The Real Reason Hotels Use White Sheets

They're easiest to stain—but that's exactly why it makes sense!

This-Is-the-Real-Reason-Why-Hotels-Use-White-Bedsheets_327603341_Joey-ChungJoey Chung/Shutterstock

Let’s face it—hotel rooms are pretty germy places. You should avoid the hotel hair dryer at all costs, for starters, and don’t even get us started on the kettle that brews your morning coffee. But when it comes to the most germ-ridden spots in your hotel room, there’s one place you probably don’t need to be too worried about: your bedsheets.

Why? It’s all thanks to the sheets’ bright, white hue.

At first glance, using all-white bedding in a hotel might seem a bit absurd; white fabric is the easiest to stain, after all. But that’s also exactly why it makes sense. White sheets assure guests that the bed is clean and fresh. And because they look and feel so clean, they also give the impression of luxury—even if the hotel itself is rather inexpensive. Check out even more secrets hotels don’t want you to know.

Guests expect their hotel bed to be the same, if not better, quality than their bed at home, according to Laura McKoy, the Creative Director and Vice President of Interior Design of Omni Hotels & Resorts. “We use white sheets in all of our hotel rooms because it gives them a fresh, crisp, and clean feel,” she says.

Westin hotels were the first popularize the white hotel linens back in the 1990s. The all-white beds make guests think their all-white hotel bed is more luxurious, according to Les Roches, a global hospitality management school. The white sheets even gave guests a better overall experience including better sleep as well as a better perception of the hotel. This drive for a better experience is only part of the real reason why hotels have ice machines.

And if you haven’t noticed, the all-white color theme often applies to towels and bathrobes, as well. This has a practical purpose: bed linens, towels, and any other dirty laundry can be washed together without any colors bleeding.

Plus, if all else fails, white sheets are just one easy bleach bath away. That’s not the only universal aspect of hotel rooms, though. Find out why hotel rooms have Bibles, too.

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Brooke Nelson
Brooke Nelson is a researcher at PBS FRONTLINE in Boston, Massachusetts, and writes regularly about travel, health, and culture news for Reader’s Digest. Previously she was a staff writer at Reader's Digest. Her articles have also appeared on MSN, Business Insider, and Yahoo Finance, among other sites. She earned a BA in international relations from Hendrix College. Follow her on Twitter @BrookeTNelson.