What sort of bedlinen do hospitals use?

I’ve always wanted to find out but no one seems to know.

I’ve been in hospital on many occasions, and the only nice memory I have is of the lovely bedsheets.

They were so thick and stiff that they could almost stand up on their own. I know they might have been heavily starched but the material itself was much thicker than average. I’ve got supima cotton but it’s still not the same. When I google ‘thick cotton sheets’, I tend to get results about silky, smooth Egyptian cotton which is not what I want. I’d prefer they were stiff as a board.

I’d like to buy some, but I’ve no idea if they are cotton or linen, or the thread count etc. Has anyone found something similar? Or, any idea what I should look for.

You can search online for hospital sheets and find vendors who are selling sheets for use on hospital beds. I would guess you’re looking for two things: very low thread count (150-200) and cotton/polyester blend. Both make the sheets extremely durable, and able to go through multiple washings and bleachings without falling apart.

The trend lately has been for high thread count, 100% cotton sheets that are extremely soft, but don’t have the nice crisp feel of hospital sheets. I prefer crisper sheets, and have found that lower thread count and cotton/poly are the way to go.

It’s been a long time, but I remember the sheets at the hospital where I worked as being 100% cotton – the better for the hospital laundry to wash and dry them as hot as possible and use bleach as a disinfectant. Agreed on the low thread count. Even calling them muslin might have been an overstatement.

just remember, every hospital sheet you have ever been enveloped in has been shat in, pissed in, and most likely, someone has died lying on those very sheets!

The hospitals I have worked in ship their dirty laundry out of state to a commercial laundry, including the blankets, clothes, and sheets used in labor/delivery/newborn nursery. No special baby detergent needed!

God, you… you want hospital sheets? It truly does take all kinds, it seems.


The OP could probably go to Home Depot and buy a canvas drop cloth from the paint department for less than true hospital sheets would cost.

He/she’d then enjoy the amazing durability and utter lack of comfort while saving money. Win-Win-Win!

Huh, apparently you can get these through Walmart.com.

Google knows all, Walmart sells all. scary.

BTW, the same thing can be said about hotel sheets. Many hotels also contract out their laundry, often to the same facilities that do hospital laundry.

One podcast I heard from Emory University said that when they brought the Ebola patients in for treatment, they rounded up all the sheets, towels, gowns, etc. that were about to be discarded, and sent them to that department. However, they did put new sheets on the bed to welcome them, assuming they were compos mentis enough to notice.

So go to your hospital purchasing/supply department and buy some. They order them by the gross; adding your few more to their next order will be no problem.

I’m pretty sure the OP is seeking out new hospital sheets, not used.

My hospital uses 3 different kinds of fitted sheets. One fitted sheet is made of Jersey or T-shirt type cloth- very soft and stretchy. Another fitted sheet is the same material but textured (soft, but bumpy). The final fitted sheet we use is a premium sheet. That sheet has a higher threadcount and comes in a subtle woven-in stripe and also in color (not stark white). That last one is used only is the suites and it is more like something you would find in an upscale hotel.

The flat sheet and pillow case is just a standard cotton weave and it is not the same material as the fitted sheet. The blanket is also cotton, but textured. That type of blanket is available in many places.

None of these linens last very long and I don’t know what happens to them when they wear out. We contract with a linens service company who brings fresh stuff and takes away dirty stuff daily. Our linens are usually in very good condition- very clean, no tears, no stains. Occasionaly I will find a piece of laundered tape stuck to the linen, or perhaps some pen marks where a doctor or nurse scribbled something that survived the wash. But overall, I don’t think the individual items survive long or more than just a few uses before they are retired. I believe most of our linen has a tag that says “Made in Pakistan.”