I decided to post my topic to the Airbnb community here after doing a few researches online, and could not find any helpful information. I hope that other hosts here who have experienced or are experiencing my issue, can share with our community some tips that can help us decrease waste.
In the past couple of years our sheets, pillow cases and towels have often been ruined by stains that are impossible to remove. In the past we have used chemical removers such as bleach. Now we are an eco friendly business, and we use natural stain removers which are far more efficient, but are still unable to remove many of the stains. We believe that the irreparable stains are caused by certain types of sun screens, because they come up only in the hot summer months, June, July and August.
It breaks my heart that each year we have to throw away beautiful, often new sheets and towels. Of course, we donate or reuse old ones as cleaning cloths, but that doesn't really help in resolving the issue, because contamination happens on such a massive scale!
I am thinking about starting to raise awareness among our guests and providing them with information about why usual sun screens are not the best option (environmental issues for the oceans, leaving stubborn stains on fabrics etc.), and will start including a natural sun screen in our welcome gift. I think if people knew more about this, they would be more careful about the way they use sun screens.
Have you been having the same problems with bedsheets and towels, and if yes, what is your approach to dealing with this? Does any statistics exist about how much is thrown away every year? How do hotels cope with that?
I will be grateful for any input, any suggestion that anybody may have for me. Thank you folks 🙂
@Miho-And-Brina0 I would buy a large bottle with an optimal SPF dispenser, which does not stain the bed linen and leave it in the bathroom. By the way, are there any? This is really a problem.😆
But another problem is that everyone prefers their favorite brand that suits them.
Unfortunately, in the hotel business it is impossible without strong detergents. Or you can offer your guest to buy a separate "disposable" bed linen, in Ikea the cheapest set costs 5 euros.
Thank you for your advise Anna! I think you might be right that it may help to reduce the irreparable stains by leaving an appropriate product in the apartment. Even if, as you wrote, we have no way to estimate how many people will take advantage of it. It helps too, if we can only reduce the per centage of damaged fabrics. We do use strong cleaners, tons of borax and crystal soda, lemon juice with salt that absorbs the creamy layer sunscreens leave on towels and sheets. And it all works well most of the time. It's just so frustrating to sometimes find sheets, all yellow (looks like people slept there a couple of days, wearing skin products that are so aggressive on fabrics 😞 ), and pillow cases, or on new fluffy towels, where someone wiped their fingertips leaving small yellow spots that can not be removed.
Back in the day, there was a limited range of sheets available to purchase, they were white & pure cotton.
Back in the day people used to wash by hand & linen came up immaculately clean.
Then along came the washing machine that people had to fill with buckets of water which was boiled from cold water.
Once again those white cotton sheets came up immaculately clean.
The challenge for us is, how do we encourage manufacturers to make quality linen out of natural fabrics instead of synthetic materials that tend to absorb stains that are also more challenging to remove?
Do you have "Sunlight" laundry bars in your country?
Or trusty baking soda, lemons and white vinegar?
Maybe you could try use some on your linen to see if that helps and air it in the Sunshine!!
Sometimes in life we need to go backwards to go forwards.
All the best
Central To All Home& Location, Remuera, Auckland, New Zealand
Where thankfully we still have the opportunity to live in locations where laundry can dry in the fresh clean air & sunshine, today is a perfect washing weather day!!
Dear Helen, I am on 100 % with you and completely agree that natural ways of handling fabrics, and also using natural fabrics is the best approach! Our linens and towels are all pure cotton. And I love white vinegar, it has so many applications and works so wonderfully as a cleaner and as a stain remover. Also, adding baking soda to the laundry detergent makes the fabrics so sparkling white! We too are lucky that we live on a calm location, a small less inhabited island, and are able to dry everything naturally, in the sunshine 🙂 I introduce our guests to the natural cleaners I prepare myself. They are based on vinegar and essential oils. We hopefully help people discover how much more efficient and healthier these cleaners are compared with the chemical based ones. The latter are overrated, over prised and unhealthy, and I hope more and more people will start realising this. This year we have gotten many positive feedbacks from guests, and many people asked me for the recipes for my natural cleaners that I am always happy to share. Evolution starts with little changes like those 😉 I do use lots of lemon juice, and salt, white vinegar and crystal soda to remove stains. Sometimes I have to be patient and try different approaches over the course of a few weeks and sometimes even months! I haven't seen the "Sunlight" laundry bars here in Croatia, but will research more online and see if I can even find and purchase them. So happy to meet a like minded host in this forum! Sunny greetings from Sipan island towards beautiful New Zealand, Brina
Thanks @Miho-And-Brina0 , it's lovely to meet some more Croatians.
As you probably know we have a long long standing relationship between Croatia & New Zealand dating back to the Gold mining & Kauri Gum digging days, good wholesome foods, cakes & biscuits amongst other things.
I know some very good cooks from Croatia!!
Which essential oils do you use in your home made products?
Sunlight soap bars have been around for donkeys years in New Zealand. They tend to sell them in a packet of 4 or 6.
They also make a dishwashing liquid that I also use for general cleaning as it's got lemon properties in it.
I'm not sure where they export it to.
The bottle of dishwashing liquid I've got says to make enquiries to Pental Ltd, Shepparton, Victoria, Australia yet it's made in New Zealand!!
Be mindful Victoria is still going through the motions with lockdowns but hopefully they will return to normal life as it's terribly sad what's happening there.
Shipping is also taking much longer to get products with some having been stuck in International waters unable to berth.
Hope that helps you @Miho-And-Brina0 and others who find this.
@Miho-And-Brina0 there's a lovely host in Sydney Australia, Louise??... my paraphrase of her house manual says something like "x,y,z all stain linens, so if you'll be using x,y,z during your visit please let me know and I will provide you with perfectly clean, but already stained linens. If you choose to use our unstained linens while products xyz are on your skin and we then have to move your linens over to the stained stock then there will be a charge of $whatever." Who knows if anyone will listen... but maybe
and Louise said it better, but I think you get the idea. I think the thing that bugged her the most was self-tanner, but would work in either application
@Kelly149 I love the idea! Thank you Kelly 🙂 I saw a few responses already where other hosts too suggest to communicate with guests about the issues of using some skin products, sunscreens or tanning pcreams, and to offer a solution at the same time. This is very encouraging and is partially what I was looking for when I posted our issue. It may not resolve completely the problem, but it may help reduce the percentage of irreparable fabrics, and I am willing to go for it 😉 Thank you so much!
I don't believe you will solve the problem by providing sun lotions or written information. The best is to buy white towels and bed linens, wash it at high temperatures, and fight the stains with the bleach (varekina) . People are using some acne-treatment-products which stains colored fabric so white is the best option.
Ikea has budget-friendly bed sets for 50 kn and you can find cheap sheets in jyisk for just 25 kn so even if they are ruined from time to time, it's not a disaster
@Branka-and-Silvia0 Yes white is the best choice, and the 'bright white' cycle on the washing machine with a healthy scoop of Oxi Clean/oxygen bleach does a great job on white towels and linens. Oxi is not harsh like bleach.
Also @Miho-And-Brina0 If you can get it where you are, Folex carpet stain remover is a very effective stain remover that works a treat on stubborn linen stains. 'Carpet stain remover' sounds harsh, but it's a very gentle fabric safe formula. I use it in desperate situations.
@Branka-and-Silvia0 I don't think that I will ever go back to using any bleach products again. I now know that the cons of using them are more than the pros. I did look for the IKEA offer for bed linens though, thank you for suggesting that. Have you bought the 50 kn sheets and if yes, are you happy with the fabrics? It says on the IKEA web site that the material is 100 % cotton. Is it a thinner one, or is it good quality? Would be great if you could share your experince. Thank you!
I'm afraid that not all of the suggestions here are going to be that helpful to @Miho-And-Brina0 , who specifically said they are trying to run an eco-friendly business. Hot cycles in the washing machine, most of the stain removing products on the market and having 'disposable' IKEA sheets are not eco-friendly solutions!
I'm afraid I don't have any suggestions of my own as, living in less than tropical London, sunscreen stains have never been an issue for me, but perhaps some of @Helen427 's ideas might work? White vinegar is great for cleaning glass and helps keep my shower cubicles sparkling and I use stuff like bicarb of soda, citric acid etc. for various cleaning jobs. Sometimes the old remedies are the best.
@Huma0 Same here, I tried myself and saw that old remedies work best. And white vinegar is so amazing, it cleans so well! Maybe something else, worth sharing here.., a few months ago I purchased a natural cleaning product, based on fruits acids, called Kleen Green. It's a trade mark of a small American company, but they have a production facility in England too. It works for everything. White vinegar is slightly stronger, and maybe better for the bathroom cleaning, but Kleen Green is definitely the best choice for glass like surfaces. It also helps against the parasites on your garden plants, and for maintaining the skin and the fur of a fluffy pet. I wash my persian cat with it, her fur is shiny and the occasional problem with skin parasites and skin irritations disappeared 😉