I'm fairly new to Airbnb and hosted my 3rd guests this weekend. Upon check out they messaged me and said they both have allergies and that most laundry detergent brands have a "sensitive or fragrance free option" as they were sensitive to the smell of freshly laundered linens. They left the apartment tidy, and I didn't hear a word from them until check out about the linens, and if they had told me about their allergies when they booked the apartment, I would have made sure the linens were washed in a fragrance free detergent. They haven't left a review yet, and I wrote them a good review, as they were good guests. But shouldn't they have infomed me ahead of time if they had such sensitivities? I've also contacted everyone currently booked and asked about allergies AND added to the house rules to let me know if they need the linens washed in frangrance free detergent.
Actually, hotel chains have started pumping “signature scents” into the vents of their hotels, so not easier. It started in the lobby, now they are dispersing to all rooms. It’s a violation of the ADA, but no one’s challenged it yet.
I'm not "allergic." I just don't like the fake smells promoted by the likes of Procter & Gamble. It ruins my stay. I like natural smells. High end hotels don't use these poisonous, irritating petrochemicals to hide the smell of mold and other crud. I ask hosts their opinion. If they don't think it's a big deal, I won't stay. A growing number of people go for the green, so new Air BnB amateurs should act like professionals.
I rent 2 rooms in my home, so even if I were to make one room "allergy free", there are other shared spaces like the bathroom, kitchen, etc. (as well as the other guest room) where it would be difficult for me to maintain an allergy-free house. Most guests, especially Americans, equate cleanliness with things smelling "Downy Fresh", and I'm not willing for the majority of my guests to question whether the sheets are clean or not in order to accomodate the few with these sensitivity issues. If someone contacted me in advance and if the requests were reasonable and I was able to accomodate them I would, but I have to cater to the vast majority who expect things to smell (as well as look) clean.
Thank you @David1345 and @Ali40 for your concern. I too have severe contact allergies... however, as far as letting the host know ahead of time - i usually don't, and will just make a private comment to them if the fragrances are too potent. To be frank, i feel embarrassed to bring it up and feel as if i am a burden to the host, especially since in addition to fragrances i have an allergy to several preservatives that are still used with hypoallergenic/ free/clear products. I pack my own sheets and pillow cases, dish soap and towels to prevent reactions, and always pack enough so i don't need to do laundry (although i pack my own detergent for hand washing in a sink if i stain something) Out of over 20 stays, i have only had a reaction once to an air freshener which required prednisone and benadryl. I have reacted at a couple hotels as well, so it isn't limited to airbnb homes.
Unless you advertise and offer a Hypo-allergenic stay (and premium price), I would do nothing.
Your home, your rules, your cleaning routine.
It is not in my interest to explain my cleaning routine/choice of cleaning products with guests.
My answer to mold/allergy requests is to say "I'm sorry I cannot guarantee your health in my home" I'm not a Doctor, biochemist or psychiatrist and have no need to expose myself to a lawsuit.
If they give timely notice (they cancel sooner than later) I will refund them.
That said, I don't have mold in my home. I don't use air fresheners and do keep air circulation in my house.
Keep it simple
As long as you are honest. Many folks say their homes would not be suitable. Your choice. When I travel, I look for an attitude of concern and service--and a little compassion.
I agree. If a guest has an allergy or a personal dislike of these products, they should inform the host in advance, ideally before they book.
I tend to buy laundry products for 'sensitive' skin because it's what I prefer and then there is less likelihood of it causing problems for guests, but that should not be a given. I am also always experimenting with more traditional and less chemical cleaning products.
I also think it's a bit presumptuous to state that a host that uses fragranced products has a dirty home and is trying to mask smells and mould. In the UK at least, fragranced laundry and cleaning products are standard (even a lot of the 'sensitive' and 'eco' ones) and you have to go out of your way to avoid them, i.e. you can't necessarily just pop down to the supermarket and find everything you need fragrance free.
Also, I often see US hosts refer to using Borax and have seen this suggested on US websites and blogs as a 'natural' laundry and cleaning product. Borax has been banned in the UK because it is highly toxic. I would NEVER use it in my home. You can, however, buy Borax substitues, which I haven't tried out yet.
I once had such an inquiry and knew it was not for me, despite there being quite a few high end, very high end, hotles not that far away, there did not seem any that went to the nth degree.
I agree with going neutral as far as possible, I have some experience behind the scenes in even high end establishments, may not be what some think.
Obviously high end hotels have the advantage of designed systems, air handling for example, that most ABB Hosts do not.
