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Here's how often experts say you should be washing your mattress pad — it's more frequent than you think

Spoiler: Your comfortable mattress pad is just as dirty as your sheets.

Washing and replacing your sheets and pillowcases is (ideally) part of your standard cleaning routine. But have you ever thought about the less-obvious parts of your sleep sanctuary? Namely, your mattress pad. Even though it's under your sheets and you're pretty positive your body never touches it, experts say that you still need to be washing — and replacing — your mattress pad.

The last thing you want to think about when cozying up in bed is how gross your mattress pad is. (Getty)
The last thing you want to think about when cozying up in bed is how gross your mattress pad is. (Getty)

Why is washing your mattress pad important?

While you might think that your sheets offer a protective barrier between you and your mattress pad, that's not the case. In fact, your mattress pad can get just as dirty as your sheets. "Sweat and anything else that gets on the sheets can seep through," explains Mona Gohara, M.D., board-certified dermatologist and associate clinical professor at Yale School of Medicine.

Think about all of the gunk you've accumulated on your body throughout the day that then transfers to your sheets during the many hours you spend in bed — especially if you prefer to shower in the morning.

Another thing to worry about? Dust mites. Humans are constantly shedding skin cells, and you can safely assume that those skin cells are building up on your sheets and mattress pad. Meanwhile, Dust mites eat skin cells left by humans, according to the Mayo Clinic. "Dust mites can accumulate there so changing the pad is always a good idea," warns Dr. Gohara.

Basically, the longer you put off washing your mattress pad, the higher the chance you have of sleeping in a bed of bacteria and critters.

How often should you wash your mattress pad?

Just like sheets, your mattress pad should be washed frequently. "I recommend washing your mattress pad once a week," shares Dr Gohara.

Next time you strip your bed to wash your sheets, remember to also strip your mattress pad! Pro tip: it might be worth investing in an extra mattress pad and store them with your spare sheets.

How often should you replace your mattress pad?

Even if you're diligent with washing your mattress pad, it still has a set life span. "Washing your mattress pad keeps it clean, but if you wash it too much, it might affect its durability over time," explains Shelby Harris, MD, Director of Sleep Health at Sleepopolis.

While you can extend the life of your mattress pad by carefully following the laundering instructions on the tag, Dr. Harris recommends swapping out your mattress pad every six months to a year to avoid even more accumulation of allergens, dust mites and sweat.

If you're still unsure, just look for these telltale signs! "If your mattress pad has stains, looks worn out, or isn't as comfortable as it used to be, it's probably a good idea to get a new one," says Dr. Harris. "If you're having more allergies or having trouble sleeping, changing the mattress pad could also make a difference.

Best mattress pads under $50

Great, now that we're all on the same page when it comes to washing our mattress pads, let's talk about the actual mattress pads themselves. When shopping for a mattress pad, Dr. Harris advises you to consider your sleeping position, budget and material preferences because not all mattress pads are created equal. "Remember that memory foam tends to trap body heat," says Dr. Harris. "For hot sleepers, I recommend looking for [a pad] with additional cooling properties."

Scroll below and shop some of our favorite mattress pads that you can easily snag on Amazon!

Amazon reviewers say that this budget-friendly mattress pad is high quality, comfortable and super easy to clean. Some have even called it the "best" mattress pad they've ever used. 

It comes in sizes Twin XL, Twin, Full, Queen, King, Short Queen, California King and RV King. 

$27 at Amazon

This fan-favorite is the No. 1 best-selling mattress pad on Amazon. It's sustainably recognized and stretches up to 16 inches deep! One five-star reviewer says that it's "soft like a cloud and doesn't make me sweat."

Shop it in sizes Twin, Twin XL, Full, Full XL, Queen, Short Queen, Super Queen, King, California King and RV King. 

$22 at Amazon

The reviews quoted above reflect the most recent versions at the time of publication.

If you have Amazon Prime, you’ll get free shipping, of course. Not yet a member? No problem. You can sign up for your free 30-day trial here. (And by the way, those without Prime still get free shipping on orders of $25 or more.)