Kate and I have been in the Airbnb business for over three years now. In fact, our first Airbnb experience convinced us that we needed to be investing in short term rentals as much as possible.
Today, I’m sharing all the best sheets and towels we stock in each of our three Airbnbs. We’ve bought plenty of products that couldn’t handle the high usage of a short term rental, but these are the products that have withstood the constant washing, drying and usage.
Disclaimer: Some of the links in this article earn us a commission if you choose to purchase. We only recommend products we (or other hosts) have used in a real Airbnb.
Our Picks for Best Value Sheets and Towels
Each of these recommendations are currently being used in at least one of our listings and they have all been going strong for at least one year of regular bookings.
Best value sheets: The Big One Percale Sheet Set
We bought a set of The Big One sheets when we opened our first Airbnb
three years ago and we’re still using that same set three years later.
That cannot be said for other sheet sets we’ve bought and used. The
material is thick compared to other sheet sets we’ve used, so after
hundreds of runs through the washer and dryer they are still strong.
Some of our cheaper sets of sheets also come out of the dryer with lots of wrinkles, but The Big One sheets very rarely come out wrinkly
Now Kate does a lot more of the cleaning than I do, but one thing that bugs me a lot is when the bed sheets just barely fit the bed. I’ll have to fight the fitted sheet to get it on all four corners, then there’s barely enough material on the flat sheet to tuck in under the bed.
The Big One sheets are exactly that, big. There’s almost an excess of material so making the beds doesn’t feel like so much of a chore. I love that.
You can buy these on Amazon, but sometimes you can find them cheaper at Kohl’s.
Best value towels: Solid Bath Towels (Target Brand)
Guests don’t require a lot from their bath towels. When picking a towel, you basically just want something that will go unnoticed. You don’t necessarily need your guests to marvel at how luxurious your towels are.
You might want them to marvel at your bathroom, but your towels just need to get the job done without bothering anyone.
Solid Bath Towels from Target are just that. They are soft, low-cost and they will last through hundreds of trips through the washer and dryer. And it doesn’t hurt that they come with a nice loop for hanging (although we always fold our towels).
Best value washcloths: Room Essentials Bath Towel Set
One of the unsung heroes of our Airbnbs is our washcloths. It’s not an item you initially think of when you’re setting up shop, but I think 80% of our guests use the washcloths.
They can of course work as a hand towel of sorts, but the truth is guests use them for a variety of things, including showers, face wash, makeup and cleaning up water in the bathroom.
Speaking of makeup, in the early days of opening up our first short term rental, we had more than a few white hand towels ruined from guests using them to clean off makeup. We’ve tried a few different ways to solve that problem, but ultimately the most effective for us has been to have a few dark colored washcloths in our bathrooms labeled specifically for makeup removal.
We always have some white washcloths for general use and a few dark washcloths for makeup removal. We now consider washcloths an essential item in our bathrooms!
What Color Sheets Should I Use?
When choosing the color of your sheets you should be thinking primarily about two things:
Will my guests think this looks clean? And how will I get rid of any stains?
Usually white is the color that looks the cleanest to a guest. When you have a brand new sheet that’s perfectly white, nothing looks cleaner. But white also tends to show stains more clearly than other colors.
We use some white sheets. And although our white sheets usually end up with some marks here and there, they tend to stay quite clean. Remember, white sheets can be safely bleached to get rid of bad stains.
However, we also have several non-white sheets and patterned sheets. Our general rule is that the sheets should be light colored. We use light grays, blues, and patterns, and we also have a sheet that’s pastel pink. These colors have also worked great for us because they look fresh and clean and they tend to hide any stains that show up better than the white sheets.
My advice is use the lighter colors.
Our Picks for Low Budget Sheets and Towels
Sometimes, you just need to get your listing stocked and ready for guests. Some of our best value suggestions are also great low budget options as well!
Low budget sheets: Threshold Flannel Sheets
In full transparency, we don’t use these in any of our Airbnbs, but we actually use them in our own bed during the cold months.
They are super comfortable and while we’ve only washed them a few times, they show no signs of wearing down.
Probably the biggest potential issue with these is that they only come in prints, no solid colors.
I think they’re made by Target, so make sure to check their website as well for more options.
Low budget towels: Solid Bath Towels (Target Brand)
Like I mentioned before, towels are not the best place to splurge in your Airbnb. They simply need to dry your guests without seeming scratchy or dirty.
Sometimes the best value item just happens to be the cheapest on the market. That’s why Solid Bath Towels are making another appearance on our list as our low budget recommendation. They’re great and they’re cheap.
Low budget washcloths: Room Essentials Bath Towel Set
I’ve pointed out how important washcloths have become in our Airbnbs. They take the biggest beating of all our linens, and as such they get replaced the most.
Take it from me, spend as little as possible on washcloths, because you absolutely WILL have to replace them. With the Room Essentials bath towel set, you should be able to fully stock your washcloths for around $12.
