The 11 Best Pillow Protectors to Restore Your Ratty Pillows in 2023

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We’ve all gotten to a point where, one day, you wake up and you realize: Your pillows are absolutely disgusting. Of course, they weren’t always this way. But after years of use—and an accumulation of stains and feathers poking out from every which way, you can’t deny that things have gotten out of hand. 

If your pillows are still giving you a comfortable night’s sleep, you don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars to replace them. You just need a good pillow protector. (Even if they’re beyond hope, it’s worth investing in protectors to extend their lifespan.)

So below, we’ve outlined exactly what a pillow protector is—and how it differs from a pillowcase—plus 11 of the best protectors on the market, from ones that protect against stains and spills to allergy-friendly numbers and protectors that are good for your skin and hair. 


What is a Pillow Protector (And Why Use One)?

First thing’s first: the difference between a pillow protector and a pillowcase is that protectors use laminated fabrics, which is when two (or more) materials are bonded together by polyurethane film. (And protectors also have zippers, where pillowcases don’t). Basically, laminated fabrics are typically found in raingear or automotive upholstery, where it’s built to be waterproof, washable and pliable. According to experts at Bargoose Bedding, “Your pillows become a hosting ground for dust mites, bed bugs, oil, sweat and other allergens. Using pillow [protectors] offers various benefits, which include keeping these undesirable substances out of pillows and your lungs. Also, they are easy to clean.” 

To that end, the Bargoose experts also put together a list of benefits that accompany using a pillow protector: 

  • Spill, sweat and stain protection: The laminated fabric prevents moisture and liquids from soaking into the pillow (or giving off unpleasant odors).
  • Allergen and bed bug protection: Some protectors are manufactured with specialized fabrics to keep out bed bugs and different types of allergens, as well as prevent mold growth/mildew from growing inside of the pillow. They also have a chemical and pesticide-free composition, so the pillow is less irritating for sensitive skin. 
  • It offers wear and tear protection:  Pillows get dirty, accrue tears or holes and fade with time. A pillow protector can prevent such damage and extend the usage of your pillow. Plus, they can help keep the feathers/fill of your pillow intact (and stop feathers from poking through as you sleep). 

What to Look for in a Pillow Protector

Naturally, you want to make sure your protector has a zipper and laminated fabric (or mentions “waterproof and “stain- and spill-resistant” in the description). But beyond that, if you’re looking for an allergen-free protector, you want to make sure it has a certification from the Allergy Foundation of America. This means that, if you see a “CERTIFIED asthma & allergy friendly” label on the outside packaging, the protector has been successfully tested to meet the following set of criteria: 

  • Features an outer fabric that blocks allergens like dust mites from passing through
  • Is "breathable" 
  • Can be easily cleaned to remove allergens
  • Can withstand the wear and tear of the recommended cleaning techniques
  • Contains no chemicals known to trigger asthma and allergy symptoms

The 10 Best Memory Foam Pillows for Every Type Of Sleeper

The Best Pillow Protectors of 2023

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  • Features: Woven from 500-thread-count sateen, waterproof, washable, protects from dust mites and allergens, soft and substantial, keeps feathers and down in place

Waterproof and breathable? Check. Good for those with allergies? Check. Bed bug- and dust-mite-resistant? Check, check. It’s no wonder Brooklinen’s pillow protectors are a best-seller with a 4.8 out of 5-star rating. They’re woven from 500-thread-count sateen—and aside from protecting against sweat, makeup and unwanted odors—the set of two also features an antimicrobial coating (making it great for those with skin sensitivities). “These are not wimpy. They are not crunchy. And they slip on with surprising ease considering the quality of fabric and construction,” writes one reviewer. “They work great and are perfect in cold and mild temps. If it’s summertime in the South, then be sure to switch out weekly and/or get some additional sets.” 

The protectors are beloved by those who suffer from allergies: “I have a pretty significant dust allergy (and significant seasonal allergies in general), and after switching to my new down pillows, my sinuses were a mess for weeks…Enter: the Brooklinen pillow protector(s). I stopped using my down pillows for a few days while I waited for these to arrive. My allergy symptoms all but disappeared, and since installing the pillow protectors and using my down pillows again, they've never returned!”

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  • Features: Made from soft jersey fabric, waterproof, washable, doesn’t make a crinkle noise, available in 7 colors and 7 sizes  

For anyone who’s looking to restore their ratty pillows on a budget; this set is your guy. It has a 4.6 out of 5-star rating with more than 17,400 reviews—and people love it because it’s A.) durable and easy to wash, B.) ultra-soft with a jersey knit fabric and C.) able to keep water, bugs and dust mites out (and the down/feathers in).  

“I didn’t really expect to use [these protectors] for everyday use because of the waterproof feature, but they’re great! They’re pretty soft on the outside and they don’t make a crinkle noise when zipped around my pillow. I washed and dried with my normal sheets and the liner hasn’t melted or torn yet,” one reviewer writes. That said, they also mention: “They are a little see-through though. You can see the print of my pillow through the case.” 

