7 Best Bedbug Mattress, Box-Spring, and Pillow Covers

7 Best Bedbug Mattress, Box-Spring, and Pillow Covers

Photo-Illustration: Strategist; Photos: Retailers

Let’s get something out of the way — if you have a bedbug infestation, a mattress cover is not going to get rid of it. Anti-bedbug mattress encasements are a protective measure. Ideally, you’ll place an encasement around your mattress before an infestation happens — which prevents the creepy-crawlies from ever touching your mattress in the case of an infestation. This also makes it less likely that you’ll have to throw your mattress away after the fact. If an infestation occurs, however, you’ll be able to spot any visual evidence of bedbugs on the clean, white surface that the encasement provides. Then, it’s best to call in the exterminators for reinforcement.

It’s worth mentioning that while some items might be listed as anti-bedbug covers, in order to safeguard yourself as much as possible against bedbugs, you’ll want to look for an encasement (or “encasement-style cover”) rather than a cover. This key term “encasement” generally ensures that your mattress (and mattress topper if you have one) will be completely sealed off from bedbugs in the case of infestation.

Finding the best bedbug mattress encasement comes down first to a snug mattress fit and then personal preference, so I spoke with expert exterminators and professional sleep consultants who recommended their favorites. You’ll also want to add pillowcase encasements in order to cut off as many spots where bedbugs could burrow (and consider a box-spring cover if you have one). But if you have an infestation, just remember, “the battle of bedbugs is more psychological than anything else,” says Richard Kane, the founder of Bed Bug Pest Prep NYC. “Getting rid of them isn’t that hard” when you stay calm and follow expert advice. Read on for bedbug mattress encasements made for all types of sleepers, and for more bedbug-related tips, check out our guide to getting rid of the critters.

Update, July 3, 2024: Replaced Linenspa Zippered Mattress Encasement with updated Linenspa Zippered Waterproof Mattress Encasement model; replaced best bedbug mattress cover for allergies with AllerEase Ultimate Cotton Zippered Mattress Protector; replaced best bedbug pillow encasement with the SafeRest Pillow Protector; updated prices and checked stock for all other products.

You’ll want to buy an encasement that matches the length, width, and depth of your mattress. Timothy Wong, the technical director of New York City–based, ecofriendly pest-management company M&M Pest Control, says that taking the time to really measure your mattress is worth it “because when you have all that extra material, it’s just more places for bedbugs to hide.” I looked for mattress encasements that snugly protect all six sides of the mattress, with as little baggy fabric as possible, to prevent crevices and decrease friction and noise when you sleep. I also looked for mattress-protector brands that offer a wide range of lengths, widths, and heights, so you can find something that best matches your mattress.

The best bedbug mattress encasements are generally made from cotton, polyester, or vinyl, all of which will keep bedbugs out of your mattress. But the experts I spoke to suggested sticking with polyester or cotton, noting that the latter is generally the softest and most breathable material. “If it’s not breathable, then it can be easily ripped because air can get trapped in it,” Wong says. But while cotton is more breathable and less noisy, polyester is more durable and can feel just as nice. In general, I looked for mattress protectors that are durable, breathable, machine-washable, as well as waterproof, so that they serve the secondary function of protecting your mattress against sweat, bed-wetting, and spills.

You’ll notice that all of these encasements are white, which will help you detect bedbugs if you experience an infestation. Most of the exterminators I chatted with said to keep an eye out for black penlike stipple, which could be a sign of bedbugs’ fecal matter. “A lot of times, people will see a blood spot in their sheets or on their mattress, and then they get concerned that it may have something to do with bedbugs,” says Jesse Scaravella, owner of Evergreen Eco Pest Control. “But unless there’s the body parts of the bug crushed in with that stain, you would never get that kind of a marking to do with a bedbug.”

All the exterminators I spoke to stressed the importance of the encasement’s zipper, which should prevent bedbugs from crawling through the zipper’s teeth, as well as have reinforcement around the small gap where the zipper opens and closes. Consider, say, the zipper on your pants, says Nicole Levine, chief executive officer at Bed Bug 911 and Hygea Natural: “There is always that fraction of an inch that’s open and that’s how [the bedbugs] would enter the mattress, so having a bedbug-proof mattress encasement seals it.” I also looked for durable seams that will prevent critters from burrowing inside covers at their weakest points.

SafeRest Premium Zippered Bedbugproof Mattress Encasement

Mattress fit: 6- to 18-inch mattress depths | Fabric: Waterproof cotton | Zipper and seams: Zipper guard

SafeRest’s cotton mattress encasement is my top choice because it fits all my criteria (and it’s not too expensive). It’s breathable, machine-washable, waterproof, and features a well-designed zipper guard that blocks bedbugs, dust mites, and allergens. Plus, it’s available in an impressive array of sizes (from crib to California King and all the way up to 18 inches deep), which is integral to finding the encasement that best fits your mattress. Though Wong notes that buying a bedbug mattress encasement is mostly a matter of personal preference and budget, he says, “SafeRest has the best reviews from our clients and technicians who often help install them for clients.”

When I tested this cover, I found that it was fairly easy to put on my mattress all by myself, taking less than ten minutes. I inspected the cover before putting it on and found the construction to be solid — the fabric is closely woven and there were no holes where the bedbugs could get in. When I slept on the cover, I also couldn’t hear it beneath my sheets when I tossed and turned, a benefit of the cotton fabric. As Scaravella says, when it comes to these covers, you want to “set and forget,” and the SafeRest makes that possible.

