Here's the Surprising Reason Why Hotel Bed Sheets Are White

Here's the Surprising Reason Why Hotel Bed Sheets Are White

The color shows every possible stain, after all.

By Alesandra Dubin

Sure, white bedding is refreshingly uniform, and looks and feels crisp on a bed in a hotel room — a fine chromatic counterpoint to blackout window shades for a quality sleep experience on the road. But have you ever stopped to think about why hotel sheets are pretty much always white?

You might imagine hotels would prefer to use a color that didn't show stains instead of the one color that by its very nature reveals every stain. And in fact... that's exactly why hotels use white, as it turns out.

Think about it: Would you really want to sleep on bed linens that you felt could successfully conceal stains left by guests before you? The very thought sends shivers.

So white sheets show there is nothing to hide and your hotel is clean, fresh, and ready for you. According to Travel + Leisure, the thinking here is the same as it was when rich people used to wear all-white clothing to show they could afford to keep those clothes clean. It's an outward expression of luxury.

And then let's consider one last practical matter: the issue of laundry. White sheets also match other in-room amenities such as towels and robes, and therefore do not pose any threat of colors running and ruining loads in high-volume machines.

The Westin is credited with popularizing white linens for hotels in the 1990s, according to T+L, which notes that the brand's vice president of design said white beds create a “halo” effect and even suggest recent renovations, to guests' minds.

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