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  • Features: Densely woven sateen is silky smooth, GOTS-certified organic and free from harmful irritants, made to help fend off stains and dust mites 

Made from densely woven, 530-thread-count sateen, this protector offers a smooth, silky layer of protection that your skin will love. It’s constructed from 100 percent organic materials and is GOTS-safe certified, which means it’s free from harmful chemicals or irritants that could cause allergic reactions or skin irritation. Plus, while it’s not 100 percent waterproof, the protectors are made to help fend off stains and dust mites (and are finished with a side zipper to keep everything in place). “Love this pillow protector,” writes one reviewer. Unlike many other pillow protectors on the market, this one is SOFT and COZY, but I can tell from the tight weave that it will also be effective at keeping out the things you don't want entering your pillow.

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  • Features: Allergist recommended, comes in a pack of 4, made from lightweight polyester and rayon, durable and noiseless 

OK, allergy sufferers—this is the creme de la creme of pillow protectors. Not only does it have a 4.7 out of 5-star rating with more than 9,000 reviews, but many people mention that this set was recommended by allergists directly. It features a breathable, waterproof blend of nylon and polyester—which also happens to be soft to the touch—and it was expertly designed with tightly woven strands to keep even the smallest allergens and dust particles out. 

“I have terrible allergies and my doctor suggested these,” writes one reviewer. “I could tell the very next morning they helped because I wasn't stuffy, and I had no allergy symptoms!” Another reviewer backs this up, writing: “My allergist recommended covers for my pillows…Instantly, I no longer wake up congested or with an allergy headache!” 

What’s more, it also has an ultra-smooth finish that’s virtually noiseless: “Much nicer, smoother feel than other allergy pillow covers we've tried. [Also] quieter [than other brands],” writes one person. They’ve also been compared to “5-star hotel pillowcases.”

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  • Features: Triple seal closures and ultrasonically sealed seams, three-layer microporous barrier, made from a hypoallergenic blend of cotton and polyester, waterproof polyurethane lining, doesn’t make crinkling noises 

If you’re anything like us, your worst nightmare (come true) is waking up to a bunch of creepy crawlers in your bed. Luckily, this set of two protectors were designed to protect against just that. It features a triple-seal closure and ultrasonically sealed seams to make it safe from bed bugs, dust mites and common allergens creeping in—and it even includes a three-layer microporous barrier for extra protection. 

Plus, its exterior is finished with a hypoallergenic blend of cotton and polyester with a polyurethane lining, so it won’t have a plastic feel or crinkling sound. Take it from one reviewer, who raves: “These protective covers are not only for bed bugs. They protect against spills, allergens, dust mites etc. I was afraid they would make my pillows uncomfortable or make me sweat at night. They do neither. I feel good having my pillows stay new. they fit well and are machine washable. Good if you have kids. When children get stomach bugs and have to vomit at night, you don’t have to throw your pillows out.”

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  • Features: Waterproof polyurethane backing seals out moisture, stretchy and breathable polyester blend won’t tear or crack over time, great for travel doesn’t make crinkling or cracking noises 

Sticking with the theme of extra-durable construction; this set of two is constructed with high-quality materials that’ll keep the bad stuff (i.e., bugs and bacteria) out, and the good stuff (i.e., down filling and feathers) in. It features a waterproof polyurethane backing that seals out moisture while the stretchy, breathable blend of polyester ensures it won’t tear or crack over time. Plus, per the brand, you won’t experience any crinkling or cracking sounds like most waterproof cases. Not only is the material ultra-plush and soft to the touch, but it’s also quiet. “Finally, after weeks of testing out this pillow protector, I can finally brag about it. Its quality is outstanding. It doesn’t tear nor crack, despite of our consistent use of it. I’m also happy that it’s super smooth and breathable as well,” writes one reviewer. 

That said, it’s great for avid travelers too: “I always worry when traveling, most especially with the bed and the pillow that I will be using. This is why I bought this zippered pillow protector! I must say that it is superior and keeps me from [feeling] sweat and moisture. Happy to have this as my travel companion every time!”

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Sleep Number
  • Features: 37.5 Technology uses active particles move heat and humidity away, cool-to-the touch polyester exterior, hypoallergenic, designed for sensitive sleepers

The season of night sweats (aka summer) is almost upon us, and if you’re someone who wakes up drenched, this innovative protector might just be the answer to your prayers. It’s developed with Sleep Number’s signature 37.5 Technology, which uses active particles to move heat and humidity away, continuously adapting to help keep cool you throughout the night. Plus, aside from its soft knit, cool-to-the-touch polyester, the exterior cover is also hypoallergenic and designed for sensitive sleepers. 

“[I] never knew there was such a thing as a temperature-controlling pillow protector. My husband no longer wakes up to a wet pillow. And I am no longer hanging it to dry daily,” writes one reviewer. 

