Since topper covers cost money and some people probably have extra sheets laying around, what about this idea:
Fitted sheet goes on top of bare mattress. Latex topper on top of that. Then another fitted sheet on top of the latex topper. And then your usual, weekly-laundered fitted sheet on top of that.
Presented in another way, for visual learners, from top to bottom:
Your usual fitted sheet that gets laundered regularly.
Is there anything wrong with my thinking here? I have extra sheets laying around and I don’t mind putting them to good use. Spilling or soiling of the bed isn’t an issue for me, but if it were, a mattress protector in lieu of the fitted sheet on top of the latex would do.
I don’t think the fitted sheet listed in #4 buys you anything at all. Definitely seems unnecessary.
Your idea will work fine, but latex is subject to oxidation and UV breakdown and the fitted sheets probably won’t provide enough protection. I used latex toppers for about 5 years with only a mattress pad (polyfill) and fitted sheet over them and the edges of the toppers were hard and crusty by the 4th or 5th year - probably from oxidation and not having enough protection. The sleeping surface of the latex was totally fine however.
A mattress pad will affect the feel of the latex, and most of the zippered topper covers have a woven bottom (not stretchy) which completely defeats the purpose of having a soft, stretchy knit cover IMO. I can definitely tell a difference in feel vs. without these types of covers. Personally, if it were me, I would go with your idea for the increased feel/comformability of the latex, but be warned that you will probably shorten the latex’s life. The tradeoff is worth it for me, but might not be worth it for others.
Questions like these always involve tradeoffs and where inside a range of risk you are most comfortable. There are no black and white answers in other words.
Latex can oxidize with exposure to air/oxygen/ozone, and ultraviolet light along with some of the other substances that are listed here. You can also get some sense of the different degrees of oxidation as a result of using different types of covers in post #3 here and post #3 here.
Your setup would certainly be better than sleeping directly on latex or using latex with only a single fitted sheet on top of it but it wouldn’t be as effective as using a dedicated cover around the latex in addition to fitted sheets and even here the type and thickness of the cover would make a difference … but can also affect the feel of the latex more.
Having multiple layers of sheets over the mattress may also affect the feel and performance of the latex (depending on the fabric, how tight it is over the latex, and on how stretchy it is).
Your suggested layers would certainly help slow down the oxidation or breakdown of the latex compared to other options that would be less protective but it also wouldn’t be as protective as other options or cover materials that would surround and protect the latex more effectively than what you are suggesting.
I’m also not quite clear on the purpose of the fitted sheet over the mattress and under the latex because it seems that it wouldn’t really add anything to how well the latex was protected.
While none of this would likely have a significant practical effect in short to medium term use (outside of direct exposure to substances that are very harmful in the short term) … the oxidation of latex or other “gradual” effects that happen over time and continuous exposure to substances that are harmful to latex can certainly affect the useful life of the latex in the longer term.
It just looks to me like the topper covers out there are pretty breathable, and wouldn’t appreciably alter the dynamic. And if they do actually impede airflow, then that negates a substantial alleged benefit of latex, which is that it breathes more and runs cooler. I suspect if someone has plenty of fitted sheets laying around, they can cover up their latex topper to their heart’s content, to whatever degree of protection they feel inclined to install.