Much like the chicken and egg debate, hoteliers have been deliberating for years about
whether to use fitted sheets over the mattress pad, or to remain using a flat sheet with mitered corners. Here are the advantages/disadvantages of each.
Because of their elastic-banded corners, fitted sheets are typically about 20 percent more expensive to acquire and service. After extensive repeated washings, though, some fitted sheets lose their elasticity. Hence, their use life is often much shorter than a flat sheet. From a labor-cost perspective, their greatest advantage is that fitted sheets can be placed on a mattress more quickly and often without lifting the corner of the mattress. Processing. Fitted sheets are more difficult to handle in the laundry process. Though they can be pressed through a flat iron roller, fitted sheets can jam automated folding systems, thus requiring hand folding. They do not stack smoothly or evenly, making storage, transporting, and handling a challenge.
Flat sheets are multidimensional; they can be used as a base layer, top layer, or as a triple-sheeted coverlet over a blanket. Some hotels use queen-size flat sheets for both queen and double-sized beds. Fitted sheets lack such versatility.
Many guests prefer sleeping on a fitted sheet because they are less likely to wake after a fitful night’s sleep to discover that the flat sheet has pulled free from the mattress and box spring.