Covering your bed up with one of the best bed bug mattress covers is such a simple thing. And yet, it remains one of the most affordable – and easy – ways to keep bed bugs off your bed.
But, of course, you’re going to have to choose the right one. One that keeps bed bugs out and is still comfortable to sleep on.
In this guide, you’ll learn:
- Do bed bug proof mattress covers work?
- How do bed bug covers work?
- What should you look for when choosing the best bed bug mattress covers?
- Our top 3 picks for bed bugs covers
- How to completely protect your bed from bed bugs
Let’s get started.
Why Do You Need a Bed Bug Proof Cover?
It’s not always clear why things are named the way they are. Whose idea was it to call something that looks like a gopher a prairie dog?
And I’ve never seen a sea lion takedown gazelle on the savanna.
With bed bugs, though, it’s a lot more clear. These bugs get their name from their habit of living in people’s beds.
Well, not in the bed, exactly. More like along the seams of the mattress or in cracks and crevices in the bed frame. You know, if you want to be accurate about it.
People’s beds aren’t the only place bed bugs can be found, of course. Bed bugs aren’t too picky about where they live, just so long as they’re close to people so they can feed.
Their preference is to be wherever humans spend a lot of time without moving. So beds are a popular choice. But so are sofas, armchairs, baseboards and anywhere else they can hide.
Still, since most of us spend a solid eight hours or more in bed each day, the bed remains the number one place to find bed bugs. If you can eliminate bed bugs from attacking you in your bed, you’ll be well on your way to winning the fight.
Do Bed Bug Mattress Covers Work?
The answer is yes, as long as you understand what exactly bed bug mattress covers can do – and what they can’t.
Here’s what they do.
DO: Keep Bed Bugs In
If you can’t feel safe and comfortable in your bed, where can you?
It’s precisely because bed bugs attack us when we are most vulnerable that they inspire so much horror and disgust.
The good news is that the simple application of a bed bug proof mattress cover seals up all the bed bugs inside the cover so they can’t get out and bite you every night.
Even any new juvenile bed bugs that will soon hatch from any bed bug eggs hiding in your mattress will be sealed shut inside. The result? All bed bugs eventually starve to death.
Note: There are ways to speed up the bed bug killing process rather than waiting for them to starve to death. More on this later.
And it goes further than that. With bed bugs, it’s not just the fact that they bite that causes so much trouble. Because bed bugs feed on a strict diet of human blood, their droppings are nothing but digested blood.
As you might’ve guessed, bed bugs are even less picky about where they go to the bathroom than they are about where they live.
In fact, the two are generally the same place. So if you have bed bugs on your mattress, pretty soon you’re going to have a lot of highly visible and highly disgusting blood spots.
Anyone who’s bought a mattress recently knows how much a good one can cost. If only there were some way to protect your bed from the bed bug scourge.
Well, as a matter of fact, there is. Thanks to the wonders of online shopping, you can buy bed bug proof covers that will protect your mattress from a bed bug invasion.
DO: Keep Bed Bugs Out
A good bed bug proof mattress cover also keeps new bed bugs from moving into your mattress and raising their families there.
The most popular places for bed bugs to hide in a mattress is in and along the piping, any seams and folds, and even inside the mattress itself. The mattress cover will cover these various nooks and crannies, making it harder for any bed bug infestation to take hold in your newly-covered mattress.
It also prevents bed bugs from getting inside your actual mattress, which makes it very hard to treat for bed bugs. So if and when you do find bed bugs that have sneaked onto the mattress cover, you can simply vacuum them up.
Again, there are a couple more steps you can take to make sure your bed becomes a much more difficult target for bed bugs to get on. We’ll cover this at the end.
DON’T: Solve the Bed Bug Infestation
Bed bug mattress covers are a brilliant solution to quickly protect your sacred bed from bed bugs – and drastically reduce the number of bites you’re getting.
But they won’t solve a bed bug problem by themselves.
