You might have heard the question from a local news report or read about it online: do hotels wash sheets after every guest?
As a traveler, you would obviously hope that the answer is a resounding, “yes!” You wouldn’t want to sleep in sheets that have been used by another person, right?
Unfortunately, based on several now-popular news segments, it appears that many hotels, even high-end hotel chains, don’t change sheets after each guest.
What Happened in the News Segments?
While many news segments from different media covered these stories, they all have the same general flow. Let’s use the news segment by Inside Edition. They checked into decent chain hotels such as the Residence Inn by Marriott on consecutive nights under different names in the segment. They booked the same room for those two nights. On the first night, the show’s correspondent wrote “I SLEPT HERE” on the sheets using invisible fluorescent sheets. On their second night, they checked the sheets with a blacklight to see whether the writing was still there.
As it turned out, three times out of nine, the hotel did not change the sheets! When the reporter confronted the manager, the managers would either deny any knowledge of the sheets not being replaced or they would try and deflect blame to the cleaning staff.
Admittedly, the sample size is not statistically significant in any way. Knowing that there is a one in three chance that you might be sleeping on a sheet that has been used by someone else doesn’t exactly give a resounding vote of confidence!
Reasons Why Hotels Don’t Change Sheets After Every Guest
So, the answer to “do hotels wash sheets after every guest” is, sometimes. The reason for this is two-fold: economic and practicality.
First, even large chain hotels may choose not to change sheets after every guest to cut down on costs when it comes to their laundry bill. This can be especially true regarding thick beddings such as comforters or if the beds are queen-sized or king-sized!
Second, if the hotels are experiencing a surge in guests, there might not be enough time to change the sheets in between each guest checking in, or there might not be enough sheets to go around! The housekeeping staff might choose to forego changing or washing the sheets if the sheets still look and smell clean.
Now, the next question is, how often do hotels change sheets? It would ultimately depend on the hotel’s turnover rate for guests and the efficiency of the cleaning staff. However, if you want to be sure, you can request for fresh new sheets to be brought into your room and have the sheets changed in front of you. Just make sure that you do it respectfully!
How To Check On Your Own If The Sheets Were Washed
If you are worried about staying in a room with dirty sheets, here are some things that you can do to avoid it:
- Bring your own portable blacklight.
For less than $20, you can buy a pocket-sized blacklight online. You don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars to get a full-sized blacklight like the one used in the news segments. The pocket-sized ones will work just as well as the full-sized ones.
Using a blacklight will give you undeniable proof that your bed sheets are dirty, and you will be in a better position to request new sheets or even a new room. To be on the safe side, you should check the sheets in your new room as well!
- Bring Your Own Sheets.
If you still wonder, do hotels wash sheets after every guest, then make sure you have clean sheets by bringing it. Yes, you can consider bringing your own sheets from home. It might be a hassle and bulky, but it could be the only way to guarantee that you’re sleeping on clean sheets.
- Avoid Hotels Altogether.
If you can’t find any trustworthy hotels in your area or the management is dragging their feet when it comes to changing your sheets, you can refuse to stay in hotels and check into an alternative like an AirBnb. An AirBnB can be a good choice since many AirBnB owners are easy to talk to and will accommodate requests to change sheets so that you can be sure that they are fresh.
Does It Really Matter?
Does it really matter whether do hotels wash sheets after every guest? Well, it will depend on your level of comfort with the idea. It is not a big deal for some people, while for others, even the thought of sleeping in used sheets is enough to put them off the idea of sleeping in hotels completely.
If you’re only staying in the hotel overnight and you’ll be spending most of your time outside anyway, a single night shouldn’t be such a big deal unless the sheets are visibly stained or have an unpleasant smell. However, if you’re staying for multiple consecutive nights in the same room, you should at least request that the sheets be changed for the first night so that even if you are sleeping in used sheets, you’ll know that it was you who slept in them. Find out more about hotel housekeeping.
The answer to the question, do hotels wash sheets after every guest is varied on many factors. What’s more, there is no guarantee for the answer in terms of the hotel’s price and popularity. As was seen in the news segment, even well-known hotels can repeat using dirty sheets to cut down on costs or because the cleaning staff doesn’t have the time or resources to change your sheets. In the end, your best bet is to request a change of sheets before you check in. If you check the sheets and still find that they are dirty, you would be well within your rights to ask for a refund and find a new place to stay.