Why are Hotel and Hospital Linens Usually White?

Pay a visit to any hospital in the country and you are likely to see white bed and bath linens. Ditto for hotels. White seems to be the color choice throughout the healthcare and hospitality sectors with very little exception. Have you ever wondered why that is? As you’re about to learn, there are very good reasons hospitals and hotels stick with white linens.

Before we get to those reasons, understand that white is the general rule. There are exceptions to every rule, including this one. Some hospitals and hotels prefer other colors, such as light blue and gray. Keep that in mind as you read the rest of this post. The one thing more important than color is hygiene. Hospital patients and hotel guests deserve hygienically clean linens, regardless of their color.

White appears to be cleaner

Perception is a big deal in both hospitals and hotels. After all, you wouldn’t want to spend a night in a hotel you perceive as not being clean. Likewise, you probably would not be comfortable in a hospital that doesn’t appear clean. Therein is the first reason hospital and hotel linens tend to be white.

White gives us the perception of cleanliness. If something looks to be pure white and without blemishes, it also appears to be free of dirt. Thus, white bed and bathroom linens increase a guest’s confidence in a facility’s cleanliness. White says a bed is clean and ready to be slept in. But, you shouldn’t just assume white linens are clean. Instead, utilize a commercial laundry service like Alsco that certifies its white linens are hygienically clean.

White looks more professional

Because we are so used to white hotel and hospital linens, we have come to accept white as being the standard of professionalism. Yes, it is a cultural thing but nonetheless still important. A hospital aiming to present a professional image is cognizant of what linens say about its facility. The same applies to hotels. Management will choose white more often than not when professionalism is on the line.

As a side note, this image of professionalism extends to the white lab coats doctors wear. As we discussed in a previous post, hospital surveys show that patients trust a doctor’s professionalism more when he or she wears a white lab coat over equally professional dress.

White is easier to clean

Although this might sound hard to believe, white linens are easier to clean with a commercial medical laundry service. Consider any one of our plants that have to deal with everything from uniforms and bed linens to soiled tablecloths and napkins from our restaurant clients. It is a lot to deal with.

When it comes to washing colored tablecloths and napkins, for example, we have to be very careful that different colors don’t bleed. We also have to use a precise process that gets the linens clean without promoting color fading. Protecting the integrity of colored linens is not easy to do in a commercial setting.

White linens are an entirely different matter. We can run them through the laundry process without having to worry about fading, bleeding or any of the other concerns related to color. We can focus on getting those linens hygienically clean, knowing that they will look bright and beautiful as long as we succeed in that task.

And now you know why hospitals and hotels continue to use white linens year after year. There are very practical reasons that make a lot of sense if you are the one responsible for making sure linens are both clean and beautiful. Other color choices are out there, but they simply make the hospitality and laundry manager’s job that much more difficult.

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