Mattress fabric coverings explained


What is mattress ticking?
Before we start its important to help define what mattress ticking is. Ticking relates to the cover material used in mattress construction. It’s an industry term to describe a mattress cover fabric.

Types of mattress Ticking
Walking around any bed shed or retailer will show you just how many weird and wonderful mattress fabrics, coverings, and upholsterings there are to confuse you. Just like upholstery fibres and spring counts they are there to fool you into usually paying more for a mattress that may not be worth it. There are hundreds if not thousands on offer in a range of colours and unusual names. Some of these will claim to have hypoallergenic properties (usually just polyester) others have ‘cooling’ materials that will claim keep your Memory foam furnace bed cooler (they won’t) and some even have precious metals woven into them to claim increasingly fantastic properties.

1. Stitchbond
This is the cheapest grade of fabric that can ethically be used on a mattress. Any lower grade will probably be sackcloth. It’s rather rough to the touch and used primarily on budget and economy mattresses. It is a printed material, patterns are not woven like damask or any other mattress fabric. It’s not very breathable or flexible due to its crude weaving method. It’s very tough and durable though but lacks the movement required for a comfortable nights sleep.

2. Damask
This is a woven fabric that will be on the majority of mattresses. It has become generally termed ‘Belgian damask’ even though many of the damask fabrics described are made outside of Belgium. There are plenty of fabric manufacturers that produce material for mattresses, each with their own speciality and it is unusual for a manufacturer to stick with just one fabric supplier. Most come from Europe, France and Italy being favourite sources. But also, from as far afield as India and Malaysia. That said there is a world of difference between a cheap shiny polyester ‘Damask’ and a true woven Viscose (plant fibre) blend Damask.

3. Knits
Although commonly referred to as a micro quilt – which is technically a finish, it is also a term of reference to the fabric (which is a knitted fabric rather than woven as a Damask is). These types of fabrics fall in the mid ranges. Extremely soft and because of the flatter surface used mainly as a covering for memory foam or latex topped mattresses. It would be unusual to have this fabric on the side panels or indeed on a matching base. A complimentary damask or other woven fabric would be used for these parts. It is also worth pointing out that this fabric, although used primarily on quilted products – can also be tufted depending on the mattress.

4. Specials
You need to take this term with a pinch of salt as in most cases these ‘special’ fabrics are simply polyester woven with other fibres that are then sold as wonder fabrics. Sometimes this additional fibre is as low as 1%. In the past few years, a multi-million-pound business has grown in relation to fabric coverings for the mattress industry. This means that as bacteria build up on your mattress these good bacteria within the fabric comes along and kills them, supposedly. When the job is done they lie dormant until more bad bacteria come along, though we’re not sure how exactly this work for an inert material?


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