Why Hotel Sheets And Towels Are Usually White

by SharonKurheg

For those of you who remember that far back, before the 1990s, hotels’ bedsheets tended to be pretty colorful. In fact, hoteliers particularly liked darker colors because they hid stains better. And then, as time went on, they…weren’t colorful or even dark anymore. Nearly all hotels, especially chains, had switched over to white.

So what happened?

Well, it turned out that Westin’s hotel designers did some research, as well as some experiments with bed sheet colors to determine what their guests felt was most “luxurious.” Surprisingly, after some trial and error of several colors, most guests preferred white bedding over other colors. As it turned out, a bed that was all white made guests feel like their hotel beds were cleaner, fresher and more luxurious than colored sheets and, because of that, they said they slept better. That, in turn, improved the guests’ overall experience and perception of the hotel. In fact, some guests thought the entire hotel room had been recently renovated when it turned out that only the sheets had been changed to white.

Who woulda thunk, huh?

With Westin’s experiments documented, it wound up influencing other hotel chains to eventually change the color of their bed linens as well (after all, they wanted their bed linens to look more clean, fresh and luxurious, too), until just about every chain hotel bed sheet was bright, sparkling white.

White linens also made other colors in the room, such as throw pillows, blankets, wall art, etc., “pop” more, which was an added plus.


Of course, there was one other advantage for those hoteliers who went from dark linens to white – although dark bedding hid stains, white linens could be bleached to get rid of most stains entirely. Winning!

Meanwhile, most hotel bathroom towels have been white for pretty much forever. Once again, it allows for hot water and bleach to get rid of most of the worst stains, although I do appreciate the hotels that have one black (albeit sometimes faded to dark blue) towel marked “makeup.” 😉


White towels also don’t fade and, just like white linens, give the appearance of cleanliness, freshness and luxury. And with towels and linens all-white (and terrycloth bathrobes too, when supplied), everything can be washed together, which makes things easier and possibly cheaper when negotiating with professional laundry companies.

Of course, none of this is across the board. Some hotels still use dark sheets and even non-white towels are the norm in some places. But IF they tend to use all whites, now you know the history of why that may be. 🙂

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