Stains on your pretty white sheets, ugh. No one likes them. But, if you have an Airbnb, they will inevitably happen. This is probably one of the more dreaded chores in a short term rental that is only made worse when you don’t know how to treat and get rid of stains. But, the good news is, with a little preparation and experience you’ll become a stain removing wizard in no time.
It's true, white sheets have become the norm for Airbnb listings. While it may be tempting to get colored or patterned sheets to hide stains, guests expect white sheets. It gives a more hotel-like experience for guests and, honestly, they just look and feel cleaner. I mean, when is the last time you slept in a hotel bed that didn’t have white sheets? And, since the bed is the focal point of your rental, having fresh white linens on your bed will make your rental listing photos pop and attract more bookings. So, whether you want to or not, it’s time to jump on the white sheet bandwagon.
But won’t I have to constantly buy new white sheets because they all inevitably will get stained? A lot of Airbnb hosts worry that white sheets are a bad investment because guest stains will ruin them. And, we get it, we don’t want you to waste the money you earned from your rental buying new sheets all the time. What’s the point in having a rental then? You’re in it to make money, not to spend it all on sheets. We’re here to tell you it is possible to keep those white sheets clean, bright and stain free. Here’s how....
There is no one method or product that will remove every kind of stain. The golden rule, though, is to act as quickly as possible to remove the stain. The longer the stain sets, the harder it will be to remove it. So, the faster you treat the stain, the better your chances are for success. This may be difficult if you have guests staying for multiple nights and you don’t know about the stain until days after it happened. Don’t despair! You can still treat the stain. It just may take a few attempts and some extra time to remove it.
For stains, you have to treat each one individually based on what caused the stain. But it can be hard to identify the source of the stain when your guest is the only one who knows how it happened and what caused it. As you host more guests and clean more sheets, you will get better at identifying stains and treating them appropriately. In the meantime, start off by working slowly and carefully. Test a small portion of a stain in a hidden spot first before attacking the whole thing.
In general, for rentals, stains tend to fall into one of four categories; protein based (ie blood), food, makeup and mud. Here are some quick and dirty takeaways to keep in mind when treating stains:
- Do not press hard or rub stains. Blotting is the way to go to lift out stains and keep them from spreading.
- Use cool water, not warm or hot, on most stains as this will lighten some and remove others completely.
- You will often need to start with one stain removal treatment and then follow up with another treatment to completely get rid of the stain.
- After treating the stain, wash your sheets as you normally do but make sure to check the treated area before you put them in the dryer. Once you dry your sheets, any remaining stain will set permanently. So, if you still see some of the stain, repeat the removal treatment again or try a different treatment before placing them in the dryer.
- Despite what you previously thought, bleach is not a friend to your white sheets. It will turn white sheets a tinge yellow and, if left to soak too long, can actually eat through the fabric causing holes in your sheets.
- Surprisingly, dishwashing soap, like Dawn, is an effective treatment for many stains so make sure to have some on hand.
- It is also worth investing in an enzyme based cleaner, like Earth Friendly Stain & Odor Remover. The enzymes “eat” protein stains like grass and blood. We have found this to be a great go-to stain remover for rentals and is used by most hosts to keep their sheets sparkling white.
For more detailed stain treatment options, below is a snazzy chart from Martha Stewart that is invaluable. We suggest printing it out and posting it near your laundry machine so you always have it at the ready when you need it.
About 90% of the time, you will be able to remove most types of stains from your white sheets as long as you act quickly and use the right method for stain removal. As you treat more and more stains, you will get better at identifying the mysterious source of the stain and have a plan of attack to remove it. And, before long, you’ll wonder why you ever worried about offering white sheets to your guests. You’ll be all like, yeah, duh, of course we use white sheets on our rental beds.
For the other 10% of the time, some stains just won’t come out. This could be because you didn’t see the stain before you put it in the dryer. Once a stain goes through the dryer, this sets the stain and is almost impossible to remove. Or, maybe you used the wrong method of stain removal and nothing you try is getting that darn stain out. Your choice of stain removal may even have made the stain worse. Hey, it happens. We’ve all been there. This is when you need to replace those white sheets with new ones.
To prepare for this situation, we suggest having two backup sets of white sheets. This means you will need a total of three sets of white sheets for each bed in your rental. One set of sheets is on the bed, one set is clean and ready to be put on the bed for the next guests, and the last set is for emergency replacement. This way, you’ll always have what you need to provide a great looking bed for your guests to enjoy. Oh, and those permanently stained sheets? Don’t throw them out. Cut them up and use them as cleaning rags instead!