What To Look For In A Shelter Mattress

Shelter beds

A shelter mattress is the foundation of your rescue mission or emergency facility. It’s the backbone of the valuable service you offer. Are your mattresses and bedding really representing the best of your shelter?

With a constant cycle of guests and residents spending more time than normal in their designated bed — since it’s their only personal space — shelter mattresses need to be carefully weighed, measured, and not found wanting before they are considered acceptable. Specifically, you should be looking for durability, flexibility, and comfort in your shelter mattress.


With hundreds of residents filtering in and out of your doors each week, most of them spending all their time in or around their space or bed, a shelter mattress takes quite a beating — more so than a dorm or camp mattress even. If you don’t want monthly turnover in your mattress inventory, you need to look for durability when you buy.

Whether you’re on the hunt for an entirely new stock of mattresses or want to update your current set with high-quality mattress covers, here are the features to look for:

  • Easy-to-Clean — A shelter has some of the highest turnovers when it comes to residential housing. You owe it to your residents to keep bedding and furniture clean, sanitary, and healthy — and having a mattress that can be quickly wiped down between guests is pivotal.
  • Long-Lasting — You don’t have the budget to replace your entire inventory every year, and you should have to worry about it anyway! Truly sturdy, high-quality furniture and bedding will be made to handle the influx of guests and last for years.
  • Bed Bug Proof — No one wants the pain, frustration, and overall inconvenience of these uninvited mattress infiltrators, but a shelter or mission with so many beds, residents, and spaces want them even less! Keep your guests and your facility safe by ensuring your mattresses have inverted-seam designs and bed bug proof technology.
  • Waterproof — It goes without saying that no one wants a wet mattress, but accidents happen. In large facilities with many residents, it’s almost impossible to control the temperature for everyone and night sweats are common. As are spills, especially in crowded spaces! Save yourself — and your residents — time and frustration by purchasing only waterproof mattresses or mattress covers that are easily and quickly cleaned.


Whether it’s a shelter, rescue mission, or emergency facility, if you’re in the temporary housing business, you know that nothing is ever set in stone. You could be faced with a sudden onslaught of guests without warning or find yourself needing more space and privacy between beds in a summer heatwave. Whatever the challenge, you need to be able to arrange your facility to meet it at a moment’s notice. And that means having flexible, portable furniture and bedding that you can move to fit your changing needs.

Folding cots or single metal beds with a shelter mattress and bedding are just two of the options you have at your disposal — and both are designed to be as flexible as you need them to be. American Bedding’s folding cots were created with set-up in mind and can be assembled or collapsed in just one minute. Similarly, our single metal beds or demountable bunk beds are made to give you the flexibility to alter your facility any way that you see fit.

You don’t always know what to expect in your rescue mission or shelter — so be prepared for anything by making sure your shelter mattress and furniture:

  • Can be easily and quickly stored
  • Is portable enough to be lifted quickly
  • Can be brought out, wiped down, sanitized, and used in mere minutes


Working in a shelter or rescue mission, you know that your residents have probably already seen the harsher side of life. Unlike other facilities, the people you help, support, and care for may not have another place to rest, relax, and feel protected — that’s why giving them the peace of a comfortable space is all the more important.

Your residents deserve health, safety, and comfort, and with the right furniture and bedding, they can have it all.

  • Nylon or Vinyl — These common materials are most often used for mattresses because they are perfect for temporary housing facilities. Both are antibacterial, waterproof, and stain-resistant, but nylon is also breathable — which certainly lends to a better sleeping experience for your guests.
  • Durable Innerspring — Our dormitory mattress, which is also perfect for shelters and missions, is made with a high-quality foam topper, heavy durable fiber padding placed over the spring unit for even support, and a multi-layered core, all of which makes it ultra comfortable and supportive.
  • Single Metal Bed or Bunks — As mentioned above, single metal beds or demountable metal bunks are ideal for shelters because they get your residents up off the floor and provide a feeling of residential comfort that air mattresses or mats often lack.
Are you ready to upgrade your shelter mattress supply? Contact our dedicated sales team today to learn about the custom specifications we can make, the materials we have available, and exactly how we can help you take your shelter to the next level in durability, flexibility, and comfort.

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