Airbnb laundry service: How do I save on laundry & linen cleaning?

It’s a question we get all the time: How do I save on my Airbnb laundry service?

We worked with some of our most frequent Airbnb laundry service customers to find out how they save money on their laundry and linen cleaning.

  1. Quality, hotel-style, fast-drying, white bedding and towels are worth the investment.
  2. Have enough inventory to only send laundry to be cleaned once every couple of Airbnb turns.
  3. Keep extra Airbnb laundry & linens locked away from guests.
  4. Request bleach and stain treatment with every cleaning for preventative maintenance.
  5. Know the difference between a commercial Airbnb laundry service, a third-party provider, and a local dry cleaner.
  6. Charge guests for damaged linens and remove the damaged linens for circulation.

Quality, hotel-style, fast-drying, white bedding and towels are worth the investment.

Hotel-style doesn’t necessarily mean hotel-price. After all, you likely aren’t working with the volume purchasing power or budget of a hotel.

Realizing that you are not a hotel and can’t compete with hotels is important when considering which linens to purchase. Even though it may feel like it when you see your laundry piles growing on a daily basis.

Hotel-style means two things:

  1. Pure white in color – This makes stains easier to treat and remove than colored options that can’t be bleached. It will keep your laundry in circulation longer AND keep the cost of stain treatment down. For an Airbnb laundry service, stains on white sheets and towels are easier to remove than stains on colored sheets and towels. The exception to the rule are black makeup hand towels.
  2. Standardized in size – Keeping your inventory standardized will prevent you from purchasing replacements more frequently. If you have large towels for the master bath and smaller towels for the guest baths, when one is permanently damaged or lost, replacing it can be a headache. You’ll likely need to buy more than one – even if you only need one. Instead, consider standardizing your inventory to 4-6 items from room-to-room and stocking extra of these 4-6 items instead of 10-15.
  3. Doubling up on flat-sheets instead of fitted sheets – While it’s not for all Airbnb hosts, stocking double on flat sheets and using them as fitted sheets (tucked under the mattress) can give you a safety net for inventory management. Instead of rushing to order with your Airbnb laundry service for one fitted sheet, you’ll rest easy knowing you have a large inventory of flat sheets that can double as fitted sheets. Note – Fitted sheets are the most likely bed linen to be permanently damaged.

We have found that brushed microfiber bedding is a perfect bedding solution for hotel-style Airbnb laundry. The quick-drying, easily stain treated sheets are the perfect balance between cost-efficiency, cleaning-efficiency, and guest comfort.

Just like the sheets, there are many options for towels. Airbnb guests want to get dry but don’t necessarily want the thickest towel on the market. Remember – hotel-style? We recommend medium thickness towels in either cotton or microfiber. The thinner the towel, the cheaper it is to replace and the easier it is to both treat for stains and dry properly.

Have enough inventory to only send laundry to be cleaned once every couple of Airbnb turns.

Miscommunication happens when things get complicated. If you’re operating your Airbnb rental property with just enough linens for one turn, you’re complicating the cleaning process by putting a strict timeline on yourself, your house cleaners, and your Airbnb laundry service.

Having a small number of sets of laundry and linens will mean you are constantly sending your linens for cleaning. And, with most Airbnb laundry services, your cleaning costs will be more expensive at lower volumes. Buying enough linens to keep your Airbnb rental stocked with clean inventory for a couple of turns (usually at least a week or two) with the assumption that you will have high occupancy and turnover, will help you save money with your cleaning service, allow your house cleaners some flexibility on timing, and make sure your guests never show up to a bed without sheets on it.

Trying to stay ahead of guests and cleaners with a limited inventory can be incredibly stressful. And, having extra inventory on hand is an easy solution.

Keep extra Airbnb laundry & linens locked away from guests.

If you’re an experienced Airbnb host, you know that your guests will open every drawer, closet, and storage bin that you have.  And, if you haven’t experienced this yet, you will! This is especially true with guests staying more than one night.

If you have your extra inventory or safety stock (see above!) stored in an unlocked closet, the extra inventory WILL be used. This is most common with towels.

Lock them away in a place that only you and your house cleaning team have access to. YOU’RE NOT A HOTEL! Remember?

Request bleach and stain treatment with every cleaning for preventative maintenance.

We’ve found that Airbnb guests have a lower tolerance for stains than hotel guests. It’s backwards…but it’s also true. While staying at a hotel, guests understand that hundreds if not thousands of guests have used the linens before. And, this subconsciously lowers their standards of cleanliness. However, at an Airbnb property rental, their standards seem to subconsciously increase – operating under the illusion that it’s their own private, boutique rental.

If indeed your laundry is white – as this is what we recommend, keep it white by making sure your Airbnb laundry service knows to add bleach, whitener, or Vanish in every wash. Most Airbnb laundry services give you the option to add treatment preferences to your account. And, if they don’t, be sure to contact them before ordering to make sure you can get whitening agents added to keep your whites white!

With this, set your laundry service preferences with some consideration for allergies. We always recommend free & clear detergent (detergent without perfumes or dyes) to help protect your guests from having a reaction to your bedding.

Know the difference between a commercial Airbnb laundry service, a third-party provider, and a local dry cleaner.

Whatever you need – there’s an app for that. But, is that always a good thing?

While you might not care who is delivering your pizza, you should care who is doing your laundry. With the rise of middle-man apps that pair you with the closest, cheapest, (insert any other superlative here) service provider, you have no idea who is picking up, cleaning, and delivering your clothes. And, this likely changes order-to-order based on however the middle man app chooses to schedules your service.

These providers even opt to send orders to individuals to wash at their home instead of a professional company operating in a professional laundry facility.

Here is the rundown:

  1. You’ll want to find an Airbnb laundry service that ACTUALLY does your laundry:  It takes a simple Google search. You’ll find a couple of options of app-based middle man companies that shop your laundry out to the nearest provider. These almost always cost you twice as much as going directly to the source. When deciding on an Airbnb laundry service, be sure to research or ask who is actually doing your laundry.
  2. Dry Cleaners vs. Laundry Services: There is a difference. If you thought the third-party middle man apps were expensive, dry cleaners typically cost 3-4x the price of a true laundry service. Dry cleaners specialize in high volumes of small garments. While your Airbnb laundry service focuses on small volumes of bigger garments – sheets, towels, comforters, etc. And, for the most part, dry cleaning your linens is a good way to expedite the wear and tear on them. Check both the linen care tags and your dry cleaning receipts before using a dry cleaner.

Charge guests for damaged linens and remove the damaged linens for circulation.

Stains must be removed from circulation! But it doesn’t have to cost you anything.

By charging your Airbnb guest for damaged linens, you can keep from spending all of your profits on new linens. Or even worse – cycling the stained linens through as cleaned linens for continued use by your guests.

A good Airbnb laundry service will offer stain treatment AND stain management. Stain treatment is obvious but stain management isn’t always as clear. By asking your Airbnb laundry service to pack damaged or stained inventory separately from the rest of your clean linens, you’ll have 1) an easy time making sure they don’t re-enter circulation 2) you’ll have easy access to pictures of the damage to show the guests that are responsible for the damage, and 3) you’ll know exactly how many items need replacing for a restocking order.

And, if charging your guests seems like too much, be sure you at least leave yourself open to charging them by stating it in your Airbnb profile or rental welcome kit.

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