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Why Are Hotel Bed Sheets Tucked So Dang Tight?


There’s a lot to love about hotels – the
luxury, the service, and, of course, the giant, comfy beds with those fresh, white linens. If you’ve spent any time at all staying
in hotels, though, you’ve probably also encountered a few things that confuse and
even frustrate you. For example, why are hotel bed sheets always
tucked so dang tight! Imagine this: you’ve just landed in a strange
city after a long, hellish flight. You’ve endured hours of delays, jet lag,
bad weather and terrifying turbulence to get here; you’ve fought your way through the
mad arrivals crowd and fought to get a cab, and then tolerated an overly chatty cab driver
and bumper-to-bumper traffic to finally make it to your hotel…only to find out that the
hotel has no record of your reservation! What a day! Thankfully, your luck is finally starting
to turn. The hotel has one room left for you – and
it’s a suite! You’re too tired to care about the extra
cost at the moment – all you want to do is crawl into that big, comfy hotel bed and sleep
for days. You let yourself into your room and hardly
even notice the luxurious surroundings as you make a beeline for that giant, plush bed,
shedding your clothes as you go. You quickly untuck the sheets at the nearest
corner and crawl into the soft sheets, ready to slip into oblivion. But you quickly realize that sleep is still
out of reach – you just can’t seem to get comfortable. You would be tossing and turning if you could
– but the hotel sheets are tucked so tight that you can’t move an inch! Exhausted and frustrated, you fight your way
out of the sheet trap and frantically rip all of the sheets off the bed. Finally free, you calm down, climb back into
bed and pull the blankets over yourself. As you finally drift off to sleep, though,
you can’t help but wonder: Why, oh WHY, are hotel bed sheets always tucked so dang
tight!? While it may feel like they are playing a
prank on you, hotels aren’t intentionally short-sheeting you. There is a method to their madness when it
comes to tucking the sheets so dang tight. Here’s something you might not know about
hotels: they actually don’t use fitted sheets! That’s right, all hotel sheets are standard,
flat sheets, including the bottom one covering the mattress. Anyone who has ever had to wash their own
sheets knows how frustrating it can be to wrangle and fold fitted sheets. Hotels go through hundreds of sheets a day,
which means efficiency matters. Hotels use automated washing and folding machines
to help process their huge volumes of laundry, and these folding machines can only process
flat sheets. Using flat sheets also means that hotels only
need to stock one size of sheet to fit all of their beds, no matter the size. When making up the beds, housekeepers use
a technique called “Hospital Corners” to ensure a tight fit and neat look on the
bed. If you’ve never been in the army, to summer
camp, or worked in a hospital, you probably have no idea what “Hospital Corners” are. Imagine using a series of overlapping folds
to create neat, tight corners with the sheets, kind of like gift wrapping your mattress. OK, so that explains why the bottom sheet
needs to be tucked so tightly, but why can’t the top sheets be left untucked? The answer might surprise you. Of course, tucking in the top sheets and quilts
protects the edges from dragging on the ground and getting dirty or worn. But the main reason for tucking in the top
layers is actually hygienic – tightly tucked sheets help protect against bed bugs, the
greatest foe of hotels everywhere. In some parts of the world, bed bugs are the
least of your problems – tightly tucked sheets just might be the thing that prevents you
from sharing your bed with dangerous critters like spiders, scorpions and snakes! But the most important reason why hotels tuck
the sheets so tight has nothing to do with efficiency or even hygiene – it’s all about
appearances. It’s actually become the standard across
the hotel industry to make the bed with the sheets tightly tucked on all sides and the
bedding folded down at the top so that guests can quickly see that the sheets are clean
and know that bed was professionally made just for them. A neatly made bed clearly sends a message
that no one else has touched anything that’s about to touch you. Plus, with sheets so tight, you know no one
else could have possibly slept in in your bed! On that note, why do hotels use white linens
in the first place? You would think that white would be the last
colour you’d pick for sheets and towels that will see so much use. Again, it’s about both efficiency and appearances. Psychologically, our minds automatically associate
white with clean, and hotels leverage this mental trick by using bright white sheets
to signal to us that the room is clean, fresh, and made up just for us. White sheets are actually easier to wash,
too, since the entire load can be bleached to disinfect and remove any stains. Hotels also typically use a laundry product
with a whitening agent that actually deposits into the fabric and reflects light, making
the white linens look even brighter. However, you might want to skip the comforter
altogether during your next hotel stay. Because the sheets are meant to prevent your
body from coming into contact with the comforter, and since the sheets are changed between every
guest, the comforter is really only washed about once a week! Yuck… And that fancy, decorative blanket at the
end of the bed? It’s actually there to protect the linens
from your luggage…and it hardly ever gets washed. Don’t even go there! So, what other tricks do hotels use to signal
to their guests that their room is clean and freshly made up? Well, have you ever wondered why the toilet
paper in hotel rooms is always folded? All over the world, from the fanciest hotels
to the most basic hostels, you’ll find the end of the roll of toilet paper folded into
