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Education on linens

Hi everyone! I need more education on linens. When I started out doing Airbnb, I really knew nothing about them. I bought whatever was inexpensive and attractive at TJ Maxx. Some of those sheets were microfiber. All of them were colored sheets, designed to coordinate with the color scheme in that particular bedroom. Since starting with Airbnb I’ve gotten some education on linens but I need more now.

First, I learned why it would be optimal to use only white sheets. Then I learned how horribly uncomfortable many guests found microfiber sheets to be. So I changed and pretty quickly. Now I buy only 100% cotton sheets in white. I’ve gotten rid of the microfiber sheets for the king and queen size beds. Well, not gotten rid of entirely—I kept some for dire emergency back up. I still have some twin size microfiber sheets that I use when there are children staying in the twin beds though I only use them when I run out of the cotton ones.

The sheets I’ve bought to replace the colored and microfiber sheets are a 100% white damask stripe from Sam’s Club. They seem to be heavy, and have a good feel. They also, being a damask stripe, make it super simple to make the bed since the stripe runs up and down the bed. But these sheets – I believe the brand is Member’s Mark - also have tags that label the sides and top and bottom so it’s easy to figure out how to get them on the bed. At Sam’s Club, the queen sets are $70 a set and the king sheets are $80 a set. Each set has a fitted sheet, a top sheet, and four pillowcases. I really like them and they seem to be holding up well. But I am curious if there are better options out there. I keep hearing and reading about percale sheets, and I wonder how they differ from the damask striped sheets that I’ve got. The link below is what I currently have.

I am especially eager to find out other options because recent reviews of these sheets have been unsatisfactory. It seems the sheets have changed and are nothing like they used to be, in terms of quality, comfort, and wear.

Can anyone tell me how percale sheets differ from the damask stripe? If they do differ what are the pros and cons of each? Does anyone know of a good place where you can buy decent priced, open stock, quality sheets? We seem to run through pillowcases quicker than sheets, thanks to the number of persistent stains they attract. I do iron pillowcases so they look crisp, and pristine, but I need sheets that look decent without ironing. Between our 3 entire house AirBnB listings, I can dress up to 2 king beds, 6 queen beds, 2 twin XL, and 13 regular twin beds (and I have two sets of sheets for each bed, at least) at once. There’s no way I could ever iron all those sheets!

Thanks for any advice.

Despite hosting in a very high cosmetic and mascara region, we haven’t had too many issues with persistent staining. Touch of Vanish (Oxyclean) and a high temp wash seems to sort everything out.

Most of our bed linen is from IKEA (Ullvide range) and so far has proved to be pretty durable. My OH dries them on our roof terrace and in my opinion they look fine to go straight on, but she does iron them.



Outside drying is out of the question for us due to our climate, also, one house potentially could have up to 13 sets of bed linens to do on one turnover so you’d need miles of clothesline to peg them all out! Likewise ironing sheets is completely out of the question— time is too short and it’s too labor intensive.

The nearest IKEA to us is a two hour drive. I don’t like to buy sheets without being able to see/handle them in person. Next time I’m in IKEA, I will check those out. I assume they aren’t open stock but are sold in sets? Are they considered to be percale sheets?

We use Oxiclean in every load and pretreat all stains. We have very hard water and so use borax and washing soda in every load also. Eventually, we get most stains out. But you can’t get some things out, no matter what. We seem to have a lot of guests using products with salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide and various products that leave permanent marks.

We’re fortunate, our roof terrace is 14m x 4m, most of it given over to clothes lines! For nine or ten months of the year an apartment load, towels included, is dry within a couple of hours.

Sheets and pillowcases are sold separately and, if memory serves me correctly, they have samples out of the packaging on display. I’ve no idea about the US, but in Europe IKEA deliver for a few euros per consignment. We’ve got one ten minutes away, but when you factor in time/hassle/walking three miles round store etc, it is easier just to do an online order.

So far, we’ve had no complaints about bed linen, in fact no-one has even commented on it which suggests they’ve all been happy enough. On Airbnb and BDC our comfort rating is usually 5* or 10/10.

Probably not for everyone, but they work for us.


There are websites that explain weave, cotton fiber length and thread count far better than I can. I’ll just comment on what I’ve learned.

Damask stripe is sateen. It’s softer and wrinkles less. I like it, but more for winter. In summer I like the crispness of percale. It does wrinkle. What I’m able to do is to put the sheets on damp and stretch them out. I lay the pillowcases on the bed and smooth them with my hands or sometimes hang them out to dry. If they get too dry and don’t smooth out they I dampen them, especially the most wrinkle areas, with a spray bottle mist. It’s dry here so these damp sheets get fairly tight and smooth as they finish drying on the bed. I don’t know if that would work for you.

Macy’s has a damask stripe 550 TC that they sell open stock. But a set of pillowcases alone is $70. Some of the open stock stuff is so expensive that you can buy two complete sets of something else for about the same price.

I also like various Costco sheets I’ve purchased. Keeping an eye out for sets that have 4 pillowcases is a good idea too.

