Last Updated: 10/29/2019
Your table presentation is one of the first things a client sees when they walk in the room. Clients want to see and feel nice, clean massage sheets. They keep the client warm and help set up a very important physical boundary during a massage.
Your linen choices, and care, say a lot about you as a professional.
Sheets need to be durable and withstand more than the typical amount of washing. Thin sheets will never give you positive reviews and pilling (little fuzz balls) will not create a comfortable feeling for the clients on your table.
Thread counts do not mean what they used to and can be deceiving. I have seen advertisements for “equivalent to 1200 thread count” and “Egyptian quality” sets.
Here are a few helpful tips to consider as you shop for the best sheets for your table:
Long fibers are best.
Long-fiber cottons, such as Pima, Supima and Egyptian, are stronger fabrics and less likely to pill. They are also the most expensive options and rarely available in massage sets.
Poly blends wrinkle the the least.
Cotton/polyester blends do not wrinkle as much as 100 percent cotton sheets, but poly-cotton blends are more likely to make your client feel warmer on your table.
Let’s talk about flannel.
Most clients love flannel sheets, especially in the winter. My colleagues in the southern states where air conditioning is a year-round thing, also will get their fair use of flannel sheets.
Flannel sheets have a tendency to pill, or ball up, because the are often made of cotton and synthetic fibers. Flannel sheets will not indicate a thread count, but may be classified by ounces or say if they are “brushed”. Brushed flannel is usually softer than non-brushed flannel.
Here are some flannel sets I recommend:
- If you need a basic set, try one of theses sets:
When stores start thinking spring, hit the flannel sheet isle to pick up deals on sets of flannel sheets.
What is microfiber?
Microfiber is made from polyester. It is very soft and tends to resist pilling, but does not breathe as well as cotton. This may be a problem for clients that run warm during a session.
Massage Sheets vs Twin Bed Sets; which is best?
Massage Sheet Sets
Massage sheets tend to fit a table a little snugger than a twin fitted and give a very professional appearance. This is good except if you use extra bolsters, or have a larger than normal massage table. If you have a bigger table or larger bolsters massage sheets sets may not fit your table.
Twin Sheet Sets
Twin sheets can be too big for your table and can give a sloppy appearance. If you want to secure a larger set of sheets or use a flat sheet on the bottom, I suggest Bed Bands.
Face Rest Accessories
Massage sheets typically also come with a fitted face cradle cover. If they do not, try these Flannel Face Rest Covers (10 Pack) or these.
I always use sherpa under all covers.
Towels and Blankets
I learned about using a bath sheet (not a bath towel, a bath sheet) as a blanket at one of my first spa courses. They add a nice weighted feeling for the client and are very easy to wash.
I recommend these – Bath Sheet Towels.
For blankets, I recommend the Gentility© Polar Fleece Massage Table Blanket. It comes in 10 different colors and is easy to launder.
Another option is a Simple Throw Blanket.
Cleaning Your Sheets
Sheets should be laundered within 24 hours of use with a perfume-free detergent. Never dry sheets that have an oily residue on them, as this increases the risk of fires.
If you use natural oils, or have issues with staining, try a new Laundry Soap, degreaser, Dawn or chalk to remove stains. Here is a review of my favorite massage oils, lotions and creams and which ones wash out the best for a massage, natural and wash easily out of sheets.
A note about prints:
Whether you like colors, solids, prints or bright white linens, keep your sheets clean. Some practitioners use solid colors or only white sheets so they can bleach the sheets to show their clients what a clean office they keep. Never use prints to hide stains.
Folding Massage Sheets
Here are a couple folding techniques for fitted sheets:
Storage and Transporting Massage Sheets
Always keep one basket or container for soiled sheets only. Take clean sheets back to the office in a clean container. For my Florida colleagues, some establishment inspectors will require clean sheets to be stored in a container with a lid or door.
Disposing of Old Massage Sheets
Depending on the number of washes, types of oils, types of detergent and quality of sheets, massage sheets usually run their course within a year of regular use. When you notice any strings, stains or thin spots, it is time to retire your sheets. Check out Pinterest “old bedsheets” and see some really cool ways to up-cycle your old sheets.
