Why you should never make your bed when you check out of a hotel, according to an ex-cleaner

Housekeeper set of white bed linens in bedroom. Hotel concept - stock photo
Leaving the bed neat and tidy might actually be more of a burden to the staff than if you had left it in dishevelled disarray. Photo credit: Getty Images

When checking out of a hotel, for many of us our basic instinct is to either make the bed, or at least leave it in a somewhat presentable state - it was our home away from home, after all. 

Some of the well-mannered among us may even strip the sheets, offering a helping hand or gesture of gratitude to the hotel's team of hard-working cleaners. 

But according to a former cleaner, leaving the bed neat and tidy might actually be more of a burden to the staff than if you had left it in dishevelled disarray. 

Speaking to Business Insider, the former hotel cleaner, who worked at a resort in Australia, said making the bed actually makes it more difficult for cleaners to do their job. 

Not only does it make the process longer and more arduous, but it can cause some confusion about whether the bed was even slept in at all. 

"If we think you haven't used the bed at all, we may not change the sheet," the former housekeeper told the outlet, adding that the bed should ideally "look slept in" when cleaners come by. 

"If you've slept in your bed, you don't need to make it when you leave... it's better if it looks slept in," they added.

Of course, if you're staying for a number of nights, you can keep up your morning bed-making routine as the cleaners will rarely change the sheets throughout your stay. 

"On busy days, staff will simply plump pillows and reuse the same sheets, only changing the linens every three to four days," Flavio Serreti, manager of Soprano Villas and Rome Lofts, told Business Insider. 

He agreed that making the bed on your departure can actually give housekeepers more work.

However, guests who do want to be helpful can ball up their used towels and sheets so it's easy for staff to gather the linen and take it away for cleaning. A Holiday Inn housekeeper told the outlet: "It's not necessary or expected, but it's really sweet when a guest takes apart their bed before they leave because you have to clean so many rooms in a certain amount of time. It helps a lot.

"Also, put all your used towels in a pile together on the floor."

An unmade bed stock image
Leaving the bed naturally dishevelled upon your departure is the best course of action. Photo credit: Getty Images

The advice was later shared to Reddit, as per The Sun, where people discussed their opinions on accommodation etiquette. 

"Anytime I stay at a hotel, I always strip the beds and pile the sheets and dirty towels together in the bathroom," one weighed in, with a second agreeing: "Every time we stayed at a hotel room growing up (which was a lot) my dad would bunch up all of the bedding and add it to the dirty linen pile. I never understood why until I was a house cleaner."

"Housekeeping loves it when you do that, it saves a lot of backbreaking effort," another former cleaner pitched in, while one advised: "Try and leave [the linen] on a waist-high spot too, as they often try and grab it all at once to speed things up and it's less dangerous for their back if it's not on the floor."

Last year, a content creator named Amy went viral on TikTok after sharing her top tips for staying safe when checking in at accommodation as a solo woman, including using a portable door lock and infrared detector. 

And in March, an etiquette expert weighed in on the most common mistakes you could be making when staying at a home away from home. Speaking to the Daily Mail, the consultant recommended always removing the bed linen before taking your leave - and an offer to put on fresh sheets never goes amiss. 

"[It shows] you are not expecting the host to do it and be subjected to touching the sheets you rolled around in and perhaps soiled while sleeping,' she told the outlet. "Changing the linen or offering to change them is proper etiquette and considerate."