However good that their are such options out there.
I am allergic to almost all laundry soaps, fabric softeners and body washes and shampoos. I travel all the time and I always take my own sleep cocoon sheet and pillow case and toiletries. I never expect to be specially accommodated at an airbnb or a hotel. On that note my guests are treated to very hypoallergenic products...i have found the only brand I can use and have used for over 10 years now is Amway SA8...i order it online...and I use Norwex sheep's wool dryer balls instead of those nasty fabric sheets....all my laundry smells clean and comes out soft. It is more pricey but it works.
BnB hosts should use only unscented products. Scented products are mostly poisons like petro-chemicals, and other toxic substances. Most high-end hotels don't use them, while low-end places like Super-8, Motel6, Day's Inn, do-- including air freshener sprays to hide the fact that the rooms are never really cleaned. So what do you want your place to be?
I'm not allergic to scented products, I just find the smell of them really chemical and obnoxious. Especially those dryer sheets. I do wash floors, shower walls, etc. with normal cleaning products and wipe down door knobs, faucet handles and toilet seat between guests with anti-bacterial wipes, but the ones I use don't have any strong scent.
And, even though I live in the tropics where there can tend to be a lot of insects at certain times of the year, a thorough vacuuming (I mean every square inch and all the crevices and corners including the underneath of the bed frame), followed by a thorough washing and rinse with clean water, is preferable to me than spraying insecticide around. I wouldn't want to stay in a room which had just been sprayed with poison, and I assume my guests don't either.
As well, insecticides kill all the bugs, the lizards, etc. Most of which are absolutely harmless to humans and beneficial in the balance of nature.
In my experience hotels do not use scented laundry detergent. About 75% (or more) of the airbnbs I've stayed in do use scented detergent. I go to great lengths to contact hosts ahead of time to ask them if they use scented detergent. If I have a choice I will not stay at a place that uses scent. If for whatever reason my choice is limited I will ask them to wash the sheets in unscented detergent. But, of course, they still reek of cheap perfume for the reasons Robert describes. I almost always bring my own sheets and pillows for this reason. It is such a waste of my time and money. I wish airbnb had an "unscented stay" designation for hosts who actually provide an unscented environment...I would absolutely pay a premium for that.
I actually acquired a Chemical Sensitivity through exposure to harsh, scented laundry detergent, while staying at a pub in the UK (not air bnb, but a small, traditional hotel). While I have always disliked strongly scented detergents and air fresheners, I wouldn't have described myself as allergic or having a chemical sensitivity before this incident, about two and a half years ago. It has caused huge problems, because now I can't even tolerate friends coming to my house who have used normal washing powder, and if I get too close to the washing aisle at the supermarket I get sick. After exposure I can be sick for days afterwards. I would not have known to ask for a scent-free room because before that incident, I didn't realise I could become sensitiesd. If travelling in the UK, I take my own bedding, and ask hosts to remove their own bedding and any air fresheners from the room before my arrival, unless they use an eco brand - I always ask really politely and all of the hosts have responded sympathetically . But I feel limited when travelling further afield, and my dream would be to have any businesses open to the public to use non-scented products, and not to use chemical air fresheners. This would not only help people who already have allergies or sensitivities, but it would also prevent many people like me from developing these life-altering sensitivities in the first place. I would educate guests about non-scented detergents, and explain that many guests are allergic to scented products.
I had a guest who asked if I had non feather bedding due to allergies, this was prior to booking and I could accommodate her, anyone with allergies should ask questios of the host prior to booking or bring their own supplies - I have an allergy to a chemical preservative found in many products inclding so called sensitive so always take my own body wash, shampoo etc.
That "freshly laundered" smell you refer to is chemically engineered to smell that way and last forever. Even if you wash the sheets and towels in Fragrance Free detergent, the smell will not dissapate. That "fresh Smell" is actually really dirty petro-chemicals- same as what is used in fertilizer, gasoline, nicotine and yes-hairspray, febreze, scented candles, "yummy" smelling soaps, etc. People have a toxic (means poison)reaction to these products because the chemicals attack multiple bodily functions (not just alergies). The Fragrance industry is unregulated and on average 200-500 different chemicals are used in scented products that have not been tested, nor ever will be. This goes beyound allergic' to a toxic build up in our bodily systems and environment that can turn on us "scent lovers" at any time, and you too, can become intolerant just like that.Please Google "Health Hazards of Fragrance Chemicals"to become more conscious of what "fresh smelling" stuff exposes yourself, pets and guests to.