Protecting a Mattress

Category Bedrooms
When kept safe from moisture a bed will remain stain and odor free. This page is about protecting a mattress.


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November 17, 2009

My elderly father occasionally has an "accident" during the night. I have placed a quilted waterproof pad, approximately one yard square, on top of the bottom sheet. If the bed is accidentally soiled during the night, all he does is toss the pad and either returns into a clean bed or places another dry pad in the bed.

This is an efficient tip that saves time washing and changing the sheets. My father feels more independent knowing that he doesn't have to disturb anyone during the night. The pad we use is the one the nurses used when he was hospitalized. Patients sleep on it to make it easier for nurses to slide them into their beds.

Source: Our own experience.

By Dee from New Orleans

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October 16, 2009

I have an idea for a waterproof cover to protect the bed from bed-wetting for both youngsters and adults. Hardware stores have rolls of plastic sheeting available in various sizes and thicknesses. The most common are 10 feet by 100, 12 feet x 100, 16 x 100,and 20 x 100. In addition some rolls come in 25 feet lengths and 50 foot lengths. It's available in both black and clear. Clear seems to be the most commonly used type of plastic although black plastic is used fairly frequently as a weed barrier.


The thickness I have in mind is 6 mil. Many people use 6 mil plastic for such jobs as covering concrete during the curing process, for remodeling work, as a drop cloth for painting, to cover outside materials to protect them from rain and other bad weather, as a vapor barrier for insulation and under concrete, for construction, landscaping tasks such as covering plants to protect them from frost and as a weed barrier, and other jobs.

In addition some people might have a roll of 6 mil clear plastic (known as polyethylene film) on hand from September 2001 after Homeland Security suggested people buy a roll to protect against the possibility of future terrorist attacks.

This type of plastic is available in hardware stores such as Lowes, Ace,and Home Depot, contractor supply stores, farm supply stores, and similar places. In addition Walmart has rolls of clear plastic sheeting for a pretty good price. When I was in there recently I saw a roll of 10 feet x 20 feet roll of clear 6 mil plastic sheeting for $19.97. Paint stores such as Duron and Sherwin-Williams might also have plastic sheeting in this thickness. There are online hardware stores that carry plastic sheeting but due to the fact that rolls of plastic sheeting weigh a lot the freight might be pretty expensive.


Some hardware stores are able to special order certain items so if they don't have the size you're looking for you can look into this option. Due to the toughness of this type of plastic it seems like it might be good to use to cover the mattress as a protective sheet for bed-wetting. Some vinyl sheets tear after a while and this seems like it might be a cost effective solution for this problem.

There is a book on asthma which also discussed using plastic from hardware stores as a protective cover to protect against allergens. In addition it also mentioned the possibility of using it as a bed-wetting sheet.

I first found out about this years ago. A friend of mine had a child who wet the bed and she used this type of plastic to protect her daughter's bed. The plastic also comes in 3 mil, 4 mil and other thicknesses but I'd be inclined to use the 6 mil because it's stronger and should last for a long time. That being said if the child finds that the 6 mil plastic is too loud the parents can consider switching to 4 mil plastic to cover the bed.


Walmart has 4 mil clear plastic in stock and I think they also carry 3 mil. The 3 mil is pretty flimsy so it most likely will tear easier but if you already have it on hand for other tasks around the house you can always cut off a piece and see if it works out.

The other advantage to using this type of material is that as mentioned before it is very versatile so even if you decide not to use the plastic for bed-wetting you can always use it for something else. You can also cut the plastic to whatever length you want to cover the bed and you can cut multiple sheets to use for the bed-wetting so if the child wakes up in the middle of the night and needs to change the sheets you can have several sheets available for the youngster. Finally if you haven't already purchased a waterproof sheet to cover your youngster's bed and you have this type of plastic available it makes sense to cut off a piece to put under their bed instead of spending extra money (although waterproof vinyl sheets don't cost a lot every little bit counts especially in today's day and age).


The only drawback to using this type of material to protect the bed from bed-wetting is that it makes a crinkling noise whenever the person moves around in bed which might bother some people. This can be minimized however by placing an extra mattress pad and several layers of cloth sheets over the plastic to muffle the rustling sound. It's not unusual for some types of protection to make a rustling noise whether plastic sheets, plastic pants,or diapers but if the incontinence only occurs at night this shouldn't be a concern. Most bed-wetters are very deep sleepers anyway so it's possible that it might not disturb them or if it does they might be able to adjust to it over time.

There is one last thing I'd like to talk about regarding using this type of sheet for bed-wetting. This should be used on a trial basis. If the youngster or adult with the bed-wetting problem feels that the sound is too loud and they can't get used to sleeping on the bed with this type of plastic on it,then other options should be explored. I would not force the person to use this material on the bed. Everyone is different in terms of how they are able to cope with managing their bed-wetting. This factor needs to be taken into consideration. Also if the youngster has visitors over such as friends or relatives the plastic should be taken off the bed before they come over. It would be real embarrassing for the person to have the visitor sit on the bed and notice the crinkling sound that the plastic makes.


I wrote an article talking about this in greater depth as well as articles discussing the different types and brands of diapers to manage bed-wetting under the pen name Colin Ellison. I thought readers of Thrifty Fun would be interested in this information as well. Finally in the future I am planning on sending in a tip talking about the clear vinyl sheeting you can buy from places such as Jo Ann Fabrics and Crafts, Hancock Fabrics, and similar stores. Certain types of this vinyl might also be useful as a protective cover for bed-wetting. Perhaps I can label this tip Inexpensive Waterproof Bed-Wetting Sheets, part 2. In the meantime I hope this suggestion works.

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