Both for comfort and to preserve the integrity of your mattress, a waterproof mattress cover is a smart idea. It becomes essential with a hospital bed that’s been rented as well as with any bed used by someone with incontinence or is on extended bed rest. Most recently, some styles—zippered mattress covers—were found to have another, surprising benefit. They lock out bed bugs—the annoying invaders can’t survive within these vinyl covers.
There are a few choices when it comes to protecting your valuable mattress. Some protectors go over the four corners of the mattress, much like a sheet. Others are in square or rectangle shapes that lie on top of the mattress, under or on top of a fitted sheet. And, for the most complete protection, the mattress can be put into a zippered mattress cover—it’s like an envelope that completely covers the mattress and zips closed. The vinyl can come in different thicknesses. Look for premium 6-gauge vinyl. Some of these waterproof mattress protectors are also treated with an antibacterial agent.