The Dark Truth About Hotel Bedding: Cleaning Secrets Exposed | DOWNLITE Blog

Posted by Julie Carter on 3rd Oct 2023

The Dark Truth About Hotel Bedding: Cleaning Secrets Exposed | DOWNLITE Blog

When we check into a hotel room, we often assume everything – especially the bedding – is clean. After all, cleanliness and comfort are essential in hospitality, right? But what if the truth about hotel bedding isn't quite what we imagine? Here, we expose the frequency of washing sheets, comforters, and pillowcases, shed some light on what else may not meet cleanliness expectations, and provide tips for making your stay as comfortable and clean as possible.

Hotel Sheets: How Often Are They Actually Washed?

Sheets are an essential part of any comfortable hotel room. But just how often are they washed? While hotels vary in their practices, the industry standard is typically to change and wash sheets between each guest's stay. However, there have been cases where some hotels may not adhere to this rigorous schedule, especially if guests stay for extended periods.

So, how can you be a detective of cleanliness? Trust your senses. Look closely: do the sheets appear crumpled or dingy? Do you spot any stray hairs or grit? Feel the fabric: do they feel crisp or more like they've been slept in? Take a whiff: do you detect any unusual odors? If you have any doubts, don't hesitate to request fresh bedding. To ensure the highest standards of cleanliness, consider choosing reputable hotels with positive reviews and a demonstrated commitment to sanitation.

Hotel Comforters and Bedspreads: The Nasty Truth

Comforters add an extra layer of warmth and coziness to your hotel bed, but do they receive the same attention as sheets? Brace yourself because the answer may surprise you. Unlike sheets, it’s rare for comforters to get washed between guest stays. In fact, some hotel housekeepers admit that these top layers are only changed if there is a spill or a funky smell! The primary reason behind this practice is the sheer size of these pieces and the resources required to change and launder them daily. For hotels that use comforters with duvet covers (or double or triple sheeting), there's a good chance that the cover is laundered with the sheets, but it's not guaranteed. If you prioritize cleanliness, it's wise to inquire about a hotel's comforter-cleaning practices before booking.

Hotel Pillowcases: The More Frequent Wash

Pillowcases, unlike comforters, tend to be changed and washed between guest stays. This practice ensures that the part of the bedding closest to your face remains relatively clean. Hopefully, this info makes it easier to lay your head down at the end of a long travel day. However, inspecting pillowcases for signs of stains or imperfections is always a good idea to ensure your peace of mind.

Hotel Pillows: Lifespan and Hygiene

Have you ever wondered about the lifespan of hotel pillows? Most hotels replace pillows regularly, typically every two years or so. This is due to factors like wear and tear and hygiene concerns. Hotel pillows are usually encased in protective covers and pillowcases that are laundered as often as the sheets. However, the pillows themselves are rarely washed. This may not bother you since your face and head only make contact with a pillowcase. 

Nevertheless, pillows can accumulate dust mites and allergens over time. If you're concerned, peel off the pillowcase and inspect the pillow. If it's noticeably stained, odorous, or yellow, call the front desk and request new ones.

Other Lurking Culprits for Germs

Apart from bedding hygiene, hotel rooms have other aspects to consider before getting too cozy.

    • Remote controls: These are often one of the germiest items in a hotel room. Consider packing some travel-sized disinfecting wipes or spray to clean them before turning on the TV.
    • Carpets: Carpets may hide many sins, so it's always a good idea to wear slippers or socks when walking on them.
    • Glasses and cups: In some hotels, glasses and cups are only sometimes replaced between guests. Wash them before using them, or use your reusable cups and keep the hotel glasses on the counter.
    • Room keys: Before COVID-19, room keys weren't regularly disinfected, leaving them as germ-filled as cash. Today, the industry standards put out by the American Hotel & Lodging Association recommend washing hands between every item accepted by guests (including key cards), but sanitizing the key card before you use it couldn’t hurt.
    • Ice buckets: Believe it or not, these little containers can harbor multitudes of germs and are frequently overlooked by room service. Studies reveal that guests use ice buckets for all kinds of things that we won't delve into. We advise only using these if the hotel provides a fresh liner – or don't use them at all!

While hotels aim to provide their guests with a clean and comfortable environment, the truth about hotel bedding reveals significant variations in practice. To ensure a truly sanitary and luxurious retreat, consider recreating the hotel experience at home by investing in quality hotel bedding. Downlite is your one-stop shop for hotel pillows and hotel comforters used by the top resorts worldwide. If you’ve experienced great sleep while traveling, there’s a good chance you slept on our bedding. Use our hotel bedding finder to discover your favorite pillows and comforters and create a haven of comfort (and cleanliness) in your own bedroom.

Photo by Tamba Budiarsana