What sheets are the best in your opinion? Any tips for laundering? Let me know in the comments below!
A great place to drop off your old towels, sheets and blankets that are beyond salvaging, are animal shelters – they make great bedding and of course the residents don’t notice or mind the oil marks one bit!
Yes! However, call ahead before donating. I have heard some shelters do not care for these items.
How about how to fold FLANNEL massage table sheets? They are much thicker than the ones demonstrated.
Thank you. Good information.
Thank you for all the great tips!
We own a Physical Therapy practice & have a Physical Therapist & Massage Therapist on staff. We live in the cold north & our clients love when we use a heated mattress pad underneath the sheet. This year, we invested in one that had a bit more padding & cordless.
I have some questions that I hope you & others will weigh in on…
Adding salt to the washer for staining of sheets? I’m wondering if that affects the washing machine’s longevity?
Bleach? I use a more natural detergent but wondering about thoughts on adding a touch of bleach?
I appreciate the suggestions for sheets & massage creams & I am going to check with our MT, who’s specialty is deep tissue massage, to see if he has ever used creams. He is currently using a cheaper oil that stain the sheets terribly (make the sheets look pee stained & impossible to get out) 🙁
Suggestions for a nice looking, mold free, laundry hamper or something else that looks tasteful! I had purchased a beautiful, dark wicker hamper (spent too much $ on it) & then began to notice after some time, that the sheets had mold stains on them. We checked the bottom & it had started to develop mold. Yuck! Our MT uses warm towels & they were going in the hamper wet with the dirty sheets & created the perfect environment for that green stuff! So, may need to incorporate two different systems. Our office is small, so we are trying not to add a bunch of extra things to make it look cluttered. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!
Do you use the flannel sheet on the bottom & the cotton one on top? If anyone has any links they can post to the best flannel & cotton sheets that won’t break the bank, that would be great!
Blessings & Thanks so much!
First, a cordless heating pad? Tell me more.
I have never heard of using salts for sheets. I do not see how that would work. I use Dawn to get out stains and have very good success with that. Really, my massage products that do not stain or set in my sheets. Water-dispersable products are amazing. Sacred earth is my favorite. I think that will make a difference.
Bleach is good for stains, but not oily stains. Those need to come out first before bleach can work.
Hampers. Wet towels may need their own receptacle and I would suggest plastic that can be regularly cleaned. I know this can not solve all your problems, but his one has wheels, is plastic and not too horrible to look at -http://amzn.to/2fxYmle
And for the flannel cotton combo, I do it both ways. When I use a flannel on top, then it is cotton on the bottom – or vice versa.
This is great information on sheets, I am currently looking to buy more sheets for my practices and I love all the suggestions you have given!!! I will be thinking about all of this information!!
Thank you so much for your info! So helpful. I am planning on getting some of the flannel sheets that you Recomended, thank you for be links.
What sheets/brands do you use for the warmer months ? I am struggling finding or knowing what are good Egyptian sheets in twin size or massage bed size. Do you have any links for those sheets ?
I have been able to try many different types of sheets (and blankets) over the past 7 years I’ve been a therapist and here’s what works for me. Living in the north I like to change out my sheets with the weather. Flanal in the cold months and cotton in the warm. I feel this way I’m able to extend the life of my sheets. I’ve tried massage sheets and I don’t like them I find there to tight and restrict what able to do with my table (using a larger bolster, table extenders, or pregnancy pillows).
I have tried fleece sheets as well and thought my clients seemed to like them (especially on days when it’s -20) I didn’t care for them, they are stickier then Flanal. But hold up very nicely in the wash.
I personally do not like microfiber at all. I don’t like the feel they can be very slippery and it seems like they stain mush more quickly.
So what have I learned and work best for me? I love rich deep bold colors and cotton (Flanal is a little harder to find with the colors). Twin sheets that come in a set that way I can use the pillow case as a face rest cover if I want. That way everything matches and look beautiful. But I do like to get the packs of face rest covers… less fiddle farting.
All in all its what you like and what works for you. You’ll have time to figure it out. If you see something you like try it out. You’ll know pretty quickly if it will work for you or not.
I use twin sheets as well i use face ceadle covers though, just my preference. I use the pillow case that comes with the sheet set as a”holder” for the sheets in the basket everything is together and nothing gets lost!
