Are motels required to change linens between guests?

I have a friend who makes up rooms at a small (10 cabin) old-style roadside motel. Says it’s not mandatory. I’m sure this must be wrong. Wouldn’t there be a health department inspection problem. (Not that they always obey the laws, I’m sure that’s not the case.)

First thing that comes to my mind is “EEEEWWWWW!!!”

Second thing is “What’s the name of this fleabag so I can stay away!”

Third: Hi, Opal!

Fourth thing is: Depends on the location. Health codes are usually county-by-county.

And finally: Again, Eeeewwww!!

In my state, it must be a law. If the hotel I worked for could have gotten away with it, they would have skimped on the sheet washing. Our owner was so stingy, he removed all of the rugs from the tile lobby floor (a HUGE lawsuit risk) so he wouldn’t have to pay $30 per month to get them cleaned-- and this in a hotel which charged a minimum of $100 per night.

We only had a couple laundry people, so he was constantly paying out overtime for them to be able to wash all of the sheets and towels. If there was any way to get out of it, he would have.

There was a segment on TV testing the sheets and blankets. They found most blankets had semen and other gunk and explained hotels should put another sheet over the blanket.

Oh, the bedspread is * filthy.* Those we did not have to wash after every usage. Nastiness was just wiped off if discovered between guests. They were not washed until they were required to be. I don’t remember how often washing was required, but it seemed like a very long time.

Thus, when staying at a hotel now, I always remove the bedspread immediately.

Some hotels, of course, violate rules. I know mine fudged a few. Thankfully, though, not with the sheets!

When I worked in housecleaning, we rarely changed the bedspreads (I don’t remember how rarely), but if there was anything visibly the matter with them, we had to take them. But the sheets were changed daily, whether or not the room had changed occupancy. The only time we didn’t change linens was in rare cases when the room’s occupants requested that we not clean at all, just drop off more towels. But that was pretty rare. (There was also a case where the laundry refused to wash something - we just threw all the bedding away. But that was pretty nasty.)

I saw on 20/20 or one of those that’s it is NOT required to change bed sheets but they must if you ask them to. I always wonder what kind of wonderful things are crawling around in the tub…

I’ve stayed in many a hotel and found ‘gunk’ on the sheets, the pillow case, the bed spread. Enough to make you inspect every room you stay in. Last month, at the Wisconsin Dells, we found cherry pits under the bed spread, left from the previous guest (or perhaps 2 or 3 guests earlier). I marked the sheets to see if they were changed during our stay and they were not. When I complained they said that guest must tell housekeeping to change sheets or the policy is to leave them alone. They claim it is a “Green” policy. I call it “cheap ass save a buck on housekeeping policy”. For $260.00 a night I want clean sheets. Screw you Treasure Island Resort at the Wisconsin Dells!

In this thread , I asked for clarification of a legal argument on this topic.


Doesn’t really have to do with sheets, but one time I was on a road trip with a buddy, and we checked into our room late one night. I headed to the head as I always do upon checking into a hotel, and noticed some dried yellow dribbles and a curly little hair on the toilet lid. Thought that was pretty gross. Then I lifted the sucker up only to discover a massive dump somebody had left behind.

When I called the front desk, the jerk manager didn’t want to believe us. I said, “Why the hell would I take a dump, and call you to come look at it? And how do you explain these dried yellow pee stains on the lid? We just checked in, any pee dribbles we may have let fly sure as hell wouldn’t be dried up already.”"

He said he would give us a new room-- if we wanted :rolleyes:
And the bedspreads? Never touch the suckers. I see my friends laying on them, putting their faces on them, and it just makes me gag. I usually like to bring my own pillow too.

Methinks even if it is the law (and think about it: it would have to be. Bodily fluids, and all), sometimes the rooms just don’t get cleaned as well as they should. If health departments require people to wash up/wear gloves before cooking food, don’t you think they’d have laws about potentially rolling around in someone else’s pee/semen/fecal bacteria? But thinking back to some of the fleabag cheap-o joints I’ve stayed in over the years makes me shudder.

** look!ninjas ** is a person who will go straight to heaven when he/she dies: hotel housekeepers have already had their hell on earth. It’s literally a shitty job, poorly paid, and under-appreciated. Few people can do it for long. Our turnover was massive.

I think it’s because of the poor working conditions of many housekeepers that things get “overlooked.” Often, they’re commanded to clean too many rooms in an unreasonably short time. Getting paid close to minimum wage to clean up something which should probably best be left to a haz-mat team, and then shouted at if it’s not done in a blink of an eye is somewhat demoralizing, to say the least. At best, it’s hard, filthy work.