Amazon has some open lines that seem to be well reviewed. I’ve bought a number of products from there. Pinzon seems nice but I only have a blanket, not sheets.

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Thanks, that was very helpful. I have read about the differences in weave and so forth in sheets so I was mainly curious about the difference in “feel”, comfort, wear, and ease of care, especially if someone had experience with both damask stripe and percale.

I wish I could put slightly damp sheets on the beds to dry here. Alas, here in the Mid-Ohio Valley, the humidity is horrible. Even really dry sheets can become clammy feeling sometimes because there is so much moisture in the air. If percale doesn’t look good without ironing, then it’s off limits for me…

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I had a damask stripe set I really liked on my own bed years ago. I think they were something super expensive that I got on clearance at a department store. They were probably Ralph Lauren. They were soft, heavy, durable and not terribly wrinkled looking out of the dryer. They were probably like what you got at Sam’s. But I’m not going to buy $170 sheet sets for Airbnb due to the possible stain factor.

I have some lighter weight sateen sheets on my bed from Costco. I personally love the way they feel but I have had them get ripped from dogs playing and jumping on my bed. I didn’t feel that they were the most durable.

Ultimately I decided to try the percale of the type that nice hotels use. Why am I trying to reinvent the wheel? No one knows more about what works best than hotels. The Peru Pima company claims they provide sheets to some of the chains like Marriott, Westin, etc.

They also have a 250TC set they call “wrinkle free.” I’m keeping an eye on it to see if it gets a promo price at some point and then I’m going to try it. They don’t say “lifetime guarantee” on the Amazon ad so I don’t know if they have the same guarantee. I suspect that if you wrote them about any of their products they would replace them as long as you didn’t abuse the policy.


@kkc is all on top of the sheet thing. The only thing I would add is that of those three weaves percale, sateen and damask, percale is the most durable weave. Sateen will tend to pill with use, washings and spot-treatments but people seem to really like it and it lasts long enough, just not as long as a percale. You can get more durable damask weaves but they’ll be more like a twill and don’t come cheaply. Even though percale is the most durable, for your tastes, you’d probably want to iron it. I don’t mind wrinkled sheets personally, for my own bed I sleep on 100% linen (a beatiful mess of wrinkles) but I completely understand the no-wrinkle camp too.

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I’ll add this: We have two different sized beds in our two Airbnb rooms (one queen, one full). It’s important to us that the sheets for both rooms, while all white, are different, so we don’t have to wrestle with the wrong set of sheets when making up beds.

We have all-cotton, 400- to 500-thread count sateen stripes in both rooms (great for getting the sheets on straight). One room has more pronounced white-on-white stripes than the other. Easy to tell them apart.

Our sateen stripe sets typically last a year or more.

We buy four pillowcases for each sheet set. Most sets come with two, but two more are available. We set up each bed with four pillows: two firm, two cushy. Gives guests a choice.

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We buy hotel sheets from a linen supply company. They come with different colored stitching at the bottom for different sizes, so you can tell them apart. I notice this now on sheets when I’m at hotels, I was unaware of it before.


How many beds do you have? I have different colored sheets so I don’t go crazy making the beds. Also it is guaranteed that the pillows will end up in a different room. Having colored sheets helps with that, find home for renegade pillow. I have white, gray, and ivory.

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I think you’ll find that a lot of hosts here have ended up choosing all white sheets because they’re more likely to survive stains and come clean. Too many products (and other stuff!) can stain, discolor, or bleach color out of sheets and towels.

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I’ve had excellent luck with Target’s Threshold 100% cotton sheets (300 or 400 TC?). They have those same “TOP/BOTTOM” and “SIDE” tags for making the bed. They also sell the pieces separately (just the pillowcases in-store, but all of them online). They clean up really well and hold up to repeated washes.

They have a similar set “organic” which I find hold onto wrinkles more.


I am 100% white percale sheets for personal use and guests. I can’t stand sateen at any time of year because it’s too hot for me. I like the crips coolness of percale, and it’s what you generally find in high end hotels. If wrinkles are a concern you may want to avoid percale. like @JJD said though, they are super durable. Drying on low heat and using New Zealand wool balls in dryer helps with wrinkles (and longevity). This is my favorite brand for a good price at least so far…(true percale is REALLY hard to find these days! I’ve definitely been duped more than once)

And here are the pillowcases

Whatever you do, don’t get these! Very scratchy after several washes. I hate them!


Can you provide a link to this company? Thanks so much, I’d like to check them out!

That’s exactly what I do too!


Lots and lots! :grin: Too many, is what I always think when guests check out…


Great service and the best prices! (I’ve researched all of the other ones).

@Keugenia You might consider having a look as well. You have a ton of beds! It pays to buy by the case. You could buy only King Fitted, King Flats (and use them as the tops and bottoms on your Queens) and Twink XL (and use on all of your twins).


I have somehow hit the little flag instead of the bookmark on this post and I can’t get it to undo!! Somebody please help me undo this error!

Where can I find these in the US?

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