I’m curious about how you can use the pillow case for the face rest cover.
I made a video for you with two quick ways you can use your pillowcases as face rest covers.
Very clever! I will definitely use my pillowcases to cover my face cradle. It’ll be more effective than the disposable ones that do not totally cover the cradle. Thank you for sharing this handy tip!
Just lay the case over the face cradle and tuck the edges around the inside of the cradle. I that used it like this quite often but I do have some clients remark it can be a little stifling at times. It might have more to do with the shape of the face cradle. But needless to say I have switched to true covers since those remarks.
I have an arm rest on my table below the headrest and use the pillow case as a cover over the arm rest. Easier to keep the arm rest sanitized. I use a table band around the legs of my table and tuck the pillow case between the band and the legs of the table to keep it in place. The band also gives a cleaner look to the bottom fitted twin sheet. If I use fitted table sheets I cut about 6 inches off the bottom (foot) end of the top sheet, re-hem the sheet then use the cut-off part to make an arm rest cover. The top sheet is then easier to maneuver when draping if it is not hanging over the end of the table. Actually, I cut all my top sheets down so they don’t drape over the end of the table but long enough to give about a 6 inch fold-over at the head end of the table.
After using flannel sheets for years I think I would like to try Fleece sheets. An LMT I trade with uses Fleece sheets and they seem much softer and easier to work with. Sometimes working with Flannel is like working with Velcro sheets. Hard to be graceful with draping when sheets stick together.
Thank you SO much for taking the time to explain your set up. I think that sounds like an excellent way to present a table and keep it clean.
I too have thought about fleece sheets. Are they available, or did she/he sew them?
Jefferson J. Jones
Hello. I am a beginner and just doing this for my wife. What are the essentials for using a massage table correctly including accessories like sheets, covers, etc.? Where will I get a family man, economy friendly deal but still give my lady a wonderful experience? Thank you for your help.
I have some links to some great product on here that I recommend. Here are my favorite creams and lotions – http://www.massage-therapy-blog.com/massageoil/. And for an economical table for home use, I recommend Earthlite Harmony DX Portable Massage Table Package (Burgundy)” target=”_blank”>this table.
The bare minimum is just a table with face cradle (it usually comes with one included), a bolster for under knees if face up or ankles if face down, and a set of twin-sized sheets. You can use a pillowcase for a face cradle cover by draping it over the face cradle and them pushing the middle out so there’s a space for her to breathe through.
Things you might *like*, however, include a fleece face cradle cover (goes under the pillowcase, and is softer to put one’s face against), a fleece table pad (goes under the sheets likewise), and a table warmer (sometimes this is combined with the fleece pad into one unit — it’s fleece that’s got warmers inside — and I think that’s best of all). You might also consider getting a few actual configured face cradle covers to use instead of the pillowcase; it looks better and is sometimes more comfortable.
Often, a bunch of things including the above, as well as items such as a rolling stool for the therapist to sit on during focused work on a specific area, massage oil, lotion or cream and a holster for carrying it, etc. are all sold together in packages. massagewarehouse.com sells a bunch of table packages which have modestly-priced massage tables that come with a lot of the basic items such as the ones I’ve mentioned.
Best wishes! I think it’s great that you’re doing this for your wife.
Can one use just plain bed sheets for a massage table or do you have to massage table sheets
Twin bed sheets work fine. They are a little bigger than massage table sheets, which I like. IF they are too big, you can use those clips to keep sheets tight on a bed under your massage table.
Is it considered suitably professional to use non-massage-table-sized fitted sheets in your practice, and use regular twin size instead? I’d much prefer to use the twins, partly because it gives me a hugely wider selection of colors, thread counts, etc., at lower prices, and partly because the extra room leaves me space to fit a warmer/fleece combination under it, add body pillows for sidelying positions, etc., without having to stuff things under a sheet that was sized with the intention of fitting closely over the table alone. But I’m afraid that if I use twins, they’ll sag in the wrong way, and the client’s first visual impression of my room won’t include a crisp, clean-looking table, and they won’t be pleased. I’m new — just graduating and setting up my practice, buying everything I need from scratch — and could really use advice; thanks!