It’s also great for anyone who tosses and turns in their sleep: “This pillow protector keeps my pillow feeling fresh throughout the night. I don’t feel the need to turn it over to the ‘cool side’ because it feels ‘used’ when I wake up. [With this protector, my pillow] is always fresh and cool!” That said, just be sure to use this guy with a pillowcase, the brand recommends adding one to enclose zippers and tags.

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  • Features: Satin and aloe fibers are soft and silky, helps restore dry and damaged skin/hair, zippered closure keeps unwanted particles out, machine washable and durable 

Here, a more protective alternative to that silk pillowcase you’ve been eying for your skin and hair. Sealy’s satin pillow protector can not only extend the life of your pillow, but it was also designed to be gentle and restorative on dry and damaged skin/hair. It’s finished with soothing aloe that cools and moisturizes the skin, while its tightly woven satin prevents hair from frizzing (and keeps unwanted pathogens/bacteria out). 

One reviewer says, “It fits my pillow well (and easily zippers closed over the pillow). It is so unbelievably soft and comfortable to lay my head and cheeks on, and stays cool at night time. I also love that it helps keep my long, wavy hair from becoming unruly and frizzy overnight—I can actually wake up in the morning with decent-looking hair.” 

The aloe, on top of everything, is also beloved by reviewers who sleep hot: “I have been sleeping on this pillowcase for about two weeks now and it is so comfy,” shares another reviewer. “The smooth texture feels amazing at night and helps keep me from getting too hot. The aloe, I feel, is fantastic for my skin.”

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avocado green
  • Features: Made from GOTS-certified organic cotton, materials are soft and breathable, 100 percent toxin and chemical free, doesn’t require a pillowcase 

If you’re familiar with Avocado Green’s mattresses, then you already know where this is going. If you’re not, you should know, the brand is *the* go-to destination for luxury organic bedding—and this protector is no exception. 

It’s made with 100 percent GOTS-certified organic cotton, which means it protects your pillow from everyday wear and stains while adding a cozy (eco-friendly) layer of support for healthier sleep. The 400-thread-count, single-ply weave is also more than toxin-free where it’s naturally breathable and buttery soft to the touch. And of course, it has a hidden side-zipper design makes it easy to remove and wash.

“Avocado’s organic cotton pillow protectors are exactly what you’d expect from their product: Well made, ethically sourced and designed to make you sleep better than before. The softness of the cotton is a compassionate caress to your face throughout the night. They’re a perfect part of my bedding,” writes one person. (In fact, they’re so soft that another reviewer admitted to eschewing pillowcases entirely—the protector alone was that soft.) 

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  • Features: Doesn’t trap air inside the pillow, 100 percent cotton is lightweight and soft on the skin, noiseless, holds up in the wash and protects against stains 

This set of two has a 4.5-star rating with 7,400-plus reviews for a reason: The breathable cotton blend was intentionally designed *not* to trap air inside your pillow. It’s made from 100 percent cotton fabric that’s lightweight and breathable, while the smooth-gliding zipper provides 360-degree protection (and keeps the protector from slipping off during the night). 

On top of its light and airy feel, this set was crafted to be totally quiet. “You won't feel like you're sleeping on a bag of leaves,” the brand writes. One reviewer backs this, writing: “100 percent cotton [so] breathable, they don't stay inflated, where you have to squish out the trapped air every time you move or adjust your pillow. I've used several different types of covers over the years, and some were too noisy (plastic) or too slippery (pillowcase would slide off every night). [That’s not the case with this set, and this is] a great price for four.” 

Plus, it also gets bonus points for holding up in the wash: “As someone who [drools] and has their pillows soaked frequently, it's easy to just throw these in with my jersey bed sheets and not have to worry about damaging them.” 

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  • Features: 100 percent noiseless cotton sateen shell, waterproof and durable, soft and good for those who suffer from allergies or respiratory issues

Last but not least; something for sensitive sleepers who wake up at the slightest noise. This brand created a 100 percent waterproof pillow protector with a completely noiseless construction (which is extremely hard to come by for this kind of durability). Plus, not only is it designed to be soft with a cotton sateen shell, but it’s also allergy-friendly with a zipper lining that prevents outside particles from seeping in. 

Reviewers upon reviewers have also backed up the brand’s claim that the set is completely noiseless, where people have written things like: “They make no noise at all,” and “no crackle or crinkle [sounds].” One person even says, “you don't realize it's there.” It’s also great for anyone who suffers from allergies or respiratory issues: “I have asthma, as well as upper respiratory issues, and there has been NO increase in symptoms,” one reviewer adds. 

The Best Types of Pillows for Every Sleeper

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Associate Editor

Sydney Meister is PureWow's Associate Editor, covering everything from dating trends and relationship advice (here's looking at you, 'soonicorns') to interior design, beauty...