How Do Hotels Clean Pillows? Top Secrets Revealed.

Love them or hate them—just how do hotels clean pillows for your stay? Many look forward to the (hopefully) crisp, white hotel pillows after a long day of travel. Others, however, never leave home without their trusty favorite pillow. Whichever type you are, you might just be surprised at the process used to keep hotel pillows clean—and how easily you can recreate that luxury-hotel feeling at home.

Are Hotel Beds Clean?

You may have heard those old horror stories, or seen some gross-out reports on the news. But do hotels clean pillows? Yes—but how much? Beyond the obvious hygiene concerns, hotels are more mindful than ever about minimizing the spread of germs. Hotels are also incentivized to make sure you keep coming back. Clean, fresh pillows are an ‘easy win’ for any grade of hotel to help accomplish this. If you notice your pillow is less than completely clean, it could be a sign of other issues at the hotel.

You’ve likely heard that hotel blankets don’t get cleaned between every guest. As you can imagine, washing hundreds of hotel blankets, comforters, bedspreads and more every single day just isn’t doable. Avoiding the hotel bedspread is usually a good choice for germ-conscious travelers, as they may be cleaned just four times each year. Instead, most hotel housekeepers are instructed (and sometimes required by law) to change the sheets and pillowcases between every guest.

For added peace of mind and comfort, many savvy travelers choose to bring their own pillow with them. After a run-in with a musty, dusty, or even (yuck) stained hotel pillow, you might become one of them.

How Do Hotels Clean Pillows?

Before you lay your head down to sleep, an extensive process will take place. Depending on the size of the hotel, they may even contract with an outside service or facility to handle it. The Boyd Gaming Group has their own 10,000 sq. foot laundry facility to handle their 12+ resorts.

Hospitality School lists out a long multi-step process for laundry procedures. Most pillows are machine-washable, though many hotels opt for goose-down pillows that trap dust and are much more difficult to wash regularly.

As a result, hotel pillows are washed on a cyclical basis, whether quarterly, monthly, or semi-annually. Instead, they are covered with pillow cases and pillow covers that can be washed more regularly, and the pillows will be washed only when visibly soiled.

Checking In? Check These Out

A little grossed out yet? Totally understandable! While hotels do a pretty good job, we’ve all probably heard or experienced a horror story or two. A flipped-over stain surprising you. A whiff of cigarette smoke. Not surprisingly, many choose to bring their own!

For a luxury-hotel style pillow that you KNOW is clean (and you can bring home guilt-free), here are our Pillow Insider top picks.

Picking a Cleaner Hotel Pillow

As you plan your travel, the pillow where you rest your head can quickly become an afterthought. But for a great night’s sleep, a bit of thought about your pillow can be a great decision. If you’re in doubt, you may wish to contact your property to ask about their cleaning procedures. 

Hotels have great systems in place to ensure you enjoy your stay. Whether these systems are always followed is a difficult question to answer, and quality can vary widely. Follow your common sense and your own comfort level when it comes to using your hotel’s provided pillows, bedding, and amenities. Most hotel managers are eager to please, so let them know if anything is out of place or unsatisfactory.

And if you’re looking for 5-star resort comfort at home AND on the road, check out our picks for the top hotel pillows. Easy to clean and pack, you’ll rest easier and with peace of mind. Even if you’re not traveling, you can bring the hotel experience home every night.

P.S. Please do not disturb!

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