A mattress pad is a cover for a mattress. Some mattress pads fit over the entire mattress; others cover only the top of the mattress and use straps at the corners to stay in place. Mattress pads come in different types and serve different functions based on design.
Protection From Dirt
A thin mattress pad can be used to protect the mattress from dirt and soil. This type of mattress pad may be quite thin or may be quilted and padded for additional comfort. Some of these mattress pads are made specifically to repel dust mites and spores. For individuals with allergies (and for people who are vigilant about cleanliness) this type of mattress pad is an essential part of any bedroom.
Comfort and Support
Many people buy mattress pads to provide comfort and additional support, sometimes for a luxurious night's sleep and sometimes for medical reasons. These mattress pads are generally thick and may even look like a mini-mattress rolled on top of the actual mattress.
Protection From Fluids
Some mattress pads are designed to protect the mattress from fluids. These are not actually "pads" at all because they provide no padding or additional comfort. Instead, they are more like plastic sheets that slip over the mattress beneath the fitted sheet.
Compensation for Defects
Some mattress pads minimize the effects of sagging spots, bumps and other defects in a mattress. This can work only so well. A mattress pad cannot completely compensate for an uncomfortable, defective or cheap mattress.
Mattress pads may be made from synthetic materials such as memory foam, plastic or synthetic latex, or from natural materials such as lambswool, feathers or feather down, alpaca wool and natural latex.