DIY Mattress Protectors

Project Week

My older kids and husband are on a trip this weekend to visit his family. I am home with the baby. Being an introvert, I treasure this alone time! Yes, I miss my kids and husband, but I also refuel at times like this. I love the quiet of the house and being able to get a few projects done that I just can’t do when everyone is home. This week, I’m doing a major “tidying.” I just finished reading, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, and I LOVED it.

As I was going through the kid’s room, the one item left in their room that I knew was toxic but just hadn’t traded out yet was their mattress protectors. Two years ago, I bought the kids new toxic-free mattresses. You can read about that here. But I had covered those super safe mattresses with typical, toxic mattress protectors. A few months ago, I had looked into buying wool ones, but they were so expensive I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. Then I read about “felting” wool blankets and making them into mattress protectors.

I got rid of the toxic mattress protectors two days ago, and I knew that meant I had to force myself to make the wool blanket kind before the kids got back. So yesterday, I hopped on Craigslist and bought 3 old wool blankets for $25 total.

Felting Wool

I didn’t have a ton of time to research felting wool, but I found one article said that you basically just wash them in hot water with detergent. Then dry them on high heat. I knew from experience (unfortunately) that wool does indeed shrink and thicken up when you wash it in hot water. So, I threw the blankets in the wash on hot. Ran it two times, and then put them in the dryer on high heat.

They actually didn’t “felt” up as much as I had hoped. I knew that wool blankets can be different. The lady I bought these from didn’t have the kind of thick plush wool blankets I had been hoping for, but I figured I’d give these a try. I think they thickened/felted up enough to be water-resistant which is all I need. I’m sure there are more complicated (and possibly more effective) ways to felt, but I didn’t want this project to take very long. I also didn’t want to spend hours researching it. So for now, this was the quick and easy method I opted for.

Then I set them outside on the garden fence to air out. Even though I’d washed them twice, they still had an old musty smell. I left them out for two days which helped tremendously.

The cream ones are thinner, but the weave seems to be way denser. So I put those on the kid’s beds. I folded them in half so that there is an extra level of protection. The dark grey one, I’ll either put on the crib mattress (folded in half) or on our queen bed. I haven’t decided yet.

I think I’ll still keep my eye out for the thicker wool blankets that I believe will felt better, but for now, this is a great solution. My kids aren’t allowed to have drinks in their room, and in the unlikely event that they will wet their bed, I think this wool blanket will be the perfect barrier. As a side note, wool is naturally flame resistant, antibacterial, and water-resistant… all the things they try to make synthetic mattress protectors be.

This was a fun $25 project that probably took 1-2 hours of my time, including driving to pick up the blankets, that now makes me feel so much better about how my kid’s beds are. They spend a good 10-12 hours on their beds per day. I want to make sure that it’s toxic-free, and that it’s not a place that they are breathing in harmful chemicals.


  1. Jenn Masters on April 2, 2017 at 1:01 am

    Thank you! I was just getting ready to research how to find a non-toxic mattress cover. Super appreciate you!

    • Lauren Dahl on April 2, 2017 at 1:49 am

      You’re welcome! Perfect timing 🙂

  2. Irina on December 1, 2017 at 4:22 am

    We bought the exact same mattresses you have about 5 years ago when we lived in Portland. I asked the guy who owns the store what to use for mattress protection and he suggested layering towels and few times that my kids wetted the bed it seemed to work. I’ll have to keep an eye out for wool blankets and try that too

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