The covers are just one part in what should be a multi-pronged action plan to get rid of bed bugs. Nothing less will work to completely eradicate the bed bug menace.
How Do Bed Bug Mattress Covers Work?
A bed bug mattress cover serves a couple of functions. If you already have a cover installed before you get bed bugs, the cover will function to keep the bugs out of your mattress.
It won’t prevent them from colonizing your bed frame, baseboards, living room furniture, bookshelves, clothing, soft toys, or just about anything else.
But it does give them one less place to hide.
And it protects that expensive mattress from the disgusting droppings. So even if you don’t have bed bugs right now, it may not be a bad idea to invest in some mattress covers in case you ever get them.
If you do have bed bugs already, the odds are good that they are already in your mattress. But a bed bug mattress cover can help you there, too.
Like any animal, bed bugs need to feed. But their tiny needlelike mouthparts can’t pierce a mattress cover. If the bed bugs can’t get to you, they can’t bite you. And if they can’t bite you, they can’t feed.
Eventually, any bed bugs trapped inside a mattress cover will starve to death. Insert maniacal laughter.
To be clear, a bed bug mattress cover by itself isn’t going to stop you from getting bed bugs, or get rid of the bed bug infestation once it’s begun. But it is one more useful tool to have in your arsenal if you’re battling the bed bug infestation.
As any good 80s action movie hero knows, you can never have enough weaponry.
What to Look For When Choosing the Best Bed Bug Mattress Covers
We live in a consumer society, and unfortunately, there’s a lot of garbage out there.
That great deal on a bed bug mattress cover won’t seem so great when the item fails to protect you or your bed. So how do you sort the good from the bad?
You read this article, that’s what you do. Easy. Here are the four factors your should look for to pick bed bug covers that actually keep bed bugs out (or in).
Disappointingly, this section is not about a heavily guarded marine mammal. The whole point of a bed bug mattress cover is to be a barrier to bed bugs.
These bugs are very good at squeezing through tight spaces. Juvenile bed bugs, in particular, are absolutely tiny – less than 0.1 inches, or 2.5 mm.
So a good quality bed bug mattress cover will have some kind of system to seal it so that no bed bugs can get in or out.
Here’s where things get scary. If you have bed bugs on your mattress already, a sealed mattress cover can keep them inside until they die of starvation.
But this is by no means a quick process. Bed bugs can live for a year or more without eating. In fact, the current record without feeding is 18 months.
So if you’re trying to starve out the bed bugs like a medieval warlord laying siege to a castle, you’re going to need to be patient. And you need a mattress cover that isn’t going to rip or tear.
One small hole and the bed bugs will be free to come and go as they please. So look for a mattress cover that can stand up to some rough treatment over the long haul.
Maybe you have kids. Or perhaps you have childhood memories of the plastic covers people use to protect children’s mattresses from nighttime accidents.
There’s nothing worse than a mattress cover that crackles like a dry campfire every time you move. Look for a mattress cover made from soft fabric so that you can have a quiet night sleep – which you’ll be having plenty of once this bed bug infestation is solved.
On the subject of nighttime accidents, some bed bug mattress covers are also waterproof. This way, it protects mattresses from sweat and spills as well as bed bugs.
A year from now when you triumphantly remove the cover, you could find a pristine mattress underneath. Take that, bedbugs!
What are the Best Bed Bug Mattress Covers?
Do a simple search for bed bug mattress covers and you’ll find hundreds of results. The thing is, though, the majority of them provide feeble protection against bed bugs.
Which is why we’ve shortened the list to the top three, absolute best bed bug mattress covers currently on the market. They’ve been tested. There’s hundreds – even thousands – of reviews to back them up. And yes, they’ll keep bed bugs sealed in and out of your mattress for good.
Here are the winners.
Hospitology Sleep Protection System
You thought this was a mattress and box spring cover? Oh, sweet summer child, you’re so wrong. What you’re looking at here is a Sleep Protection System. Doesn’t that sound much more impressive?
