As summer approaches, travellers are packing their bags and heading to sunny destinations. With the excitement of warm weather comes the necessity of using sunscreen to protect one’s skin. While sunscreen is essential for a safe and healthy vacation, it can also leave unsightly stains on towels and hotel linens. For hotels, these stains can lead to negative reviews, decreased customer satisfaction, and a tarnished reputation. Therefore, hotel managers must take measures to remove sunscreen stains and address them promptly when they occur. In this article, we will explore the impact of sunscreen stains on hotels and provide practical tips to ensure they don’t ruin your hotel’s reputation.
Stubborn Sunscreen Stains
Eliminating stains caused by sunscreen proves to be a challenging task. The primary culprit responsible for most of these issues is Avobenzone, also known as Butyl Methoxydibenzoylmethane. Avobenzone is a chemical UV blocker containing an oil-soluble component that effectively absorbs and breaks down the entire range of UVA rays. However, when Avobenzone interacts with minute traces of heavy metals and minerals typically present in water, it forms pigmented complexes. These complexes manifest as stubborn yellow and pink stains on linen, making their removal formidable.
Recently, there has been a notable increase in public awareness regarding the harmful consequences of sun exposure, leading to a greater emphasis on regular sunscreen application. As a result, the market has witnessed a surge in the availability and utilisation of sunscreen products with higher sun protection factors (SPF). However, these advanced formulations often incorporate elevated concentrations of sun-blocking agents such as Avobenzone, consequently exacerbating the issue of staining. Moreover, the presence of oilier creams and oils in these products adds a layer of complexity to the already challenging task of removing these persistent stains.
Expert Tips for Removing Sunscreen Stains
Hotels can adopt various measures to remove sunscreen stains and other challenging-to-remove stains often encountered during the holiday season. These actions include:
Optimal Laundry Procedures
Utilise the appropriate laundry products and adhere to recommended washing protocols. Hotels should guarantee the availability of suitable laundry supplies and employ them effectively by following the prescribed washing procedures. This entails adhering to the suggested pre and main-wash temperatures, adhering to the correct detergent dosage, incorporating bleaches and boosters as needed, maintaining pH control, and considering other important washing parameters.
Effective Pre-Spotting Techniques
To ensure that guest clothes, including shirts, blouses, and dresses, are thoroughly cleaned in the first wash, it is important to employ effective pre-spotting techniques for handling stubborn stains. Dedicated pre-spotting agents should be applied to address specific types of stains, such as outdoor soils like sunscreen and grass stains, as well as cosmetic stains. This precaution prevents these marks from becoming deeply embedded in the linen fabric and subsequently harder to eliminate.
Eliminating Persistent Sunscreen Stains
Employ specialised reclamation products and procedures where persistent stains remain on heavily soiled linen. However, hotels must recognise that these distinctive restoration washing processes generally entail significantly higher costs. Consequently, it is highly advised to adhere to the proper procedures initially to avoid unnecessary future remedies.
Promote Conscious Guest Participation
Inform guests about the ecological implications of linen usage, raising awareness of the environmental impact. Hotels should share their sustainability objectives regarding laundry practices and elucidate how guests can contribute to these efforts. For example, to promote the conservation of water, energy, and chemicals, the establishment may kindly request guests to employ designated makeup removal items to prevent staining towels or bed sheets. Additionally, the hotel can kindly ask guests to refrain from using towels for shoe polishing, as this frequently poses challenges during stain elimination.
Leveraging Social Proof to Drive Desired Behaviours
Ensure that you emphasise the percentage of guests actively participating in these practices, as it encourages other guests to adopt similar behaviours when they witness a larger number of people engaging in such actions. For instance, if you display a notice in the restroom stating, “90% of individuals are more inclined to remove their sunscreen before using the towels,” it will motivate others to do the same. Conversely, if you mention that “90% of people do not remove their sunscreen before using towels,” it will decrease the likelihood of individuals voluntarily removing their sunscreen and following the desired behaviour (this is known as the the Bandwagon effect). In conclusion, always frame the statistics in a manner that promotes the practices you wish to encourage.
Steps to Remove Sunscreen Stains
- Begin by soaking the garment in a mixture of water and oxygen bleach (GAMMA is recommended for white fabrics), designed to break down enzymes. Let the garment soak in this solution for approximately 20 minutes. If the stain is relatively light, apply a stain treatment like SUP’STAIN OIL and allow it to sit for about 5 minutes instead. For white linens and towels, you may directly apply bleach to the garment unless the clothing care instructions specifically prohibit using bleach.
- Wash the item using the highest temperature setting the fabric can tolerate.
- After the washing cycle is complete, inspect the garment to check if the stain has been successfully removed. If the stain is still visible, repeat the previous steps.
- It is important to avoid placing the garment in the dryer, as the heat from the dryer can cause the stain to set in further
To ensure guest satisfaction and minimise the impact of sunscreen stains, hotels must adopt a comprehensive set of guidelines and implement optimal laundry procedures. Upon arrival, guests expect clean and pristine towels and bedsheets, free from stubborn stains caused by sunscreen products and cosmetics. These unsightly blemishes not only hamper guest satisfaction but also lead to increased expenses for the hotel’s laundry operations, reduced productivity, and hindered progress towards environmental objectives. By enhancing their understanding of persistent sunscreen stains and taking advantage of effective pre-spotting techniques, specialised reclamation products, and conscious guest participation, hotels can protect their reputation, guarantee immaculate linens, and ensure a positive experience for every guest.