Do Fitted Sheets Go First? [What You Need To Know About Bed Linens!]

Many young people living away from home or on their own for the first time in their life are finally getting around to washing their bedding.  For some of them, this is a new experience. Everything seemed simple when mom did it. When it's time for them to put their sheets back on the bed, they may find themselves wondering; do fitted sheets go first? We have that answer and others about how to handle your bedding now that you are adulting. 
The fitted sheet always goes on the bed first. This sheet serves as the base for your bedding. If you get confused about which sheet is which, remember that the fitted sheets have elastic sewn in to make them 'fit' around the corners of the mattress.   

Now that you understand the bedding order, keep reading for more information on why we have fitted sheets and whether or not a flat sheet can do in a pinch. We also have some tips on the best way to put a fitted sheet on your bed when you don't have help, why we have different types of sheets, and whether they are interchangeable. 

Putting the bedding cover on the bed, Do Fitted Sheets Go First? [What You Need To Know About Bed Linens!]

Why Does a fitted sheet go on first?

A fitted sheet is a base for your bedding. While you can skip this step, it would mean sleeping on a bare mattress. Think about that for a minute.

How long do we keep our mattresses? Was the mattress you slept on last night purchased for you, or did you get it from a friend or inherit it from a family member? If you just moved into a dorm or a furnished apartment, do you think you want to sleep on that bare mattress? A fitted sheet protects you from other people's germs, something everyone is thinking more about these days.

Because of how fitted sheets are made, they stay put. This way, you don't go to sleep laying on a sheet and wake up on a bare mattress. A fitted sheet has elastic sewn into the four corners to allow it to grab the corners better and stay attached to your mattress.

The elastic is sewn on in such a way that it creates deep pockets to grab and hold your mattress. This keeps the bottom or fitted sheet in place, no matter how much you move in your sleep. 

Click here to see this sheet set on Amazon.

How does a fitted sheet go on a bed?

A fitted sheet is pulled taut and fitted around each corner to grip all four corners of the mattress for a good fit. Since some of the newer mattresses are slightly taller than the standard ones in the past, you can now purchase fitted sheets with a 'deeper' corner pocket. These deeper pocket sheets allow for a better grip on a taller mattress. 

If you have a taller mattress, it is essential to buy the correct sheets. Otherwise, they may pull off during the night. 

Man doing laundry

How do you put a fitted sheet on a bed by yourself?

It is easier to make a bed when you have another person to help you. Fitted sheets can sometimes be unruly. However, it is possible to put a fitted sheet on yourself if there isn't anyone around to help.

Match the Ends

The first step is to match the ends of the sheet when you pull it out of the laundry. Shaking the sheet out in front of you,  match the short ends together. This will also help you layout the sheet on the bed correctly.

Young woman making bed and organizing room

Give Yourself Space to Maneuver

If you've never put a fitted sheet on a mattress by yourself before, the best piece of advice is to move slowly. If you move too quickly or pull too hard, you can undo your work halfway through and have to start all over.  Choose the end of the bed with more open space around it, so you have room to maneuver.

Tuck In Tightly

This ease of movement gives you the ability to make sure that both sides of the first end of your fitted sheet are very tightly tucked in.  Make sure you pull the corner of the sheet down over the edge of the mattress and pull it taut. Then repeat the actions on the opposite side. 

Female hand pulling white sheets

Smooth As You Go

Once you have both corners pulled over, now is the time to stretch the sheet out and pull the sheet slowly up towards the head of the bed, smoothing as you go. It is crucial to complete this at a steady pace because any sharp jerks might pull one of the corners off, and you will have to begin the whole process again. 

As you reach the top of the mattress, gently pull the corner of the fitted sheet over one corner of the mattress and then over the other one.

Can I use a flat sheet as a fitted sheet?

Since fitted sheets exist, you might think that you have to use them. This is not the case at all. You've probably slept on a flat sheet that was masquerading as a fitted sheet many times and just never even knew it.

It might surprise you to learn that hotels use only flat sheets rather than both fitted and flat. More people don't ditch fitted sheets altogether because most sets of sheets include them. Because they buy in bulk, hotels have found a loophole to this. 

Maid doing the bed wearing a facemask while working at a hotel

While there are many reasons hotels use only flat sheets, the main one is probably economics. It takes more time to put a fitted sheet on, and a housekeeper would likely need help. Having to have two people to replace the bedding in every hotel room isn't cost-effective.

Also, a fitted sheet is more likely to tear when being removed quickly. Add in that a fitted sheet is harder to fold neatly so and would require more storage space. Finally, by using only flat sheets and only white, hotels ensure that they will always have the sheets they need on hand. 


What is the point of a flat sheet?

As mentioned above, you can use a flat sheet for the bottom sheet, but primarily it is used as a top sheet. The flat sheet sits between the bottom sheet and the blanket, comforter, or bedspread. This provides comfort if your bedspread or blanket is made of a less comfortable material.

This sheet also keeps blankets, comforters, and bedspreads cleaner. Since these items are so much larger and more challenging to clean, this practice saves both your time and wear and tear on your comforter and washing machine. 

Comforters, like the one above, are also much larger, and you might need to have it cleaned if it doesn't fit into your washing machine.

How do I make my fitted sheet tighter?

Now that you're an expert on the different types of bedding, here is one last piece of advice for your sleeping comfort. Over time, as your sheets are washed, the elastic may stretch and cause the sheets to loosen up on your bed. 

To avoid this problem, you can use the sheet tighteners shown above. These hold your fitted sheet onto the mattress, plus they are adjustable so you to can pull them tighter or loosen them to accommodate an especially deep mattress.

You can find these on Amazon by clicking here

In Closing

Now that you have sorted out all the issues with your bedding, you might now be looking around at the rest of your bedroom and find it lacking. Check out some other great articles at for ways to improve your bedroom:

11 Great Bedroom Nightstand Ideas

Where Do You Put Nightstands?

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