Wool mattress pad or topper

I have long thought that I wanted to get a wool mattress pad for our Select Comfort bed as I find it rather hot. I have been doing some reading here and now I am not sure exactly what would be the best thing to alleviate the hot sleeping. I have always used 100% cotton mattress pads and I like them but I thought wool might be better at temperature regulation while also repelling dust mites better than cotton.

In reading about wool I found out about the Super Wash process and I don’t really like the idea of altering the wool that much and having it be basically coated in plastic. I am even willing to forgo wash-ability to stay away from these chemical treatments but it seems the only pads/toppers that use unprocessed wool are the kind with batting in them and I am not sure I like the compressibility aspect of those and the need fuss with sleeping on different areas to get it evenly compressed. I had thought what I wanted was one of the fleece type pads but they all seem to use Super Wash treated wool judging by the calls I have made to manufacturers - oddly, even the ones that say they are not washable. I liked the idea with the fleece ones that the wool was accessible and could be combed back to fluffiness.

I am not trying to really change the feeling of the mattress - we seem to sleep comfortably on it, other than the heat factor. Any suggestions of what type of pad I could try to dissipate the heat a bit more from this mattress?



Hi 12345,

There is more information in post #2 here that may be helpful with identifying and minimizing temperature regulation issues.

There is also more about wool mattress pads and toppers in post #8 here and the posts it links to.

I would tend to look at the mattress protector you are using along with your sheets and bedding first because these can have a significant effect on temperature with the least possible effect on the feel and performance of your mattress.

Thicker and more breathable mattress pads and toppers (especially made with natural fibers) can also help but they will have a more significant effect on the feel and performance of your mattress.


in one of the blogs about wool mattress pads you discuss st. peter woolmill. i just bought one of their pads. in the discussion about this mill you mention a “stretch knit cotton protector”. who makes these , or where can i find one? all my research comes up with either waterproof or padded covers. thanks

Hi force,

You can find several sources for stretch knit cotton mattress protectors in post #89 here about the pros and cons of different types of mattress protectors.


Thanks Phoenix.

Heat is an issue because of the fact that the Select Comfort is the least breathable mattress made, if I am not mistaken - you are basically lying on a plastic bag. There is some poly-type fiber-fill in the mattress topper that came with it and I have a cotton muslin mattress protector over that and then my 100% cotton mattress pad (the fill in it is cotton too) and then a 100% cotton sheet and I wear cotton to bed. I need to buy a new mattress pad as my cotton one is worn out.

I am debating whether to try a wool mattress pad or a thicker topper. I am assuming that wool would do a better job of regulating our temperature than cotton does. I am not too worried about changing the feel of the bed, I don’t think that would bother us - I just meant I wasn’t buying a pad in order TO change the feel. I want natural materials in anything I buy even to the point of not wanting Super Wash process used on the wool if I end up buying wool. And as I said, I have a preference for a fleece type wool pad but I don’t know of any that are not processed with Super Wash or similar. Do you? Barring a fleece pad, are there any other wool pads or toppers that are not going to be subject to compression to the degree that it is noticeable but that would do a good job of mitigating the plastic bag effect?

I hope that clarifies my questions a little better.


Hi 12345,

The air bladder is the support core of an airbed and is deeper in the mattress and you would be sleeping on the foam or fiber layers above the air chambers not directly on the air bladder itself. The layers that are closer to you will have a much bigger effect on the sleeping temperature of a mattress than the deeper layers. Most people wouldn’t have temperature regulation issues with most airbeds (unless they are using memory foam in the comfort layers) but this also depends on the specifics of the mattress and on where you are in the “oven to iceberg” range. There are many mattresses that would sleep warmer for most people than your mattress (particularly memory foam mattresses).

Mattress pads with wool batting will likely be cooler than fleece pads because they will pack down and compress less than fleece. Wool will also tend to be more temperature regulating than cotton.

Many if not most of the mattress pads or toppers that are in the wool topper list here don’t use super wash wool and most of them use natural or in some cases even organic wool and cotton.

Thicker wool toppers will compress more than thinner wool mattress pads or toppers so it may be worthwhile considering a thinner mattress pad in the range of about 1/2" to 1" or so vs a thicker wool topper which can still have a significant effect on temperature regulation but are thinner and will compress less. The compression of wool over time in the areas you sleep on it the most is normal and unlike foam materials that get softer over time … the impressions won’t have a significant affect the feel and performance of even a thicker wool topper because they get firmer as they compress (the wool doesn’t return to its full loft but will feel very similar under weight) unlike foam materials which become softer as they develop impressions which will have a bigger effect on comfort and support. If you sleep on different areas of the topper on occasion the impressions will also tend to even out to some degree over time.


Would a 100% wool blanket act as a proper mattress pad? I understand that the feel of the mattress may be altered,but the more I read about pads, and temperature complaints,it seems like wool is the way to go…

Hi Lumpy,

A wool blanket is a woven material and mattress pads use either felted wool or wool batting (or in some cases wool fleece that is tied to a backing material) so they are very different products that have different “properties”. Having said that a wool blanket may help with temperature regulation to some degree but the only way to know “how much” or whether it would be “enough” for you would be to try it and see how it affects you (and it would certainly be worth trying as a test). Each person can be very different from others in terms of temperature regulation and the effectiveness of different types of solutions for temperature issues that work for them specifically but may not work as well for others because of all the other variables that can be involved (which is why you see so many reviews that describe very different experiences with the same product)