Futon mattress covers are both healthful and decorative. If your futon mostly provides an extra sitting space, you want it to look both attractive and stay clean. If sleeping is the primary function of your futon, a mattress cover isn’t as important because you’ll have a mattress pad and sheets covering the futon.
Futons are traditional Japanese mattresses. They are thin (2 inches) and stuffed with organic fibrous materials such as cotton, wool or hemp. Traditional futons are laid down on top of tatami — mats woven of grass — when it is time to sleep. During the day, futons are rolled up and stored out of the way. You will not find futon mattress covers in Japan.
The Western futon bears little resemblance to its Eastern ancestor. In the U. S., futons are now often stuffed with polyurethane foam as well as fiber. The filler may also include wool, latex foam, and even innersprings. Many American futons sit upon articulated frames that can be configured as bed, chair, or couch. The futon mattress bends to accommodate each use.
Because Western futons serve as bed and other types of furniture — often in a living room area — futon mattress covers assume great importance. A futon mattress cover must protect against more than the usual hazards of sleeping. Very often, it must be food- and beverage-resistant, too. And a futon mattress cover must be as tough as the upholstery on any chair or couch.
Surprisingly, most futon mattress covers do not come with zippers. The futon mattress just slips into an open end, which remains open. Decorators recommend ordering futon mattress covers with zippers to keep them looking neat and facilitate removal and cleaning.
Perhaps the biggest difference between a futon mattress cover and a regular mattress cover is that the former must look good — be decorative. Futon mattress covers come in many, many colors and patterns to match any décor. Some of the most popular styles are:
- Print: by far the most common style. A pattern or graphic is printed on all sides of the futon mattress cover. This style is preferred because most people like to flip their futon mattress occasionally.
- Printed Top, also called an Inlay: the second most popular style, this one features a print pattern on the top side of the futon mattress cover and a coordinated solid color on the sides and back side. This style, too, can be flipped if a stain appears when one is expecting company.
- Solid Back: just the reverse of the Printed Top. One panel is a solid color while the sides and back are a print.
You must be prepared before you go shopping for a futon mattress cover. You should know your futon’s exact measurements: length, width, and thickness. This will help you buy the right size futon mattress cover. Then, when you get it home, you can take care of it properly.
A futon mattress cover is usually machine-washable, but read the manufacturer’s instructions carefully. Some futon mattress covers must be washed in cold water. It is often recommended to turn the futon mattress cover inside out before washing; this protects the visible pattern against rubbing off on the washing machine parts. Drying on medium heat is usually safe.
If you have a futon for sleeping or sitting, consider a futon mattress cover to keep it fresh and clean.