Massage table sheets protect the massage table from oils and
provide a sanitary surface for the client. Most massage therapists want
sheets that are easy to care for and comfortable for the client. You can
also choose sheets to create atmosphere; for example, sterile-looking
white sheets for medical massage or plush flannel sheets for a spa.
Buying massage sheets can be as simple as going to the local
department or discount store and buying a standard twin-size sheet set. A
twin fitted sheet fits a standard-size massage table, plus you get a
flat sheet for draping and a pillowcase to cover the face rest. You can
also buy specially made massage table sheet sets.
The advantages of 100% cotton sheets are that they feel soft
(especially cotton flannel) and release oil more easily than cotton-poly
blends. Their disadvantage is that they tend to wrinkle easily.
Cotton-poly blends generally wrinkle less and tend to be more
durable. Other, less common, fabric options to consider are bamboo and
hemp. Another option, though not environmentally friendly, is disposable massage sheets.
Caring for Massage Table Sheets
Here are some tips for caring for your massage sheets:
When you buy sheets, always wash them before use to remove any unwanted residue from the fabric.
more easily remove oils, wash sheets within 24 hours of use. If you
can’t wash within 24 hours, store the sheets in a black plastic bag,
tied shut, to keep out the air and light that causes oil to turn rancid.
Use water-dispersible massage oils and creams to make cleaning sheets easier.
Wash sheets in warm water and rinse them in cold water to both save
energy and help sheets last longer. Hot water and a hot dryer will set
in oil stains and create smelly sheets.
Bleaching is not necessary, unless you work in a hospital or similar
environment. Warm water and detergent kills most common germs and
bacteria. Bleach does not remove oil stains, shortens the life of
fabric, and is harmful to the environment.
Presoak heavily soiled massage linens before washing. You can use
commercially available degreasers, stain removers, borax, or baking
In consideration of clients with sensitivities, use unscented
detergent free of chemical additives. Also, avoid fabric
softener, which can cause allergic reactions. Instead, add 1/4 cup of
vinegar to the final rinse to eliminate odors, reduce lint, brighten
colors, and remove residual detergent.
If you have sheets with newly set-in oil stains, wash them using
automatic dishwasher detergent (not liquid dish soap, which will cause
too many suds). Dishwasher detergent is slightly abrasive and made to
dissolve grease. This technique works only for newly set stains and also
greatly reduces the usable life of sheets.
Tip: If you don’t want to deal with buying and washing massage table
sheets, you can use a linen service that supplies the sheets and
launders them. However, usually the only type of sheets available are a
white cotton/poly blend.