Leaving aside the questionable name for a second, this product is actually a great choice if you’re looking for a bed bug mattress cover.
What’s so great about these bed bug covers?
It features a zipper lock so that once you have zipped the cover closed, you can lock the zipper in place to make sure it doesn’t creep open again.
Furthermore, this mattress cover is fully waterproof, adding an additional level of protection for your mattress. And unlike some cheaper mattress covers, the Hospitology cover isn’t made of crackly plastic that will wake up the whole house every time you move.
The high thread count polyester knit fabric of the cover is comfortable to sleep on and won’t make a sound.
The Hospitology mattress cover will fit mattresses up to 18 inches deep. If your mattress is thicker than that, you may need to look elsewhere for a cover. But for most people, this cover should fit well. The fabric also has some stretch to it, which enables a tight fit on larger mattresses.
This mattress cover comes in a range of sizes, from twin all the way up to California King. Best of all, it carries a five-year limited warranty. As long as you’re relatively careful, this mattress cover should last long enough to starve any bed bugs trapped inside.
Since the Hospitology has so many features to recommend it, you might be tempted to think that your search for the best bed bug mattress cover ends here. But unfortunately, nothing’s perfect.
What’s not so great?
While this mattress cover is definitely a good choice for most people, you may find that it fits a little loose. This can be more of a problem than you think. Loose mattress covers tend to wrinkle and bunch, and over time, the wrinkles can catch on the bed frame and develop holes.
Just like a submarine, a mattress cover with a hole in it is no mattress cover at all. So choose your size carefully, and try to get the tightest fit on your mattress that you can.
SafeRest Premium Encasement
Who doesn’t like a premium product when they have the choice? Especially when the price is right. This SafeRest mattress cover – or encasement, as the manufacturer would prefer you call it – has a lot going for it.
What’s so great about these bed bug covers?
Firstly and most importantly when it comes to bed bugs, this encasement has been tested and certified bed bug proof.
Using a locking zipper, this encasement ensures that once it is closed, it stays closed and any bed bugs stay inside. So long as the mattress cover has no holes, no bed bugs will be able to get either in or out.
Some mattress covers have only one waterproof side. But this encasement is waterproof all the way around.
This is handy if you have a mattress that you need to turn regularly, since you won’t have to worry about which side of the mattress cover is facing up. It’s also good to know your mattress is protected from any accidental spills.
Although it’s waterproof, this encasement is no cheap plastic bag. The woven polyester fabric feels like a high-quality bedsheet, and should be soundless when you move. Good news for light sleepers.
The cover is machine washable for when you finally feel confident that you’ve starved out the bed bugs and want to freshen things up.
And best of all, this encasement carries a ten-year warranty. So long as you don’t accidentally make a hole in it, this mattress cover – sorry, encasement – should last more than long enough to ensure your bed bug nightmare is over.
What’s not so great?
Sounds good so far, right? And it is – if you’re lucky. If you get a good version of this encasement, it should fit all your bed bug mattress cover needs.
But it seems that quality control at SafeRest is not what it could be. There have been a few cases of bed bug covers showing up with zippers that don’t close or seams that have holes in them.
While the manufacturer’s warranty will cover these mishaps, it can be a hassle buying something only to send it back and wait for a replacement to arrive. Especially when you’re dealing with bed bug issues that need to be taken care of asap.
So do keep that in mind when you order – the chances are good that you’ll get perfectly working bed bug encasements. But you may not.
If you’re the gambling type, you may be willing to take a chance. But some people prefer to back a sure thing.
SureGuard Mattress Encasement
One thing about this particular product stands out immediately – the thousands of positive reviews. This bed bug encasement is significantly more popular than others on the market. But does its performance justify its popularity? Let’s take a look.
What’s so great about these bed bug covers?
The SureGuard encasement is waterproof, with a breathable membrane that keeps water out but lets air through. This helps keep you cool at night, and is especially important in warmer climates.