It’s astonishing how nasty people can be. I could turn your stomachs with what the housekeepers in our hotel went through. (Never, as long as I live, will I forget the poor housekeeper who ran from a room gagging and crying. Feces had been smeared over every surface in the room. The couple who had rented it had seemed nice enough: well dressed and nicely mannered. I’d thought it strange that they’d paid over $100 for a room and stayed only a couple of hours. We found out why in the morning. And this is a mild example.)

Now, when I stay in a hotel, I tip well, and do the little things which help housekeepers out. I strip the beds, putting the sheets and pillowcases in a pile at the base of the bed, and put all of the towels in another pile. I gather all of the trash bags and combine them. It only takes a few minutes, and I always hope that it makes someone’s day a just little easier by reducing the time they must spend on my room. (And trust me, it’s rewarded. We’re remembered in every hotel we frequently stay and get above-the-call-of-duty service.)

I work as a hotel CSR for a large corporation that has the franchising rights to 9 hotels chains, mostly in the budget/family range, and let me tell you I have heard stories that would, well I’ve heard stories, lets leave it at that.

While not all states have health codes that require the changing of sheets between guests the franchising contract between us and the franchise/hotel owner definitely requires that the hotel provide a clean room to the guest. This, of course, includes fresh, clean sheets between guests.

The best course of action is to ask to see the room before checking into the hotel. Most hotels do not have a problem with this and if they do, well, that is usually a sign that you may want to move on.

One thing I want to point out, if you do get a dirty room, call the front immediately and most important, be polite. The front desk clerk rarely has anything to do with cleaning the rooms and will generally be happy to move you to a clean room or provide clean linens, etc.

Also, don’t wait until check out to complain about the room, let the hotel staff know immediately. If you don’t the hotel will assume that you’re simply trying to scam them and get a break on the rate. After all, you stayed in the room all night long, obviously it wasn’t that bad.

If, after talking to the hotel, you don’t get satisfaction-call the corporate headquarters and complain. All of the chain brands have a CS department that will be happy to hear from you and complaints are used in a scoring system to determine whether or not they will be able to renew their franchise contract. Plus, there is always the chance of getting compensation from the corp office.

As a front desk clerk, I hated it when someone reported a dirty room, especially if I had no other room to give them. Most of the time, people were nice about it, but sometimes, they felt that the volume of their voice and profanity were the only appropriate response.

I would do whatever I could to fix a Big Nasty, but there were also those who felt that finding a hair beneath the trash can was grounds for a free night stay.

I had one night in which I had two “bad-room” experiences. The first couple called to report that their two-year-old had discovered a used life sized blow-up doll in one of the dresser drawers. The husband was pretty nice about it, considering. He just asked that I come fetch it away. (I wore two layers of rubber gloves, and could * still * feel the sliminess! I gave him a huge discount and profuse apologies.) The second was a guy who went ballistic because he had found a gum wrapper beneath the bed. He stormed out, (after a loud and lenghty tirade which brought other guests from their rooms to see what was happening) with dire threats to call corporate headquarters. He did, with enormous exaggerations.

Calling corporate headquarters is a mild threat in some cases. Our manager was pretty suave at avoiding consequences, especially if he could find a hole in their story. (In the above case, the man reported that the “black guy” at the desk had been extremely rude. I’m a white girl, and at the time, we didn’t have any black men who worked front desk. The case was tossed.) A lot of times, corporate will just insist on a refund we were willing to give anyway, but if the case is provable and particularly aggregious, they’ll take “points” off of us, which lowers your rating if it happens enough times. They can also issue a fine, but that was pretty rare. And sometimes, people will sometimes call corporate headquarters and flat-out lie, which is rarely a problem because, generally, we could prove it.

For those of you who belong to the “hotel clubs,” don’t think that shouting at the desk clerk “I’m a Preferred Guest!” will get you ANY extra considerations. Chances are, the desk clerk is, too. All it does is get you a small discount at a lot of places, not grovelling service. Anything that’s free to join ain’t that exclusive, bub. It is not a license to be an asshole, by any means. The only thing that makes you “special” to hotel staff is common courtesy.

This really is the best advice out there. If you don’t like a meal at a restaurant, do you complain after you’ve eaten all of it? (I hope not.) Please, let the hotel know right away about a problem, give them a chance to make it right with you. In a good hotel, you don’t have to ask for an adjustment to your rate, if the problem was that bad, they will take care of that without you asking, or offer you a future night at a discount.


Every horror story I could ever tell pales in comparison to that.