I have used actually massage table sheets once. I thought they were way too snug for my table. I may have just had a bad brand though. I have always used twin sized sheets (12+ years). I have never thought they were too big either. I do like room for extra bolsters too.
If you feel the fitted size is too big, I talked to someone recently that uses those bed sheet clips under their table to make the sheet fit a little tighter. You might look into that. I need to remember to pick some up at the store to try too.
Best wishes on your new business!
Thank you so much for the advice! I’ll go with twin sheets and investigate the clips. 🙂
I,m just starting out also. In school we used only flat sheets. We tied the bottom sheet in knots, one on each corner. It,s a bit more work but it worked great as it makes it more adjustable for extra padding. I plan to use this method in my practice. We used polyester but I like the idea of one flannel and one polyester so they don,t stick as the client is turning. Good luck on your new adventure!
I use twin size sheets for my clients. Most massage table sheets (flat sheets) are not long enough to adequately cover all clients. To make them neat I pull the fitted sheet tightly around the end of the table near the head rest and let the excess fall to the foot of the table and smooth out any wrinkles with my hands. the top sheet will cover the excess sheeting at the foot of your table. I hope this helps.
When you wash your sheets add salt to the washer, helps get rid of all the oils! Works Great!!
Thanks for the suggestion, Alyssa!
I use vinegar instead of fabric softer in my washing machine. It helps break down the oils and then use fabric softer sheets in the tumble dryer!
I’m trying to decide what sheets to get! I’m a year out of school and my original “target” sheets are getting pretty stained at this point. When I go to other spas and studios, they always seem to have very impressive, wrinkle-free sheets. How do they do it? More importantly- how do I do that? I usually have a blanket on the table so it’s somewhat of a non-issue, but now that Summer’s here I want to make sure the sheets are nice enough and heavy enough that I can keep the table blanket-free for a few months and still have a good looking table!
As far as wrinkle-free sheets, I do not know. They may just use wrinkle-free sheets, which cost a little more. I heard a suggestion recently from someone who did not like their clients “getting tangled” as they turned over with flannel sheets. They use one flannel and one cotton sheet. I have tried that lately, and it does work well. I really do like a heavy-weight flannel for the warmth, added weight, and they seem to wrinkle less. I typically buy them at a department store because they are a little bigger than massage table sheets and my table has added padding, heating pads, and an additional vinyl cover. Hope this helps a little. Good luck! Let me know if you find something works well for you!
I’m a student massage therapist and I graduate in March. I purchase a fitted sheet for my table from Now Your Body Best in Toronto, Ontario. $12.00 each.
I find that they fit my 30 inch table great and are really well made. I have been using it for almost a year and it get washed 3 times a week and still looks great.
I do a lot of spots massage and I find that the sheet doesn’t move around when I need to move my 6 foot plus, 225 lb client.
Great post! Good tip about waiting for the clearance items after college starts, definitely an important thing to keep in mind. I prefer the white sheets myself.
Oh Nicole! I was not disappointed. I had read the reviews on massage sheets on several sites, and none were outstanding. You had a great deal on them, so I got them! I knew what I was maybe getting myself into and that I was going to write about them anyway. I loved getting to order my supplies from you. Great customer service and fast, reasonable shipping!
Thank you for the news about the other store. I am excited to hear about it and anyone who has read this blog knows my feelings on Sacred Earth Botanicals!
Good Luck in your return to your massage practice!
Ivy – sorry you didn’t care for your set of sheets. Over the years, I too, have bought sets from Massage Warehouse that I have been very unhappy with. I have also purchased sets from JCPenny Home Store when their flannels go on sale. I think the sheet sets that I carried, do somewhat hold up a little better in multiple washings, yet, for me, having a wider table, they are stretched to the max! I have bought the 10.99 ones at Massage Warehouse years ago, and they rip & tear after a couple months.
Who knows what the answer is. I guess we just have to face the fact that when we wash them so often, they will only last so long.
Thanks for the input & support for my store. I will be sending out an email in the next couple days of about a gal that is going to open a smaller store close to downtown Des Moines. Smaller & more limited hours to begin with, so hopefully she can get the great support I got. She is going to be carrying Sacred Earth too 🙂