I’d go 12 white for general use and 6 dark for makeup removal.
Our Pick for Luxury Sheets: BIOWEAVES Organic Cotton Sheets
We have a luxury listing where we charge our guests more per night so they can have more space, a full kitchen, a nice backyard, and all the nicest appliances, electronics, toiletries, and yes, even sheets.
If your listing also demands the highest quality in just about everything, then you may want to ensure that your sheets are not just soft and durable, but also allergy free and environmentally friendly.
Our Pick for Microfiber Sheets: Mellani Sheet Set
There’s no denying that microfiber sheets are simple more durable than cotton sheets. When you consider only the durability and visual appearance, microfiber sheets almost certainly outperform cotton and flannel.
And microfiber is quite cheap as well.
The reason we typically opt for cotton sheets over microfiber is that cotton is softer and more comfortable. We probably end up spending more on sheets in the long run, but we think it’s worth it because our guests will sleep better and be happier.
Either way, the Mellani Microfiber set will be absolutely great for your Airbnb. They’ll be looking clean and fresh for a long time.
How many sheets and towels should I stock?
Stocking sheets and towels is something Kate and I have experimented with for years now. What we’ve learned is that our lives are much easier if we have enough sheets and towels for at least two sets of guests.
So every bed needs at least two sets of sheets, every pillow needs two pillowcases and you need enough towels to cover two max-guest stays in a row. That means if 4 guests is your max, then you need at least 8 towels. Same rule for washcloths
It’s possible to make do with only one set of everything, but you’ll find yourself under a lot of stress if one set gets ruined.
The other reason we stock multiples of our sheets and towels is that we often get multiple consecutive guests.
If you have different guests on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, then you’ll be doing laundry for all three. If you have two sets of sheets, then you can throw the dirty sheets in immediately when you arrive to clean, then throw them in the dryer as you walk out the door. The clean sheets will be waiting in the dryer when you arrive tomorrow to clean again.
Our Pick for Flannel Sheets: Threshold Flannel Sheets
If your Airbnb is in a location with very cold weather, your guests may have different needs for bed sheets. Flannel sheets are great because they don’t feel cold when you first get into bed.
You’ll notice that these are the same sheets we recommended for those with a low budget, so if you already want good cold weather sheets then you’re in luck. These are the cheapest set of sheets we recommend!
We sleep in these sheets at home and they really are super comfortable. I wouldn’t hesitate to set my guests up with these.
Our Pick for Hand Towels: Utopia Grey Hand Towels
Hand towels are used much more harshly than bath towels. Your guests will likely use your hand towels several times a day, while they’ll only use your bath towels once per day max. And they may also use your hand towels to clean up messes in the bathroom or elsewhere in your Airbnb.
That means your hand towels will get stained more. For this reason, we avoid white hand towels. They simply get stained too fast.
We use these Utopia grey hand towels in all our listings and I think we’ve only had to decommission 3 or 4 of them (out of around 20) in the last two years. They get the job done, they last, and they don’t break the bank.
When should I replace my sheets and towels?
Speaking of replacing towels, how do you know when to throw in the towel (sorry, I had to)? I don’t have a hard and fast rule, but here are some things that would cause us to get rid of sheets or towels.
- The towel is fraying on the edges
- Sheet or towel has a major stain that ruins it
- It's become discolored even after washing (looks dirty next to new sheets or towels)
With the sheets and towels I’ve recommended in this article, you shouldn’t have any issues with frayed edges or the material just breaking down. However, some cheap towels will start to do this after a couple dozen trips through the washer and dryer. If that happens, we remove them from our Airbnb (and hopefully find another use for them), because it just looks bad.
Occasionally a towel or sheet will just get a major stain that can’t be cleaned. Maybe it’s from nail polish or grease or something else, but it does happen sometimes. And if you have an Airbnb long enough it will happen to you too. That’s why we buy affordable items.
But those sheets and towels that go the distance and avoid any major incidents will eventually start to discolor. You’ll notice white towels looking off white, or even a little brown, next to a new white towel. Or maybe the spot on your sheets where guests lay will have a different color than the sides of the sheets. That’s a sign that it’s time to get rid of it.
Our Pick for Kitchen Towels
Kitchen towels require something a little bit different from your bathroom towels. They’re more like hand towels in that they may get used many times per day, but they also can get mixed up with cooking meals and cleaning dishes as well.
Kitchen Towels (Target brand)
Cheaper option: Barmop Towels (Target brand)
Honestly, less than half our guests use the kitchen. Our kitchen towels have stayed cleaner and newer than our bath towels simply because most guests don’t use them.
This means the barmop towels will probably last about as long as a nicer hand towel will. We generally lay out one of the kitchen towels next to the kitchen sink and put some of the barmop towels in a kitchen drawer.
I’ve shared with you just about every high quality sheet and towel we’ve used in our Airbnbs. Hopefully our experiences will help you pick tough, stain resistant sheets and towels for your Airbnb. And we’d love to hear about your own experiences.