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
Dubrovnik-Neretva County, Croatia
Level 3

@Jena2 Salt + lemon juice, let it set for a day or two, then wash on 90 C, with pre-wash, also helps against some sunscreen stains. Love using salt and also put it in my dish washing liquid.

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

in
Church Creek, MD
Level 10

@Miho-And-Brina0   Just this year this has been my issue, I've replaced several sets of sheets.  What's really frustrating is there's always one side of the bed and one towel stained, something orange is doing it.  I did wash them several times, like you said using a bleach for colors and it did fade it pretty well.  I actually started using them again as l I now have a blanket at the foot of the bed, it's hiding that faded orange.  I'm thinking since they're clean and the guest can't see it, I'm safe for now.   A friend has a house around the corner and told me she seen somewhere, someone has a list of...PLEASE DO AND DO NOT in her place, it asks guests to PLEASE take a shower before bed as the sheets will be stained from sun screen, make up and such.  I'll be putting one in mine as well, I did take the make-up removing wipes out of the dresser in the bathroom, put those in a little basket on top, hoping that helps.  Altho, again like you, I'm sure it's the sunscreen that's doing it.

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

in
Orono, ME
Level 10

@Wende2 Bleach will cause orange discoloring on certain colored fabrics. I had a recent guest who constantly used spray cleaner on everything! - Anything that came into the apartment was sprayed, they probably sprayed themselves too. Well, it would get on their socks/feet since it was all over the floor and they would get into bed. The bottom of the grey duvet cover has horrible bleach blotches. A problem of the times I suppose.

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

in
Dubrovnik-Neretva County, Croatia
Level 3

@Emilia42 Sorry to learn about the irreparable stains on your duvet. I put a spray bottle of a natural universal cleaner in each unit and always tell the guests about it when I show them the place. In my natural cleaner I put lemon acid and lots of lavender essential oil into white vinegar. This is a great cleaner, I use it myself, too. I found the recipe in someone's blog on the internet, tried it and loved it. I absolutely recommend it to everyone. Hope this helps.

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

in
Church Creek, MD
Level 10

@Emilia42  Hi...yes I know bleach will discolor, it even makes a mess of white.  I use Clorox 2 for colors.  I was actually pleasantly surprised that it worked as well as it did, I figured I had already set the stain in when I washed the sheets.  For whatever reason this summer has been the worst for linens and towels being stained orange.  I read the article someone else shared here, it said the stain is a rust stain, due to a chemical used in the sunscreen, I'm going to look the cleaner they suggested.

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

in
Sayulita, Mexico
Level 10

Splash bleach all over it- then it will look like an intentional fabric pattern. @Emilia42

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

in
Dubrovnik-Neretva County, Croatia
Level 3

@Wende2 Oh yes, the orange stains were the trend here in the summer of 2019. I too think it's a sun screen. That year that was the hardest stain to get rid of and back then I still used conventional stain removers like bleach. I know it's hard to believe, but try to use natural remedies instead. I learned from experience that they are better at removing stains, are gentler to the fabrics and are healthier and environmentally friendly. For me, even on old stains it worked when I put some lemon juice and lots of salt, and let it to set in for a couple of days. Then washed on high temperature (90 C), with pre-wash, and the stain was gone. Or try with hydrogen peroxide: put some on the stain, then soak in a solution of washing soda in a hot water. Leave it for 2-3 days and then wash on a high temperature. I too think it's a good idea to raise awareness about how nasty sun screens are to the fabrics and what negative effect they have on the environment. With my husband we believe that many people would be more careful and we would have to deal with much less stains if people knew about those things. Still thinking that a natural sun screen as a welcome gift is a good idea for next summer, and am willing to try  this ;). 

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

in
Church Creek, MD
Level 10

@Miho-And-Brina0   Hi...Thanks for the tips, I do use a remover that's all natural, it works pretty good too, just not so much on this orange staining.  Plus I washed them not checking for any stains, hoping my mental note sticks in the front when spring rolls around.  I read the article and found it very interesting, saying it's a rust stain.  There is still a faint stain, I'll try your remedies and see if it's too late to clean it out.  Thanks again.

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

in
Alberta, Canada
Level 10

@Wende2 re orange staining, I think it's either self tanner or makeup residue. A soak in Oxi clean is my go to and it usually works very well. But if something is being super stubborn, I use Folex carpet spot remover. It's never failed. 

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

in
Church Creek, MD
Level 10

@Colleen253   Hi...I'll try that Thanks.  I'd like to ask if they had sunscreen on, the sheets are always stained at the bottom, I also think they see the pillow stain and turn the pillow over.  I never had to think to check first before washing so I only see it when I go to make the bed.  Thinking now it's odd the stain isn't pretty much all over if it's sunscreen..  Honestly I don't know how people can get in a fresh bed with that still on them.??

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

in
Dubrovnik-Neretva County, Croatia
Level 3

@Colleen253 I just made a note about the Folex. We don't know this product here in Croatia, but I may decide to order it from abroad if I get desperate ;). Thank you!

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

in
London, United Kingdom
Level 2

I do believe that notices to your guests about make-up and creams might have a dent on the problem.
Especially if you position it nicely thinking about their health also - as in not good for your skin to sleep with make-up on or without a proper shower etc.

I remember when the notices in hotels appeared for the first time. The most relevant one is about washing only what is on the floor - as a guest I automatically started being more aware. Now I specifically tell cleaning ladies to leave my towels and sheets even if they want to clean them because of hotel policy.

Kudos for the eco-friendly approach.

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

in
Dubrovnik-Neretva County, Croatia
Level 3

@Simona563 Wow, that's a wonderful example, thank you Simona! I was googling about it online, but couldn't find any example of hotel notices and had no idea that many hotels started putting them on for guests. Thank you for your feedback! Your comment is very encouraging and helps me better understand how guests feel about this kind of information being made available for them.

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