Hello Everyone,

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 🙂

57 Replies

Re: Irreparable sheets and towels, how to stop this trend

in
Flagstaff, AZ
Level 3

I tried Hydrogen peroxide and baking soda and it did not work. I also tried oxiclean, vinegar, and  then tried bleach as a last resort and my sheets still look dull and brownish/yellowish. It makes me so sad because I buy very nice 100% cotton sheets. I even soaked them prewash in baking soda. I am at a loss!!

Re: Irreparable sheets and towels, how to stop this trend

in
Sayulita, Mexico
Level 10

It's possible that the water in your area has a heavy mineral content, iron specifically, which could be causing this. There is something called "blueing" that you should be able to find in your laundry soap aisles, which is designed to counteract that yellowishness. It's essentially the same stuff older women used to put in their grey hair so it didn't have a yellowish tinge (hence the term "blue-rinsers", although my grandma was really adept at using it- her hair never looked bluish, just nice bright silver).

 

It might be worth a try, but be careful with it, following the instructions carefully- I hear it stains badly if spilled on anything undiluted.

 

@Jena2

Re: Irreparable sheets and towels, how to stop this trend

in
Dubrovnik-Neretva County, Croatia
Level 3

@Jena2 I just completed a few tests on different fabrics with washing soda (we call it crystal soda here) and hydrogen peroxide. I still have a very very light yellowish colour on some spots on one particular sheet, but it looks ok and can be used again. I too think that some blueing, as @Sarah977  writes below,  can do the job. Otherwise am very happy about the hydrogen peroxide, and will start using it regularly. It did help remove a lot of stubborn stains that have been causing trouble for quite a while. 

Re: Irreparable sheets and towels, how to stop this trend

in
Cachoeiro de Itapemirim, Brazil
Level 1

Muito produtiva e informativa as postagens relacionadas aos cuidados com o meio ambiente. Sou brasileira e até o momento utilizava produtos alvejantes para lavar as roupas de cama usadas, adorei a ideia da utilização do vinagre branco, sal e bicarbonato, pois além de menos poluentes são produtos mais baratos.

Re: Irreparable sheets and towels, how to stop this trend

in
South Korea
Level 10

@Miho-And-Brina0 

Not sure if the stains you see are what is explained in the link - I had something similar happen to a few of my favorite summer clothes. It's always best to know what the stains are before trying to treat them - if washed improperly the first time, you end up setting them into the fabric and they won't wash out whatever you try afterwards. 

 

https://www.esquire.com/style/advice/a47376/ask-a-clean-person-sunscreen-stains/

 

And I agree with the others that you could post a note in your listing description and send a reminder to guests during summer months that in case such and such stains are found on beddings the guest will be charged for replacements. If there is risk of stains you are happy to provide CLEAN but already stained sheets. 

Re: Irreparable sheets and towels, how to stop this trend

in
Dubrovnik-Neretva County, Croatia
Level 3

@Jessica-and-Henry0 Thank you for the link! I had no idea that avobenzone can cause such a mess on the fabrics, and have read more about how bad oxybenzone is, the effects of which seem to have been more extensively studied for now. It had crossed my mind that in some cases I may have used the wrong remedy that had made the stain even harder to remove. I use only natural things like lemon juice + salt, baking soda, borax and crystal soda, and white vinegar, hoping they won't destroy the fabrics as well. But then the challenge is that I will never know what chemicals caused the stains in the first place. Reading so many comments from other hosts here helped me understand that I am not in this alone and there are many creative ways for approaching the problem with irreparable fabrics. With my husband Miho we agreed we will do the following: a.) slightly raise the average price per night (we are introducing some other small improvements that are also taken into account here), b.) compose a note for our guests that will inform them about the damages that regular sun screens and tanning products cause incl. asking guests to remain aware when getting in contact with fabrics, personal clothes or sheets and towels, while wearing sun screen, and c.) will include in the note an advise to use sun protection products for children and babies or natural sun screens, and will leave in each apartment a natural sunscreen for guests to try, if they are interested. We will try this and see how it works out for us next season. Thank you dear fellow hosts for sharing your advises and your experience with us, and for helping me find an approach for how to deal with this problem! Wishing Everyone a nice weekend, Cheers, Brina

Re: Irreparable sheets and towels, how to stop this trend

in
Lloret de Mar, Spain
Level 10

 

.@Jessica-and-Henry0  Thank you so much for link, very useful information! 

Re: Irreparable sheets and towels, how to stop this trend

in
Jersey City, NJ
Level 10

@Miho-And-Brina0 I would avoid using the term 'stain' and say something more like, if you're using XX product that leaves a residue, we will provide you a clean and sanitized sheet set that has been used similarly in the past and you won't have to worry about discoloring the sheets as a result of Xx 

Re: Irreparable sheets and towels, how to stop this trend

in
Dubrovnik-Neretva County, Croatia
Level 3

@Mark116 Yes, "stain"  is kind of a negative, and carries a bit of an accusational nuance, doesn't it? 😉 Thanks Mark! 

Re: Irreparable sheets and towels, how to stop this trend

in
Los Angeles, CA
Level 10

For starters, use white sheets. To remove tough stains, saturate with OxyClean then soak in bleach for an hour.

Provide black makeup remover towels in the bathroom.

Re: Irreparable sheets and towels, how to stop this trend

in
Sayulita, Mexico
Level 10

What I don't understand is why anyone would go to bed with sunscreen smeared all over their skin. I live in a beach town and I'm quite sure many, if not most of my guests use sunscreen, but they shower when they get home from the beach and I've never found sunscreen stains on the bedding.

 

@Miho-And-Brina0

Re: Irreparable sheets and towels, how to stop this trend

in
Lloret de Mar, Spain
Level 10

@Sarah977  My region is a wine region) At 10 am in any cafe will be people with a glass of Rioja. Summer, relaxation, sangria, cava, with the sun and people using spf cream all day... Well, before the night probably no longer have the strength to remove the makeup. 😂

Re: Irreparable sheets and towels, how to stop this trend

in
Santa Cruz, CA
Level 2

Hello there. How often do yo all have to deal with period stains? Couldn't believe someone left this on new sheets. Best way to clean is with bleach, hydrogen peroxide, cold water? Ugh!

Re: Irreparable sheets and towels, how to stop this trend

in
Sayulita, Mexico
Level 10

I'm sure the guest didn't do it on purpose- it's a fact of life and part and parcel of hosting to deal with.

Soak in cold water for awhile, and then if the stain is still there, use hydrogen peroxide. Definitely don't wash in hot water-that will set the blood stain in so it never comes out. 

@Laura-Michelle--MIKA-0 

Re: Irreparable sheets and towels, how to stop this trend

in
Flagstaff, AZ
Level 3

Rinse thoroughly with cold water to get as much out as possible. I then saturate the area with salt and let it set for an hour or so. That always seems to get the blood out as long as it is fairly new and hasn't set long. I do not understand why guests leave it though...if they would simply rinse it immediately it would come out so easily!

Join the conversation