Imagine checking into a posh hotel and going into your room only to discover you’ll be sleeping on black sheets tonight. The pillows and duvet are charcoal-colored, and inside the bathroom, the bath and hand towels are all dark in shade. How would you feel?

Most would say they would be uncomfortable, and that’s for a very good reason. Almost all types of linen in hotels are white. Beyond hospitality, many industries also use white linen: hospitals, restaurants, pharmaceuticals, semiconductors, golf clubs, food manufacturing, you name it.

So what’s the real reason?

Some say it’s for cost savings. You can wash and dry all these white linens in one batch without the fear of discoloration, right?

But that is also only half-true: A good laundry company would separate cleaning sheets from towels — especially during drying. Sheets are processed in a flat iron, while towels are dried. If you dry sheets like towels, you will end up with crumpled sheets.

White linen essentially evokes value that a hotel sells: cleanliness, purity, luxury, comfort, and safety. The slightest dirt on a linen, which can be seen easily on white ones, is very discomforting.

Linen should not only look clean white, but should also smell clean and feel clean. This means no bugs (mites or bed bugs) on the sheets, no smelly pillows, and no stains.

But while whites give guests comfort, achieving that whiteness has long been a headache for laundry companies. Customers often find themselves checking into a room with white linen that have stains (tattoos, blood, dirt, and the likes) that housekeepers and laundry personnel miss out on.

Here are the common headaches of hotels and laundry companies with linen:

  • Hard-to-remove stains

  • High re-wash rate, leading to additional cost on the laundry side

  • Lack of staff training and knowledge on handling linen, leading to damages

  • Poor linen storage, delivery and pick-up

  • Poor par management

  • Bad practices by the laundry service provider

  • Poor water quality, process and equipment

Unfortunately, many hotels and laundry companies fail to understand each cause of their headaches. Ultimately, they hear it from the customer why their expectations of white linen are not met.

Watch out for the release of Is It Clean?’s “The Linen Report: Trends & Maintenance” to come out soon. The report details everything you need to know about investing, cleaning, and maintaining linen, including the trends. If you want first dibs on the report, let us know at

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