The mattress cover is also free of materials such as vinyl and PVC, so there won’t be any crackling sound when you move. Nor will there be that unpleasant chemical smell that often comes from cheaper encasements.
The locking zipper on this encasement is guaranteed to keep bed bugs in or out, depending on what you’re trying to achieve. Like any decent encasement, this claim to be bed bug proof has been independently tested and certified.
Don’t take the manufacturer’s word for it that this cover can keep bed bugs out; choose one that has been tested independently.
The SureGuard encasement carries a 10-year warranty and offers a 30-day trial. You can test the mattress cover for yourself and return it if it isn’t for you. This is an excellent idea since you can see for yourself if this encasement will work.
Finally, the SureGuard feels different to the other mattress covers on this list. Instead of being a polyester fabric, this mattress cover is made with a cotton terry top.
It sounds like a small thing, but it actually adds a lot to the luxurious feel of this mattress cover. It also helps to wick moisture away, which can be an essential thing on those sultry summer nights.
What’s not so great?
The SureGuard’s most outstanding feature, its terrycloth top, is also its most divisive. Many people find it very comfortable and soft. But if you’re not into the feel of terrycloth, this may not be the cover for you.
If you’re buying the cover for its waterproof protection, be aware that the terry cloth will hold onto moisture if someone has an accident in bed – which hopefully won’t be you or your partner.
The membrane underneath will protect the mattress, but you’ll still be left with a damp mattress cover that needs to be washed. If you’re buying the matches cover more for its bed bug trapping abilities, this may not matter to you.
But if you have young children with continence issues, you may be better off with a one of the bed bug proof mattress covers above.
Like anything else, buying a bed bug mattress cover comes down to individual preference.
When shopping, make sure you look for a cover that is certified bed bug proof and has been tested to make sure bed bugs can’t get in or out.
Anything you can do to keep bed bugs from rampaging through your house is a good thing. And a bed bug mattress cover is a great idea to protect yourself from these pests.
Is a Bed Bug Mattress Cover Enough?
A good bed bug mattress cover can do a lot. But there are a couple things you can do to make it even more effective.
Here’s what we mean…
When you seal up your new bed bug proof mattress cover, you’ll be sealing the fate of all the bed bugs currently living in your mattress to a future of starvation and despair.
But when you consider that bed bugs can survive up to 400 days without a blood meal, you may not want to wait that long.
Especially when you can use something to speed up the killing process, like diatomaceous earth (DE).
We recommend DE for killing bed bugs in a mattress because it’s effective and natural. And since you’ll be spending around 8 hours every day in your bed, using pesticides directly on your mattress may be harmful to you.
So how do you do it? Dust your mattress with food-grade diatomaceous earth. Use a paintbrush to apply it to the corners and in and around the seams. Then seal up your mattress in a bed bug mattress cover.
You’ll want to leave your mattress cover on for as long as possible – at least a couple weeks. Vacuum once you unseal.
Move Your Bed
Most of us have our bed(s) pressed up against a wall or two. Which is great for maximizing space in bedrooms, but not so great for protecting our beds from bed bugs.
Remember that bed bugs can’t jump or fly – they must crawl to get to you.
The smartest thing you can do is to make the bed bugs’ journey to you as hard as it can be. That means moving your bed away from the walls so that bed bugs can’t climb up the wall and onto your bed.
Your bed should stand alone, with nothing touching it. At least until the bed bug infestation is cleared.
Bed Bug Traps
If you’ve moved your bed away from the walls or any furniture, only the legs should be touching the floor.
The final step to securing your bed against bed bugs is to place bed bug traps under the bed legs. These handy traps will catch any bed bugs that try to climb onto your bed. To make them even more potent, they can be dusted with diatomaceous earth or another bed bug powder to kill off the bed bugs you catch.
And there you have it – you’ve taken back your sacred sleeping space from invading bed bugs.