When I first started hosting, my biggest variable cost was laundry. The cleaner would do all of the laundry on site, and it would take forever. Now it’s a different story.
In short, I did the following to reduce the laundry time and bills:
- Invested in fast-drying bedding and towels
- Bought enough sets so that they could all be done once a week
- Locked all of the cupboards where the laundry was kept
- Colour-coded all of the different sizes of sheets and duvets so they could be found quickly.
- Made sure I used “Vanish” with the laundry to keep everything sparkling white.
And hey-presto, my Laudry time and energy was cut in half!
Diving Deeper – What to do with your washing and why to do it!
But of course it wasn’t that simple and didn’t all happen overnight, and a lot of these ideas came from other people. Let me explain things in a bit more depth about what I was doing and why it worked. By the way, all of these points apply whether you do your own laundry or you outsource it.
1. Fast Drying Bedding is a major time saver.
When most people set up on Airbnb (and by Airbnb I include hotels.com, booking.com etc) they try and compete with hotels and buy expensive Egyptian Cotton Bedding and thick towels.
Understanding that you are not a hotel and can’t compete with hotels is hugely important to then understand how to deal with masses of laundry that you will most definitely have on a sometimes daily basis.
I discovered something called brushed microfiber bedding. This is brilliant. It literally dries in about 10 minutes. I was a bit hesitant at first thinking guests might think it was cheap, but no! I’ve had excellent feedback, and guests report how comfortable it feels. Massive win!
Most towels take a very long time to dry because they’re thick. Well, guess what, as with the microfibre bedding there are many options for towels. Guests want to get dry, they don’t necessarily want the thickest towel on the market. I recommend medium thickness towels in either cotton or microfibre. Medium thickness compared to very thick will cut the drying time in half.
2. How you wash is important. Do you follow a process?
If you do your own washing here are some useful pointers to get things going quickly:
- Check your washing first. If there is any sign of soiling buy the guest, this needs putting aside and washing on a hot wash with a stain remover or even taking to have the stain professionally removed.
- Once you have your washing organised, wash on a quick 30-degree wash. It does not need to be on for 2 hours.
- When considering adding perfumed detergents, consider people with allergies.
- Once the washing has finished, put it on an extra spin. This will mean it dries much quicker.
- Once your drying is ready, separate the different items. If you are putting sheets or duvet covers back on beds straight away, put them in the dryer first. If you have brushed microfiber, these will dry in 10-15 minutes.
- Taking items out of the dryer early and letting them air off with your hands will let the remaining moisture evaporate.
- The most expensive tumble dryers are not the most efficient. You can pay double the money for a heat-pump dryer than a condenser dryer and they (can be) no better.
3. If you outsource your Laundry remember this:
Remember there is a difference between a dry-cleaner and a launderette. (A launderette for the benefit of those not in the UK is a place you go where there are large DIY washing machines).
Launderettes do service washes very cheaply. This means you can drop off the washing and pick it up later. Ideal if you have enough sets.
Keep firmly in mind that Launderettes’ prices vary dramatically. We found a better one that charges half the price of the one we used initially.
The other benefit of a launderette “service wash” is that you reduce wear and tear on your own washing machine and dryer, and of course, reduce electricity bills.
4. Get Enough Sets of Bedding and Towels!
Having a small number of sets of bedding will mean you are constantly washing and drying. Buy enough to keep you going for a week on the assumption that you will have high occupancy and turnover. This then means you can either outsource or do one set of washing, rather than constantly be washing. For one thing, constant washing and drying is actually pretty soul-destroying!
5. Colour Coding – Your Magic Weapon!
This brings me on to my next point. It is essential that you colour code your washing: Meaning – double duvets have a blue ribbon sewn into them (for example), King Duvets have another colour. I can remember numerous occasions when we first started that I would spend an hour+ per change-over just looking for the right-sized bed linen.
Trust me this is a massive time saver. If you do one thing on this list, do this!
6. Lock it up! (Otherwise, it WILL be used!)
Guests will open every cupboard that you have. I promise. Especially guests staying more than one night. If you have 10 towels in an unlocked cupboard, they will all be used. Lock them away. Remember, you are not a hotel. Guests get a trade-off staying with you. You might not have a bar and restaurant, but for roughly the same price, they have a whole home.
Remember too, that whereas they won’t touch the bedding, they will touch the towels, and towels, of course, take the longest to dry!
7. Keep it White
If indeed your laundry is white (and this does generally look the nicest), keep it white! I add a scoop of Vanish in every wash I do, if we’re doing the washing, and remember to check for even the smallest stain (guests hate these).
The fact is that if it’s
8. What to do with stains
Here’s a checklist:
- They must go!
- I charge guests who leave make-up on towels (or at least I threaten to).
- Use vanish
- Hot-Wash Stains
- If expensive take to a professional cleaner for industrial stain removal
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