Linenspa Zippered Mattress Encasement - Queen

Mattress fit: Up to 12-inch mattress depth | Fabric: Waterproof polyester | Zipper and seams: Normal zipper

For a less expensive alternative, consider Linenspa’s mattress cover, which is made from breathable, waterproof, and machine-washable polyester that fits mattresses up to 12 inches high. While polyester isn’t as soft as cotton, Kane does suggest going for polyester, because he says the material is stretchy and less likely to tear. NYC Bed Bug Inspections owner John H. Brickman first recommended the Linenspa to us and says, “I always recommend Linenspa; it’s cheap, and it’s great quality.” This encasement doesn’t include any extra innovations like a reinforced zipper, but the workmanship is solid. Like my favorite option above, Linenspa’s encasements also protect mattresses from bedbugs, dust mites, and allergens.

AllerEase Ultimate Cotton Zippered Mattress Protector

Mattress fit: Up to 14-inch mattress depth | Fabric: Waterproof cotton | Zipper and seams: Zipper guard

Speaking of allergens: Here’s a machine-washable and waterproof mattress encasement that will protect you and your mattress from bedbugs while also fighting mold, mildew, pollen, and dust mites. It’s adult sleep consultant Kelly Murray’s No. 1 recommendation for bedbug protection and getting a comfortable night’s rest because it’s woven from cotton and won’t make any disruptive swishy noises. She adds, “It allows for breathability, and because of the weave and hypoallergenic finish, it protects against allergens and bedbugs,” And as for its bedbug protection, that’s pretty good too: It includes a Velcro zipper guard similar to the SafeRest encasement above that’ll act as an extra barrier to any pesky critters.

SureGuard Mattress Encasement

Mattress fit: Up to 20-inch mattress depth | Fabric: Waterproof cotton terry | Zipper and seams: Sealed zipper, 10-year guarantee

If you’re a hot sleeper, I’d recommend this encasement, which is extra breathable and features a 100 percent cotton-terry top that’ll help wick moisture away from sweaty bodies. (If you’re looking for other solutions for hot sleepers, check out my guide to the best cooling sleep gear.) Sleep coach Seth Davis, the founder of Sleepably, works with a lot of hot sleepers and finds that the SureGuard offers optimal temperature control and holds up well with time. When Davis evaluates mattress products, he goes by a strict set of criteria, weighing up “whether they introduce potential sleep disruptors such as noise, elevated body temperature, uncomfortable texture, or poor fit on the bed.” Being “both comfortable and nondisruptive,” he says, this protector is “a winner in my book.” In terms of bedbug protection, the encasement also features a Velcro zipper guard that’ll offer a final barrier of protection against pests.

Guardmax Crib Mattress Protector

Mattress fit: Crib and porta-crib sizing | Fabric: Waterproof polyester | Zipper and seams: Tight, waterproof zipper

While all the mattress encasements I recommended are waterproof, this characteristic is more important when protecting crib-size mattresses. With this in mind, this encasement is waterproof on all sides and can be machine-washed as long as you follow the washing instructions (warm water and tumble-dry low). Like many of the options above, this encasement includes a Velcro zipper guard, so you can reuse your crib-size mattress for generations to come. It’ll fit crib mattresses up to seven inches deep and porta-crib mattresses up to four inches deep.

Linenspa Waterproof Bedbug Proof Box Spring Encasement Protector

Mattress fit: 6- to 12-inch box-spring depth | Fabric: Waterproof polyester | Zipper and seams: 10-year guarantee

If you have a box spring, you’ll want to protect that too because bedbugs love the unfinished wood that’s typically found in box springs. (In fact, Wong says that in different languages, the critters are actually called wood bugs). “There’s always going to be nooks and crannies that these bugs can find to still get what they want,” says Scaravella, so if the bedbugs aren’t in your mattress or box spring, he says they could hide in your nightstand or bed frame. But, he adds, the box-spring encasement “just cuts off some of the more easy hiding places. The more you can cut off, the better.” Unlike the mattress encasements, the material of your box-spring encasement isn’t as important because you won’t be sleeping directly on it. That’s why I chose the more affordable polyester Linenspa box-spring encasement over other options — it’s a great price and will zip closed. It’s also Brickman’s pick because it protects against dust mites, allergens, and liquids, as well as bedbugs.

SafeRest Pillow Protector

Fit: 21 x 27 inches | Fabric: Waterproof cotton terry | Zipper and seams: Micro-zipper

While a bedbug pillow encasement isn’t as important as the mattress and box-spring encasements, you should consider buying one if you have a pricier pillow or just want to be extra vigilant. It’s important to remember that encasements are a precautionary measure that help with early detection and protect your sleep gear in the event of an infestation. This means that if you don’t mind throwing out your pillow if you get bedbugs, you probably don’t need to encase it because pillows typically offer the blank, white surface you need for early bedbug detection. But if this isn’t you, I’d recommend this 100 percent cotton pillow protector from the maker of my favorite bedbug mattress encasement. It’s breathable and waterproof, and like you’d cover a mattress encasement with sheets, you’ll want to cover a pillow encasement with a pillowcase.

• John H. Brickman, owner, NYC Bed Bug Inspections
• Seth Davis, sleep coach and founder, Sleepably
• Richard Kane, founder, Bed Bug Pest Prep NYC
• Nicole Levine, chief executive officer at Bed Bug 911 and Hygea Natural
• Kelly Murray, sleep coach and founder, Kelly Murray Adult Sleep Coaching
• Jesse Scaravella, owner Evergreen Eco Pest Control
• Timothy Wong, technical director, M&M Pest Control

Additional reporting by Dominique Pariso and Katherine Gillespie

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