How Do You Know When Your Hotel Sheets Have Been Changed?

a bed with white sheets and green blanket
Please note that I receive compensation for many links on this blog. American Express and other banks are advertising partners of this site. Read my Advertiser Disclosure policy to learn more.

I often look forward to finding a welcome amenity (especially sweets!) or hand-written note in a hotel room left by the staff, but have never thought about leaving anything for the next guest.

According to Global News, a guest staying at a Courtyard Marriott recently found a very helpful note left by the previous occupant of the room.

The guest “heard something crinkle when I settled in for the night”, per the caption posted on Imgur.

As they turned down the covers to find out what had made the noise, a small note written on the hotel’s stationary was found.

The note simply said, “If you’re reading this, then housekeeping did not change your sheets“.

Perhaps the previous guest had been frustrated after requesting housekeeping a couple days in a row and not receiving it, or maybe they stayed at that hotel often for business and knew that housekeeping at that property didn’t always change bedsheets.

No word on which location this was, but since the note was written on a “Courtyard by Marriott” notepad it is assumed it was one of their locations though it may not have been. The note was probably written by a good samaritan just wanting to pass on helpful info to the next guest, but it could have also just been a bored poster on social media or even a disgruntled hotel employee.

It got me wondering though, about sheet changing at hotels. I’ve had instances when hotel staff got caught using the wrong size sheets and hoped I wouldn’t notice, have been overzealous when I had a confirmed late check-out, and many times where housekeeping simply didn’t show up.

As far as sheets go though, I guess I’ve always thought that if housekeeping has taken the time to come into my room, change out the towels and make everything look clean, they’re also replacing the sheets every time. The appearance of cleanliness gives me the impression that the sheets have been changed. This is most likely the case, but not necessarily 100% of the time.

I’ve heard about people that use a washable marker to make a tiny “X” on the top corner of the bedsheets and then look for it again the next day, in case housekeeping simply smoothed out the sheets and re-plumped the pillows rather than using clean sheets. I’d never done it myself though, or thought about actually leaving a little note for the next guest (or tucked inside my own bed to see if housekeeping removes it).

How do you know when your hotel sheets have been changed?

Editorial Note: The opinions expressed here are mine and not provided, reviewed or endorsed by any bank, card issuer, or other company including (but not limited to) American Express unless otherwise stated. Comments made in response to posts are not provided or commissioned, and they have not been reviewed or endorsed by any bank. It is not the responsibility of any advertiser to make sure that questions are answered. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of the material on this site without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.


  1. I work at a hotel and our sheet policy for more then one night stayers, is to change sheets every 3 days unless asked to be changed by the gust. Also we leave hanging towels alone. We have cards that say if u leave them hanging helps save energy. Same for changing sheets every three days.

  2. A few years back my mother paid for a suite at the Marriott for my husband an I for that night of r wedding… I’m one of those people that has to make sure things r cleaned before using … anyways I noticed the jacuzzi wasn’t that clean plus mirrors An so on…. so the following day after checking out I always check every spot in the room in case I left anything behind an when I shook out the sheets to make sure I didn’t leave any clothing behind that’s when I discovered a huge pair of panties…. of course that would make any one upset so I went to management An told them what I discovered plus mentioned how the jacuzzi an the rest was not up to speed so they gave us a free stay for the future ..,, so I know if I found that then I know my sheets weren’t clean upon arrival when we checked in an I can asssure you everytime we have checked in at hotels that’s the first thing I do is check for clean sheets

  3. Check out the wrinkles on a bed you have slept in and then a bed that had clean folded sheets put on.. the wrinkles on the slept in bed will mostly be vertical… some go other directions but where your heaviest part is they will be up and down.. a clean sheet that has been folded with have wrinkles going all different directions.. they can’t get rid of that.. even pulling the sheets tight. Who cares if they change them when you are the one that slept in them… but I always look for vertices wrinkles when I check in

    1. That’s a good tip Casey. It sounds simple enough to do a quick “wrinkle orientation” check upon arrival, and I wonder if any other readers have done this as well.

  4. I agree with Lindy. If everything is clean the first day then I put the DND card on the doorknob for the next couple of days. If I need anything I can always catch the maid in a hallway, or phone housekeeping.

  5. On a multi-night stay, I prefer housekeeping stay out of my room. If my sheets need changing, I’ll let them know. HOWEVER… on my first night at a hotel, I absolutely expect that I’m being offered clean sheets. The original post wasn’t about multi-night stays but rather about checking into a room in which the sheets you’ve been offered have been slept in by a stranger and NOT LAUNDERED. That’s absolutely disgusting.

    I had a suspicious experience at a Marriott chain near BWI last month. The sheets had a cologne smell and had a large stain on the top sheet near my neck. I was almost certain they were not clean. However, I’d already changed into nightclothes prior to seeing it, and was extremely exhausted. It was a king bed, so I shifted to the other side of the bed and slept. My exhaustion level was simply too high to deal with the situation correctly.

    In the future, I will leave a note in every bed on the morning of checkout. Hopefully I can help future hotel guests get the level of cleanliness they’re paying for.

  6. Checking the bedding is one of the first things I do when entering a hotel room. This includes smelling the pillow. Many hotels will spell out their linen changing frequency somewhere, whether on the website or the check-in materials. I have found that it is common to see a change of linen every three days.

  7. I’m with Jack on this. Why would I want my bed sheets changed daily? There is simply no need. Like Jack I also try and hang my towel up. Just unnecessary to change it every day.

  8. Since I travel alone and only stay in the same hotel for three consecutive days at a time, my interest is centered only on the sheet cleanliness when I check in. I turn down the bedding when I initially enter the room and take a look. If I see stray hairs or stains or detect odors then I’m leaving! Once I found some nasty surprises on some sheets in a hotel in KC and immediately checked out and found another hotel.

    Hotel bedding is pretty nasty in any event – the least they can do is change the sheets. Anything less is nothing short of filth.

  9. For proof that your sheets have been changed day to day, simply check to see if the squished bedbug stains have changed positions on your sheets.

  10. While I like to believe that hotels change sheets between stays (and this is an interesting exercise), I have no interest or expectation that they will be changing sheets daily during my stay. At home, do you change your sheets daily? If so, then I would assume you either sweat a ton or you enjoy wasting water. When I travel, I always try to hang my towels and don’t want them changing my sheets – what a waste of water!

  11. This is an excellent question and one I hesitate to ponder too much because I probably wouldn’t like the answer. I travel to Tampa frequently for business and have received horrible service at the Marriott Westshore, to include receiving no housekeeping service (even for 4-5 days at a time despite specifically requesting it), finding long dark hairs on the pillows upon arrival, and accidentally noticing stains on duvets that had been strategically arranged. Complaints/comments to management with photographic documentation have gone unacknowledged, so I’m guessing that not even my Gold Elite status means much in the grand scheme of things. On the other hand, I’ve had single night stays at excellent Hampton Inns in remote locations where it was clear that the hotel sheets had actually been changed. So I guess the answer is that it’s a gamble every time…

    1. Yuck. After reading about your experience BT I think I’d stay away from that hotel, especially as management didn’t even respond.

      I tend to think that 99% percent of the time housekeeping is doing their job fully, which includes replacing sheets every night. It is just that 1% that we just have to look out for, and a washable marker doesn’t take up much space in a suitcase. 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *