available which have a different “set of tradeoffs”.

Any topper you purchase should go under the protector so it was protected from stains and moisture as well.



Thank you very much for the prompt, thorough reply. Your advice on this forum was critical in helping me determine what mattress to purchase. I went from looking at $1000 spring mattresses to $4000 tempurpedic and finally the perfect Gardner latex matress. It was still $3000, but at least I know it is money well spent - why pinch pennies on something that is so critical to comfort and happiness for the next 20 years?

Hello again,

As I mentioned previously in a different post , I bought a technogel Vive mattress (with a trial period) as i was very intrigued by the pressure relief ability of the gel that they use. After sleeping on it, I came to the conclusion that I like the gel layer on top however the layers underneath, which is a combo of latex and memory foam, is not my ideal combo and would prefer it differently.

So I started researching to see if i can purchase just the gel and then i can customize the layers underneath to my liking. i came across companies that made gel mattresses in the past (sherwood evosleep) as well as companies that produce sheets of gel for medical purposes as well as gel bed topper(Action, Akton and others).
Are these gels the same concept that is used by technogel?

as you see in the link here from technogel stating that their gel is not comparable to the other gels on the that so?

in addition, above the mattress and gel I would like to use a mattress topper for breathability (moisture wicking & temp regulating)and comfort purposes not for protection. I folded 2 comforters in half and placed it on top of the gel and was still able to feel the gel’s comfort so thats not a concern. the standard pad/topper recommended would be a wool & cotton. However, there are others (horsehair, silk,linen,cashmere,coir,mohair etc.).
Which fiber or combination of fibers would be the best for breathability and comfort (not looking at expense as an issue) ?
Are some of the specialty materials i listed prior just a luxury item that they add to expensive items to make it special and not really superior in comfort/breathability?

the mattress underground would surely relate to me being fussy- as the mattress is the place one spends the most time on and small details can make a huge difference :slight_smile: i really appreciate your guidance throughout my research :slight_smile: !!!

thank you,

Hi Robert101.

[quote]So I started researching to see if i can purchase just the gel and then i can customize the layers underneath to my liking. i came across companies that made gel mattresses in the past (sherwood evosleep) as well as companies that produce sheets of gel for medical purposes as well as gel bed topper(Action, Akton and others). Are these gels the same concept that is used by technogel?
as you see in the link here from technogel stating that their gel is not comparable to the other gels on the that so?[/quote]

We’ve discussed some of this in in the topic " Anyone own a techno gel mattress" … but to add a bit more color … Technogel and Akton are similar using a solid gel layer/membrane based on claims it provides temperature and pressure relief. The type that is used in the Evosleep is a solid gel (not mixed into another type of foam) which is the most expensive and effective type of gel. Elastomeric polyurethane gels are a very strong, elastic, and durable materials with unique properties such as including being viscoelastic and thermally conductive. It is generally used in a thin layer on top and then other types of materials are used underneath it (such as memory foam or polyfoam). Action appears to sell Mattress Gel overlays and as far as we know Technogel sells it gel technology for mattresses only as a component in mattresses. There is a slight caution from Mattress Makers of our Trusted Members about Technogel’s cooling abilities in post # 16 here and there is more about gels in post #2 here.

You are correct that Action’s primary target market has been in hospital and home medical products. Technogel is broadly distributed as a component in select models of several mattress brands. I do not have personal experience with Technogel to compare with but it would seem that if you are looking to create a DIY mattress that uses a gel layer, Action would be the most direct path.

Natural materials and latex foam are most widely recognized for their breathability and comfort. It’s really a matter of personal comfort. Wool, cotton, latex and horsehair/mohare are available in thicknesses that allow for comfort, as well as breathability. Coir is very firm and not a comfort material. Mohair (horsetail hair) is not used as a comfort material. Silk, linen, cashmere are yarns included in fabrics. That often encase materials such as cotton, wool, etc.

[quote]Are some of the specialty materials i listed prior just a luxury item that they add to expensive items to make it special and not really superior in comfort/breathability?

Yes, some of the materials you list are viewed to be luxury items based on their cost. On a personal note I would find difficult to justify the price unless there was something about it that was clearly superior to your other options and not just a small difference. The comfort factor is one of personal preference and may be appealing to some or indifferent /unsuitable for others.
Based my own personal sense of “value” I would have a hard time justifying a mattress that was over twice the price of some similar thickness all latex mattresses… If a latex mattress (or any other material) can get someone to 90% of their “ideal” in terms of needs and preferences (including temperature regulation) … then… would an extra 5% improvement really be worth it? (I doubt that any mattress would meet all of someone’s changing needs and preferences all of the time which would be 100%)

You’re very welcome! :slight_smile: And if you have a chance to test a few of these gels and materials and compare them I’d love to hear your feedback though about any more specific differences that you felt in terms of pressure relief, alignment, or the “feel” between them and also in terms of “coolness” as this property seems to be a bit overrated.


HI All,

I am looking for high end bedding -my top priorities are comfort, breathability(i sleep hot) and durability.

In my research i came across bedding made from Tencel which supposedly is smooth like Silk (without shine) and comfort/durability better then high end Cotton or linen fibers.
Do you know if Tencel is in fact better then Cotton/linen/silk bedding??

In addition, whereas tencel is made from wood their is a website click here for link that creates tencil like fabric using bamboo. Any information on this -is it comparable to Tencel? is it better then cotton/linen/silk bedding??