all kinds of shapes. From a simple triangle to more intricate shapes
like flowers and swans, toilet paper origami has taken on a life of its own. It may seem wasteful, since that tiny piece
of art is just going to end up being destroyed, but there is a reason behind it. Just like with tightly tucked sheets, folded
toilet paper assures guests that their room has been professionally cleaned. There’s another trick at play here, too. Housekeepers don’t always change the toilet
paper roll between every guest – there’s no need to be wasteful and throw away a perfectly
good, half-full roll. But there’s nothing worse than a guest finding
an empty toilet paper roll in their bathroom – it immediately makes them question whether
their room was properly cleaned. So, hotels came up with an ingenious way to
ensure that their housekeepers never miss this small but important step. By making it part of the housekeeper’s standard
checklist to fold the end of the toilet paper roll, then by default they would have to check
that the roll is not empty before they can fold the paper. By putting the focus on the fold, the important
step of replacing the roll never gets missed. In case you’re curious, researchers actually
figured out just how much time is spent on toilet paper origami. They figured out that it takes about 1 hour
per year, per hotel room just to fold a simple triangle every time the room is turned over. Globally, that adds up to more than 10 million
man hours or more than 5 thousand man years of folding every year in all of the hotels
around the world! As shocking as that may be, some research
suggests that toilet paper origami actually leads to higher tips for housekeepers. So, if you enjoyed your bathroom art, be sure
to show your appreciation with a good tip! And that’s just the toilet paper! Hotel housekeepers do many other little things
to make sure they’ve completed their cleaning checklist and reassure us that our room is
fresh and clean. Some hotels, especially fancier resorts, have
their housekeepers fold bath towels into origami shapes like swans and leave them on the bed,
which ensures that you get fresh towels and signals that both the bed and the towels are
clean. Housekeepers also have to make sure they lay
out the complimentary swag like shampoo and conditioner, soap, pens and notepads. Just like with the toilet paper fold, having
to arrange the toiletries in a certain way acts like a built-in check-point for the housekeepers,
ensuring that they have cleaned each area and run through a mental checklist of supplies
to be refilled. As guests, these carefully designed displays
once again make us feel like our room was prepared just for us. Also, did you know that hotels actually want
you to steal the soap and pens? That’s why the hotel’s logo is on so many
of these small items – it’s free advertising, after all. Just don’t try stealing the bath robes and
blaming it on us! After learning all about the sneaky ways hotels
assure us that our rooms are clean, you may be left wondering – what other bizzare things
do hotels do to get us to part with our hard-earned money? Of course, there’s the infamous mini-bar
racket. Hotels know exactly how confusing guests find
it to navigate their menu of free versus paid items – in fact, they’re counting on it! By making a few items free and placing them
right next to items that are decidedly not free, and probably way overpriced, they know
that you are more likely to just grab that chocolate bar you’ve been eying, rather
than walk across the room to double-check the menu and make sure it’s on the “free”
list. Even worse are the mini-bars with motion sensors! These fridges are rigged up with motion sensors
that can tell when you so much as nudge an item, let alone pick it up to read the label
and contemplate opening it. The hope is that you’ll just go ahead and
consume it once it’s in your hand, since you’ll worry that you’ve been charged
already…or that you’ll forget to check your bill and ask to have the charge reversed
after check out. You might think fleeing the minibar and escaping
to the real bar in the lobby will protect your wallet, but there are more surprises
in store for you there. Perhaps you’re planning to have one quick
drink before retiring to your room, but before you know it you’re more than a few drinks
in and are trying to decide if you should just stay up all night at this point. You can thank those “free” snacks at the
bar for getting you into this pickle. These supposedly free, salty snacks are designed
to make you thirstier so that – you guessed it – you’ll buy more drinks. Speaking of bars…can you imagine if that
bar charged you extra to have ice in your drinks? That may seem crazy to us now, but it was
not all that long ago that you would have been charged by the cube! Before refrigerators and freezers could be
found in every home, most people simply had an ice box stocked with large blocks of ice
to keep their perishables cold, and icy-cold drinks were an expensive luxury. Hotels were one of the few places where icey
cold drinks could be found, and stocking enough ice to meet the needs of their bars was an
astronomical cost. Once ice makers came on the market, hotels
were some of the earliest and most enthusiastic customers, and nowadays you’d be hard pressed
to find a hotel without an ice bucket in each room and a free ice machine on each floor. At least we can thank hotels for making free
ice the norm! So, what do you think of these tricks that
hotels use to look cleaner and fancier, and to get us to spend more? Do you think it will influence your future
hotel experiences? Be sure and let us know in the comments! If you thought this video was enlightening,
you’ll definitely want to check out this illuminating video, titled Why Is It Illegal
to Cut Off Mattress Tags (And Other Weird Laws). Short-sheeting might be the least of your
mattress worries! As always, thanks for watching, and don’t
forget to like, share and subscribe!

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