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Pillow Protector Buying Guide

Pillow Cover & Protection Buying Guide

Pillow covers and protectors

Pillow covers and protectors are staples of a healthy sleep environment. They provide not only protection for the pillow but stop dust mites and can even halt bed bugs. Our material below provides insight into the basics and more when evaluating which pillow cover is right for you. From waterproof covers to allergen barriers and cooling, there are several choices on the market.

An essential to a clean, comfortable and healthy sleep environment, pillow covers and a pillow protector not only increase the lifespan of bedroom pillows but improve comfort and cleanliness. Our guide below walks through the essentials of pillow protection. If you're looking to improve the quality and health of the sleep you get on a nightly basis, read on.

types of pillow covers
fabrics and waterproof options
buying tips

What are pillow covers and pillow protectors?

Pillow covers extend the life of a pillow by protecting against wear and tear, but more importantly, pillow protectors provide a healthier sleep environment by blocking fluids, moisture, dust mites, bed bugs and stains from penetrating your pillow. Pillow protectors are pillow covers or pillowcases with fabric technology that offers advanced features for your health and comfort. Pillow covers are easy to remove and wash. Pillow case covers are available in various sizes, fabrics, materials, colors and with varying protection benefits.

Types of Pillow Protection

Pillow covers are effective in offering the following kinds of pillow protection:

Wear and Tear

pillow wear and tear

Standard pillow cases add a layer of fabric that prevents some light wear and tear associated with sleeping on a pillow. Over time, pillows can fade, get dirty and accrue tears or holes. Using standard pillow case covers can prevent some types of damage.

Spills, Stains & Incontinence

pillow spills stains
Waterproof pillow case covers are essential for guarding against spills, sweat, drool, accidents and stains. Waterproof pillow cover protection prevents moisture and liquids from soaking into the pillow, damaging the fill or giving off an unpleasant odor, especially in the case of down and feather-filled pillows. A waterproof pillow cover will also prevent your pillows from staining caused by fluids, spills, and makeup.

Allergen-Free Pillow

allergen-free pillow
Pillow covers constructed from special fabrics can offer protection against various types of allergens. Allergen-free pillow protectors keep out dust mites, one of the most common household allergens. A waterproof pillow cover can prevent the growth of mold or mildew, common allergy triggers, inside the pillow. Additionally, pillow covers that are chemical and pesticide free will reduce skin irritations for those who have sensitivities.

Bed Bug-Proof Pillow

bed bug proof pillows
Bed bugs are tiny, little pests that can wreak havoc on one’s sleeping environment. Since bed bugs feed off of human and animal blood, pillows and mattresses are desired locations for bed bugs to live, and highly susceptible to infestations. Prevent bed bugs by using a pillow cover that fully encompasses and seals the entire pillow, constructed from a bed bug-proof fabric and zipper. This prevents bed bugs from entering and accumulating within the pillow, keeping your bedroom infestation free. For the best protection, make sure to look for pillow covers that are entomology lab certified.

Down & Feather-Proof Pillow Covers

down and feather-proof pillow covers
Down and feather-proof pillow covers are designed to prevent the loss of the pillow’s fill – keeping your pillow intact and your bed clean from debris. Feathers can poke through and escape standard pillow covers, which can make for an uncomfortable sleep surface. It’s also important to note that using a feather pillow with a pillow cover that isn’t feather proof could harm the pillow cover fabric (especially in the case of waterproof fabric).

Pillow Cover Fabrics

Pillow covers are available in a wide assortment of fabrics. The following is a list of the most popular fabrics and their benefits:

Cotton Pillow Covers

cotton pillow covers
Cotton pillow covers use natural material that’s breathable and soft, for a comfortable night’s sleep. Cotton fabric is available without chemical and pesticide treatments, which is ideal for those with skin sensitivities. The largest drawbacks to cotton pillow covers are that they do not wick moisture, they provide refuge to allergens like dust mites, and the cotton fibers are not as smooth as other natural fibers, like Tencel®.

Polyester Pillow Covers

polyester pillow covers
Polyester is a durable textile that’s easy to wash, maintain and can be less expensive than other pillow protectors. Polyester is available in a variety of textures and styles and can be stretchy and flexible for comfort and conformity. Although polyester is not as cool as fabrics like Tencel®, it’s often blended with other materials to maximize protection and comfort. Polyester does not wick moisture, although it can be fast-drying, and is not considered hypoallergenic.

Tencel® Lyocell Pillow Covers

tencel pillow covers
Tencel lyocell is a bedding fabric known for its botanic origins and feature-rich properties. Tencel is an eco-friendly fabric that is sourced from sustainable resources. Tencel lyocell pillow covers are highly breathable, naturally hypoallergenic, moisture-wicking and inhibit the growth of odor-causing bacteria. Additionally, Tencel pillow protectors are ideal for those with sensitive skin because Tencel is very soft and smooth, not abrasive or itchy like wool or cotton fibers.

Bamboo Pillow Covers

bamboo pillow covers
Bamboo pillows are popular due to the natural benefits of soothing, comforting bamboo fabric. Much like Tencel, the fabric on bamboo pillows is moisture-wicking and inhibits the growth of odor-causing bacteria. Bamboo pillows allow sensitive sleepers to rest soundly since bamboo is a naturally hypoallergenic pillow cover.

Cooling Pillow Covers

cooling pillow covers
Cooling pillow covers utilize specialty engineered fabrics that create an amplified cooling sensation while you sleep, perfect for hot sleepers or those who prefer a crisp, cold sleep climate. Turn any pillow into a cold surface pillow with a cooling pillow case or cooling pillow protector. Cooling pillow covers typically work by dissipating heat faster than other fabrics, keeping the pillow feeling cool all night for a comfortable night’s rest.

Waterproof Pillow Cover Materials

Waterproof pillow case covers are primarily made out of two different materials:

Vinyl or Plastic Waterproof Pillow Covers

vinyl plastic waterproof pillow covers

Vinyl has excellent waterproof benefits that safeguard pillows from liquids, spills, and moisture. Vinyl’s thickness provides an effective barrier against bed bugs and dust mites. However, vinyl has several drawbacks. It retains heat, which makes for a warmer pillow throughout the night. It is not a breathable material, trapping in moisture and sweat, contributing to a wet or sticky sleep surface. Additionally, vinyl pillow covers can be noisy and crinkly when moving or adjusting the pillow, though it is easy to clean, and very durable.

Polyurethane Waterproof Pillow Covers

polyurethane waterproof pillow covers

Unlike vinyl, polyurethane is a thin, flexible film that is used to waterproof fabrics while remaining totally undetectable and silent during sleep. It is a superior waterproof barrier, and is also highly breathable, with microscopic pores that allow air to pass through the pillow case cover. This keeps the sleeper cool throughout the night, while effectively stopping the transmission of liquids, dust, bed bugs and dust mites. Polyurethane is a durable material that’s quieter and cooler to sleep on when compared to vinyl.

How to Buy a Pillow Cover

Pillow covers are offered a wide range of options. When purchasing a pillow protector, consider the following features:


pillow cover size
The size of the pillow will determine what size pillow protector is needed. Measure the pillow first, then purchase a protector that will best cover the pillow without excess material.


pillow cover features
Determine the benefits most important to you when selecting pillow protection. Consider features like waterproofing, cooling fabrics, guarding against bed bugs, and wear and tear prevention. Hypoallergenic pillow cases are ideal for sensitive sleepers who may be allergic to certain fabrics, dust mites or chemicals and pesticides - look for protectors that feature Tencel or bamboo.


pillow cover comfort
Pillow covers with thick or layered fabrics can add soft comfort to your pillow’s surface. Consider fabrics like jacquard knits and plush velour, which offer a thick pillow layer, and also keep you warmer. If you prefer a cold sleep climate, consider a cooling pillow cover.


pillow cover breathability
In order to enjoy cool pillow cases all night long, choose pillow protectors that allow a pillow to breathe. This guarantees efficient airflow, prevents heat from being trapped, and provides a cooler night sleep. Pillow protectors with polyurethane backing allow more airflow and cooling than their vinyl counterparts.

Easy to Wash

pillow cover easy to wash
Select a pillow cover that is easy to remove and wash. Regular washing of pillow case covers will ensure that they remain clean, hygienic, odorless and sanitized. Be sure to check the care instructions prior to buying a pillow protector.The right pillow cover will help enhance the comfort and cleanliness of your bed. No matter which you choose, make sure it has properties that best suit your sleep type, temperature, and comfort.

Pillow Covers

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