I appreciate your feedback

Thank you,

Hi Robert101,

Thanks for the questions.

Bamboo or “bamboo from viscose” and eucalyptus “Tencel” are two similar textile fibers in the way they are grown and processed. Many very high quality textiles are made with both of these fibers. The legitimate supply chains use sustainably grown trees without insecticides and pesticides. The resulting fabrics have similar properties in terms of softness, durability and quality.

Phoenix has a nice summary in this post, which also includes other links for more info about fabrics.

The main difference between the two is the process used to transform the wood into a textile fiber. Tencel is the name of the fiber developed by Lenzing whose raw material comes from eucalyptus trees and is processed according to the lyocell process.

Generally speaking, these fabrics are of higher quality than cotton/silk/linen…if all other factors are considered equal. But in the world of textiles, there are low-quality mills making low-quality bamboo viscose, and high-quality mills making beautiful cotton products, so it is hard to keep all things equal. The site you have sent over certainly seems like they have a good knowedge of these fabrics. I do not have any other knowedge of this company.

Thanks again


I bought a latex mattress from MFC and I was wondering if I can put a tencel protector on it, even if enclosed. Would it allow for sufficient breathing for the latex? Thanks

In theory, latex that cannot breathe should not need to breathe. Meaning, if the latex is not absorbing humidity in the air or body sweats, it has nothing it needs to release.

However, some air is trapped in the latex before zipping it into its protector and let’s be honest, even plastic is air permeable, air can still get into the latex. Is whatever was in the air to start or the tiny bit of air transfer than happens with a tencel protector or something like our laminate jersey protector enough to cause that latex to degrade faster than it should? It is a bit of an unknown, I think.

I would lean to the latex should be OK because of its antimicrobial properties. Tests have shown bacteria introduced to the latex in a closed room. While at first the bacteria did grow, it did not find the latex to be a suitable home and started to die off at day 3 of the test and continued to die off until day 7 when the test ended.

Thanks… I am confused however, because I thought tencel let air in and out… It doesn’t allow liquid to let in but air… That’s why I thought it could be a good choice. I wouldn’t put a vinyl enclosed protector on latex, even if it has antimicrobial properties…

As I understand it, tencel itself is breathable as it is ecalyptus wood pulp that it very absorbant, but in order to make it waterproofit, they add a layer which makes it become not so breathable.

Are you sure about this? I went to the store to buy a tencel protector for my son and they advertised two containers with tencel on it: in one there was a powder and in the other water. We could smell the powder but water wouldn’t get through. It’s very thin also. I’m still confused… :confused:

Hello John667,

I don’t work with Tencel to have personal experience with it, but this amazon waterproof pad, the first one I happened to pull up the other day says, “TENCEL is different than other natural and synthetic fibers in that it has the ability to absorb moisture into the inner most portion of the fiber where it’s then released back into the air promoting thermo-regulation. This moisture management feature not only helps keep the sleeper cooler, but also helps naturally inhibit the growth of bacteria by removing moisture buildup on the outside of the TENCEL fiber. Fluid, allergen and dust mite protection: to prevent allergens and fluids from passing through the protector, our protectors are back coated with a breathable, hypoallergenic and 100% waterproof membrane layer. This makes our protectors especially helpful for those with allergies or asthma as these allergens may be easily removed from the surface of the protector during recommended quarterly launderings.”

While this description only describes that one particular pad, I have a feeling that membrane is far more prevalent than realized. I would suspect many retailers may not be aware of this membrane, just as many retailers may not be aware of the nonwoven that wool is felted to in order to make a wool felt puddle pad.

I’m not sure this Amazon product is real Tencel. I bought a tencel mattress protector in a store for a small bed and it was like $100+. I understand that it’s more expensive in a store, but still…

What would you recommend to protect a latex mattress from humidity (and sometimes with the kids sleeping in…), yet which is breathable enough?

Hey John667,

Thanks for your question to everyone here at the TMU forum :slight_smile: .

Here are our Trusted Member manufacturers/ retailers who offer excellent mattress protector choices for your review:

Arizona Premium Mattress
Sleep EZ
The Beloit Mattress Company
Flexus Comfort Mattress Company
Luma Sleep
Mattress Makers
Mattress to Go
My Green Mattress
Nest Bedding
Shepherd’s Dream
Sleeping Organic

These are all designed with latex mattresses in mind, the other considerations being the type fabrications better suited to your/ your family’s personal comfort needs. It would be interesting to hear thoughts from some of our Expert Members on your question. Just curious, can you give more details about what humidity concerns you have?


I have a Topper question:
For over 10 years , I have successfully been using a strategy with putting a 4 inch 5lb topper over a very firm inner spring mattress (Simmons beauty rest extra firm). I replace the topper every 3-4 years to a new one, which works well, but the base innerspring mattress is the same. My question is whether there is any need to replace the inner spring mattress now that it is over 10 years old, nearing 15 years. When I inspect the mattress without the topper, it is firm as ever, with no sagging or signs of spring wear that I can tell. So I’m not sure if there is any need to replace the mattress since I replace the topper which is what makes the difference.
Even to get a similar basic firm innerspring mattress as a replacement would cost around $500, so I’m not sure I want to do that unless there is a good reason.

Thanks for the reply. I’m looking about a comfortable mattress protector that can protect the mattress if my kids get in the bed and pee at night. It should breath enough for latex yet do not let pee in. Hope it’s clear enough now! :slight_smile: