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Pillow protectors are designed to extend the life of your pillow by preventing damage and stains from body fluids, makeup, dead skin, and dust mites. Pillow protectors fit beneath the pillowcase and are removable for cleaning. We examine some of the best protectors made with varying features and materials to accommodate a range of needs.

Your pillow does more than provide a soft place to lay your head. It plays a critical role in enhancing your sleep quality by promoting healthy spinal alignment. After finding the best pillow for your needs, it’s natural to want to protect it from damage. Sweat, oils, makeup, dead skin, and dust mites can stain your pillow and degrade its performance over time. 

A pillow protector extends your pillow’s life by shielding it from wear and tear. It completely encases the pillow for comprehensive coverage. A zipper closure allows you to remove the protector to clean your pillow. Designed to fit beneath the pillowcase, pillow protectors generally do not change the feel of a pillow. 

We’ll take a closer look at the best pillow protectors on the market that fit a range of budgets and needs. We’ll also examine their construction and performance so you can choose the best pillow protectors for your sleep style.

In-Depth Reviews

Made of machine-washable cotton sateen, this two-pack of Brooklinen Pillow Protectors comes with a one-year return policy. Our testing team found these pillow protectors were a good option for people looking for breathable comfort, durability, and easy care.

Price

$28

Material

Cotton

For sleepers looking to extend the lifespan of their pillow, the Brooklinen Pillow Protector offers quality protection with an attractive design. Each protector is made of 500 thread count cotton that’s been treated with an antimicrobial coating, which is designed to minimize bacteria, mold, and mildew. Its tight, sateen weave makes a smooth, durable layer that protects your pillow from sweat, makeup, dead skin cells, and dust mites. 

The protector’s luxurious finish enhances the pillow’s feel inside the pillowcase for optimal comfort. Thanks to cotton’s natural breathability, it shouldn’t trap much heat within the pillow, keeping you cool throughout the night.

A low-profile side zipper closes securely around your pillow while enabling easy removal. Each protector is machine-washable and remains soft even after regular washing. For best results, Brooklinen recommends cleaning the protector every time you change your pillowcase.

The Brooklinen Pillow Protectors come in two packs. They are available in standard and king sizes. Orders are typically processed in one to four days. Brooklinen ships to addresses in the U.S., Canada, and many other countries. The 365-day return policy allows you to try out the protectors and return them if necessary. Domestic returns are free, and refunds are issued to the original form of payment or as store credit. Each protector also comes with an additional one-year warranty.

The Parachute Cotton Pillow Protector features machine-washable cotton that effectively acts as an allergen barrier at a budget-friendly price. Its tight weave and soft feel make it a good option for value shoppers.

Price

$19

Material

100% cotton

People looking for an affordable way to protect their pillows may want to consider the Parachute Cotton Pillow Protector. Made of 100% cotton, this protector features a tight weave to provide a barrier between the sleeper and their pillow. Not only can this help shield against allergens, but it can also prevent quills from poking out of a feather pillow.

Designed with accurate sizing in mind, each protector comfortably holds your pillow without being too tight or too loose. A nylon zipper closure keeps the pillow securely contained. The durable cotton sports a crisp yet soft feel that holds up well to repeated washing. For easy maintenance, simply unzip the protector, slip it off of your pillow, and toss it into the washing machine. Regular laundering can also help reduce allergens on the surface.

The Parachute Cotton Pillow Protector comes in standard and king sizes at a lower-than-average price-point. Each order comes with free standard shipping within the contiguous U.S. After purchasing, you have 60 days to return your pillow protector if you decide it’s not right for you. Return shipping is free within the contiguous U.S., and all refunds are issued to the original form of payment.

Made with organic cotton in a sateen weave, the Avocado Quilted Pillow Protector gives sleepers a supportive, plush feel and the convenience of machine-washable fabric. We think this protector is especially suited to eco-conscious shoppers who want to add a luxurious quilted layer to their pillows.

Price

$54

Material

400 thread count cotton

The Avocado Quilted Pillow Protector offers exceptional comfort with a thick layer of 400 thread count, GOTS-certified organic cotton. It’s made in a GOTS-certified factory in Los Angeles that maintains organic standards for the materials and fair working conditions for the employees. The sateen weave gives the surface a buttery feel that is accentuated with diamond-shaped, quilted stitching. At the same time, the protector allows sufficient airflow to dissipate heat. 

This pillow protector adds an extra layer of support and structure to your pillow, so it may make an overly soft pillow feel a bit firmer. The hidden side zipper ensures a snug fit and a wrinkle-free surface for exceptional comfort. You can wash the protector in a machine using the delicate cycle and cold water. It’s important to note that this protector should not be put in a dryer. Instead, it should hang or lay flat to dry.

The Avocado Quilted Pillow Protector’s premium materials and construction come with a higher price tag that may not be suitable for people on a budget. However, its availability in standard, queen, and king sizes offers customers more options when shopping.

Each order incurs a small flat shipping rate. An additional charge applies to orders to Alaska or Hawaii. Shipping fees are non-refundable. The protector comes with a 100-night sleep trial and a one-year limited warranty.

The machine-washable Peacock Alley Pillow Protector features a soft-to-the-touch sateen weave, detailed construction, and a precise fit to protect your pillow without inhibiting its performance. Our testing team determined it was a great option for sleepers who prioritize softness.

Price

$30

For sleepers who prefer their pillow to have a supremely soft feel, the Peacock Alley Pillow Protector may be a suitable option. Made of cotton, it features a sateen weave for a smooth finish that easily slides over your pillow and beneath a pillowcase. With a thread count of 400, the weave is tight enough to protect the pillow while limiting heat buildup. The protector’s tailored construction encases your pillow without compressing the fill, preserving the original loft and plushness. 

A side zipper is tastefully disguised by decorative piping for a clean, finished look. To clean, sleepers can simply unzip and remove the protector. Peacock Alley recommends machine-washing on the gentle cycle to maintain the fabric’s integrity. 

The Peacock Alley Pillow Protector is available in standard and king sizes. Orders ship to all 50 states and select international destinations. Rates vary. If you’re unhappy with your protector, you can return it within 30 days of receipt. Refunds are processed within 30 days to the original form of payment.

Using cooling technology, the Company Store Cool Zzz Pillow Protector is engineered to provide enhanced temperature regulation. This protector is especially well suited for hot sleepers and those in warm climates.

  • Who it’s best for

    1. Sleepers who tend to sleep hot

    2. Anyone prone to night sweats

    3. People who live in warm climates

  • Highlights

    1. Contains COOLMAX fiber designed to wick away moisture for improved temperature regulation

    2. Machine-washable design minimizes workload

    3. Three size options

Price

$22

Material

COOLMAX fiber

Waking up in the middle of the night and trying to find a cool spot on your pillow isn’t conducive to good sleep. The Company Store attempts to remedy this with its Cool Zzz Pillow Protector engineered for temperature regulation. 

This protector contains 20% COOLMAX fibers. This type of polyester is designed to draw moisture away from the body to keep the sleeper cool and dry. The Cool Zzz Pillow Protector also includes 80% cotton to enhance its durability, breathability, and softness. In addition to being built for cooling, the Cool Zzz Pillow Protector also shields the pillow from sweat, oil, personal care products, and the resulting stains. 

A zipper closure helps hold the pillow in place. To refresh the surface, remove the pillow and wash the protector on the gentle cycle. 

The Cool Zzz Pillow Protector is available in standard, queen, and king sizes. It ships within the contiguous U.S. for a flat-rate charge. Orders over a certain amount ship free. Deliveries to Alaska, Hawaii, or U.S. territories incur an additional shipping charge. The Cool Zzz Pillow Protector comes with a 90-day trial period. If you are unsatisfied with the pillow protector, you can return it within that 90-day window for a full refund minus a small processing fee.

The Coop Home Goods Ultra-Tech Pillow Protector comes in many sizes, all of which feature polyurethane backing designed to prevent liquid from reaching your pillow. We recommend this protector to sleepers prone to sweating or drooling and those who need to protect a non-standard size pillow.

Price

$35

Sleepers who sweat or drool may wake up to the uncomfortable sensation of a damp pillow. Coop Home Goods developed its Ultra-Tech Pillow Protector with a waterproof, polyurethane membrane to block liquids from soaking into your pillow and causing damage. As an added bonus, it can double as a pillowcase. 

The fabric is a blend of polyester and viscose rayon derived from bamboo. This combination makes the protector soft enough to use as a pillowcase. It is also breathable to help mitigate the heat buildup that’s common with waterproof pillow protectors. The Ultra-Tech Pillow Protector is also designed to be completely silent, whereas some waterproof sleep products tend to crinkle with movement. 

Coop Home Goods recommends machine-washing and drying the protector with the waterproof backing facing inward. Be sure to use low heat in the dryer to avoid damaging the membrane. 

In addition to the standard, queen, and king sizes, the Ultra-Tech Pillow Protector also comes in travel/toddler and body pillow sizes. 

All orders of the pillow protector receive free shipping within the contiguous U.S. They also come with a 100-night sleep trial during which you can place a return for a full refund. Refunds are processed within two business days after Coop Home receives the item and are issued to the original form of payment. In addition, your pillow comes with a five-year limited warranty.

Why You Should Trust Us

Each of our team members has years of hands-on experience evaluating products in the sleep industry. They represent a variety of sleep styles and body types so that we get an accurate assessment of how items perform for different types of sleepers. We personally research and test multiple products before picking our favorites based on the data we’ve collected.

What Is a Pillow Protector?

A pillow protector acts as a barrier between your pillow and pillowcase, preventing sweat, oils, and makeup from permanently damaging your pillow. 

Similar to some mattress protectors, pillow protectors completely encase your pillow, reducing the accumulation of dust and allergens. Most pillow protectors feature a side zipper for easy removal and may be made with cotton, silk, polyester, vinyl, or bamboo-derived fabrics. Some include cooling materials designed for hot sleepers, and others feature waterproof materials or an impermeable backing for heavy-duty protection.

We’ll discuss the benefits of pillow protectors, as well as the various types on the market. After explaining their differences, we’ll share tips on how to choose the best pillow protector for you.  

Benefits of a Pillow Protector

If you invest in a high-quality pillow, a pillow protector can extend its durability by minimizing damage from both accidents and daily use. In this way, a pillow protector can offer value to almost any sleeper and may be particularly beneficial for people with allergies and asthma. 

  • Defends against allergens: A pillow protector prevents dust mites, dead skin cells, pet dander, and other allergens from building up in your pillow and triggering breathing problems or other allergic reactions. 
  • Extends pillow lifespan: Liquids, sweat, oils, and dust can damage the integrity of a pillow over time, resulting in less-than-satisfactory performance. Skin cells and moisture can weigh down fluffy fill, stain the outer shell, and potentially lead to unwanted odors. A pillow protector preserves the material’s integrity and can extend the pillow’s life so you don’t have to replace it as often.
  • Protects against stains: Makeup, sweat, and spills can lead to unsightly stains on your pillow as well as internal damage to the fill material. Waterproof protectors are especially effective at preventing your pillow from absorbing moisture that can lead to the growth of mold. A pillow protector with a vinyl or polyurethane backing can provide a solid barrier against liquids. 
  • Adds comfort: For certain types of pillow protectors, the material is designed to enhance comfort with a thicker or softer layer that can give extra cushioning to your head and neck.
  • Keeps out bed bugs: If you get a pillow protector with a zipper closure, you can seal your pillow inside. This can keep bed bugs from making a home in your pillow. Bed bugs are stressful to deal with, costly to eradicate, and can present a health hazard due to their potential to cause allergic reactions. A pillow protector makes a good complement to a mattress encasement that can prevent bed bugs from hiding out in the seams of your mattress. 
  • Prevents feather pokes: If you are using a down pillow, a pillow protector can keep pointy parts of feathers from sticking out and poking you while you’re trying to sleep. 

Pillow Protector vs. Pillowcase

Pillow protectors and pillowcases are both designed to fit over your pillow, but pillowcases don’t offer the same kind of barrier. Pillowcases are open at one end and are made with a single fabric layer that fits loosely around the pillow. In contrast, pillow protectors have a side zipper closure for complete coverage and a somewhat snug fit. Protectors are more robust in their design and prevent your pillow from being stained or damaged. 

When preparing your bedding, you put your pillow inside the pillow protector and then put on the pillowcase as the outermost layer that makes direct contact with your head. 

Types of Pillow Protectors

Pillow protectors are made with different types of materials for varying feels and performance. Although this isn’t an exhaustive list, we take a closer look at some of the most common fabrics.

Cotton

Cotton is popular for its breathability and easy care. High-quality versions such as Egyptian, Supima, or organic cotton offer durability and a soft feel while being machine-washable. Cotton is strong enough to withstand feather quills and can be combined with other materials such as cooling fibers or a waterproof backing.

Silk

Silk is prized for its rich sheen, breathability, and smooth feel. Its slick surface easily slides beneath a pillowcase. Some pillow protectors combine a silk lining with a cotton shell in an effort to blend the benefits of both materials. Silk’s delicate nature requires careful handling and adherence to washing instructions to avoid damage. 

Polyester

A favorite of budget shoppers, polyester is an affordable synthetic material that feels smooth but lacks breathability and longevity. It can have varying finishes and may have a bit of stretchiness to accommodate movement. Polyester is machine-washable and fits easily into a low-maintenance lifestyle. 

Bamboo

Bamboo-derived materials are made from stalks of the bamboo plant that have been chemically processed into fabrics such as lyocell, viscose, and rayon. They have become popular for their temperature regulation and smoothness. Although often more expensive, bamboo-based fabrics create a lightweight and durable pillow protector.

Vinyl

Vinyl pillow protectors are completely waterproof and feature a smooth outer surface that wipes clean. They provide total protection from liquids and body fluids but may feel warmer due to their lack of breathability. Their tendency to crinkle and rustle with movement may not be suitable for sleepers who awaken easily. 

How to Choose a Pillow Protector

There are some important factors to consider when searching for the most suitable pillow protector. Shopping for a pillow protector is different from shopping for pillowcases. The criteria for selecting your ideal pillow protector have to reflect the protector’s specific purpose. We break each element down in detail to help you make an informed decision about which pillow protector is right for you. 

Material

First and foremost, the type of material is a key factor determining the overall feel, performance, and durability of your pillow protector. Care requirements and price points also vary by material. Natural and organic materials may appeal to eco-conscious shoppers and hot sleepers. Synthetic materials offer affordability and ease of care. 

Size

Size is especially important when choosing a pillow protector. If the protector is too tight, it can compress the pillow and its fill. If it’s too loose, it can look floppy. As a result, a snug fit is ideal, and most protectors are designed to match traditional pillow sizes, such as standard, queen, and king. To be sure about the fit, you can check a protector’s dimensions in the product description. 

Price

Because many materials can be used to make them, pillow protectors have a wide price range, which is good news for budget shoppers. It’s advisable to decide what you can reasonably afford before beginning your search. This streamlines your shopping process by narrowing down the options. In general, it’s wise to invest a bit more in a high-quality product that will perform well and last longer. 

Noise

Some waterproof pillow protectors, vinyl ones in particular, tend to make a crinkling noise when you adjust your head’s position. This may be bothersome if you are sensitive to sounds at night. If you are a light sleeper and need a waterproof protector, you may prefer models with a backing layer of vinyl or polyurethane. This construction is designed to provide protection against moisture and liquid spills without the noise. 

Quality Materials

A pillow protector composed of high-quality fibers will last longer and outperform those of lower quality. Fabrics made of natural fibers tend to have the greatest return on investment because of their durability. They are unlikely to pill or wear thin, even with regular washing. That said, there are synthetic and semi-synthetic options that also offer good durability and value.

Waterproofing

Many people choose a waterproof pillow protector for complete protection. This feature preserves the quality of the pillow and is suitable for children, people who often drool or perspire at night, and those who tend to eat or drink in bed. Since impermeable materials can hold in heat, hot sleepers may want to avoid protectors made entirely of vinyl and instead consider models with a thin waterproof backing.

Temperature Regulation

Most pillow protectors are constructed with airflow in mind to prevent heat from building up around the head and neck. People who tend to sleep hot will appreciate protectors made with natural, breathable materials such as cotton or bamboo-derived textiles. Fully waterproof protectors permit less airflow and can retain heat, but in many protectors, a waterproof layer will be surrounded by temperature-regulating materials that prevent overheating.

Warranty and Sleep Trial

Both a sleep trial and a warranty can protect your investment when purchasing a high-quality piece of bedding. Many manufacturers offer a sleep trial for their pillow protectors, which gives you the option to try the protector risk-free. Some companies also include a warranty that covers defects. A warranty that shows the company stands behind their product can give you peace of mind when purchasing a pillow protector. 

Frequently Asked Questions

If you’ve never used a pillow protector, you may have some questions about them and how to find one that’s suitable. 

Why should I use a pillow protector?

A pillow protector can extend the life and performance of your pillow by defending its fill material and outer shell. Sweat, dust, oils, makeup, and spills can damage your pillow if it is only covered with a pillowcase. With a protector, your pillow can remain clean and free of stains. A protector also provides a barrier against dust mites and bed bugs.

Does a pillow protector go under a pillowcase?

A pillow protector is designed to fit comfortably beneath a traditional pillowcase. It blocks damaging substances from reaching your pillow. In essence, it’s a secure sleeve for your pillow that works in tandem with the pillowcase to provide protection.

Do I need a pillowcase if I have a pillow protector?

While some protectors can double as a pillowcase, most are designed to be used together with with a pillowcase. This provides an additional layer of protection and allows you to use pillowcases that fit your bedroom decor and comfort preferences. 

Depending on your tastes, you may prefer the feel of a different fabric than the protector. For example, a silk pillowcase can go over a pillow protector and provide a luxuriously smooth surface.

How much does a pillow protector cost?

Pillow protectors typically cost from $15 to $50, depending on their materials and construction. This price range can enable you to find a protector for your bedroom regardless of your budget. 

Protectors composed of natural and high-end materials and those that incorporate cooling technology tend to be more expensive. Some pillow protectors come in a two-pack, which may be a good option for value shoppers.

Can you wash a pillow protector?

You can and should wash your pillow protector regularly. It’s recommended that you wash protectors on the same schedule as pillowcases, which is typically once a week. Pillow protectors have a side zipper for quick removal, and most are machine-washable for easy care. However, there are exceptions, so you should look closely at the product label and follow any care instructions listed by the manufacturer.

Still have questions?

Our product experts have extensive experience testing just about every sleep product on the market. Send an email to [email protected] or call us at (877) 672-8966 with your questions and we’ll help you find exactly what you’re looking for.

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