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June 22, 2010 3:03 PM   Subscribe

We are about to host our fourth set of house guests since May. I am once again stripping linens and getting the guest room ready, and I wondered... what should I be washing?

Currently on the bed, I have sheets, a light cotton blanket, and a cotton duvet cover (sans duvet for the summer). I've been washing everything between guests except for the pillows and mattress pad (and I even washed those after our guests who stayed for three weeks left). But is washing the duvet cover and blanket every time over kill? What about bath mats- not the towel kind, but the heavier rubber backed kind. It's not that big of a deal, but it ends up being at least three or four loads of laundry for every turnaround. And I will be having at least three more sets of guests in the upcoming months.

What are your expectations and/or practices regarding the guest bed? This is the first time I've had so many people coming and going, and I'm wondering what is most common practice. Does it change with regard to length of stay?
posted by kimdog to Home & Garden (16 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
 
I usually only change sheets and pillowcases.
posted by otherwordlyglow at 3:13 PM on June 22, 2010


I expect that the sheets, pillowcases, and towels are washed for each guest, so that's what I do. It never even occurred to me that one might wash the duvet cover, blankets, or rubber backed bathmat. The only reason I would wash those is if something got spilled on them.
posted by insectosaurus at 3:16 PM on June 22, 2010


When I'm sleeping in someone else's bed I like being secure in the knowledge that I'm not sleeping in someone else's skin cells and fart residue, or standing on their foot fungus. I always just tell myself that everything has been washed. The faint smell of bleach is always re-assuring to me in this regard. Accordingly when I have guests I wash it all.
posted by amethysts at 3:17 PM on June 22, 2010 [3 favorites]


I'd vacuum the bath mats or shake outside, make sure no hair is left. Otherwise after a short guest visit just do the sheet set and towels. After a long guest stay wasing the duvet and bath mats would be good!
posted by Swisstine at 3:18 PM on June 22, 2010


Okay, I've watched a lot of Dateline and always bring a can of Lysol with me to hotels. I am fairly certain each time we travel, I am killing Mr. JG a little bit. If not with my compulsions, at least with the cloud of Lysol aerosol I am subjecting him to. So... I just want to give you a frame of reference of my own personal insanity. Anyway... I am certainly sure your house is 3000% cleaner than a hotel. You're also kind of awesome for hosting so many people so often.

That being said, with the aforementioned Lysolapalooza I go through, I'd wash the duvet cover and bathmats every other visit (unless the visit was very long in which case, it sucks but wash them). The sheets and mattress pad and blanket should definitely be washed everytime. Its summertime too, and people get sweaty. As far as the pillows, grab a couple decent pillow covers. They go over the pillow, under the case. They come in a variety of materials depending on what you want to accomplish with them as far as allergens, sweat, etc. Much easier to wash every time, along with the sheets.
posted by jerseygirl at 3:22 PM on June 22, 2010


Ever since, thank God many, many years ago, I got crabs after my (crab free) boyfriend's (apparently crab infested) best buddy slept on our living room couch and used our bathroom, I have washed EVERYTHING. Do it for yourself, because I can tell you that I still shudder when I think back on that discovery.
posted by bearwife at 3:25 PM on June 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


I would definitely wash the sheets and pillow cases - the duvet cover should be fine unless you know the guests didn't use the top sheet. I certainly wouldn't wash the blankets every time someone used the bed. As for the shower mat - I'd just spray it with Lysol and say "done."
posted by The Light Fantastic at 3:43 PM on June 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


For me this totally depends on the kind of guest(s). If you're having one guest at a time, or friends, I'd say just the sheets and pillowcases and mattress cover every time, duvets and pillow covers if they're clearly soiled/every other time. If you're hosting couples, however...wash everything every time. Extra sweat and fluids...and who knows where that pillow was...yeah. Every time.
posted by phunniemee at 4:21 PM on June 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


Wash everything, every time. Anything else is just icky and gross.
posted by halogen at 4:41 PM on June 22, 2010 [4 favorites]


I wash everything the guests come into contact with. So, by those standards, I'd be washing the bathmats (if it's both cloth and rubber), the towels, the sheets, the blanket, the duvet covers. I might wash the mattress cover. I wash all that stuff at least twice weekly (the sheets every three days) just as a matter of course, but I have severe dust allergies so YMMV.

I absolutely love getting into a bed with crisp, clean sheets and I really, really appreciate those friends and family who know of my allergy and are incredibly accommodating; those people clean really well and wash everything for me.
posted by cooker girl at 4:41 PM on June 22, 2010


If I were your guest, I would be fine knowing that you washed the sheets and towels - the things I (and previous guests) have prolonged direct contact with.
posted by clever anonymous username at 4:56 PM on June 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


Thanks, everyone, for the input. I see there are many schools of thought on the matter. I ended up washing everything except for the mattress pad and pillows. My rule of thumb in the future will be to wash everything if a guest stays three nights or more. Less than that, I will just switch out the sheets and towels. Pillows and mattress pad will be done every other guest (unless my mom is coming, and then I will wash everything that can possible fit in a washing machine).
posted by kimdog at 6:21 PM on June 22, 2010


sheets, pillowcases, and towels, that's all i expect.


if you notice the blanket or comforter (duvet, whatever) is dirty or smelly, you should wash that.


i can't believe some of you are washing the bedspread between visitors. are you washing the dust ruffle too? what the hell do you think your friends are doing to your bed linens?
posted by misanthropicsarah at 6:42 PM on June 22, 2010


i can't believe some of you are washing the bedspread between visitors. are you washing the dust ruffle too? what the hell do you think your friends are doing to your bed linens?

The OP refers to the "duvet cover," which is basically a big sheet in an envelope form. Regardless, when I (and many, many others) am sleeping, I pull off all the covers and end up in a big tangle of bedding. Therefore, basic hospitality suggests that it's considerate to wash all the bedding that a guest is likely to have come into direct contact with. I would never think that my host hadn't washed the duvet cover (or comforter for that matter) as a matter of course. These responses are making me a bit nervous...

But if you want extra motivation for cleaning all the bedding, but just can't bring yourself to care about cleanliness for your guests, consider the bedbug epidemics that are currently raging. It will be safer for you to wash everything that you can in hot water.
posted by thegreatfleecircus at 9:31 PM on June 22, 2010


I wash sheets, pillowcases, duvet cover, towels. I also wash the bathmat because, being a light colour, it probably needs it.

I also buy, at the pound shop (dollar store) a supply of shower caps, cellulose sponges (sold in packs of 8 or 10), mesh shower scrunchies (ditto) and microfibre face cloths (often sold as dusters in packs of 4, but they're the same thing) which guests can use and either take with them or leave for me to throw away after their visit.
posted by essexjan at 5:09 AM on June 23, 2010


Oh and if all the washing is getting overwhelming, consider taking it down to the laundromat and let them wash it/fold it for you. It's not super-expensive and it will make your life easier. That way you're not skimping out but not killing yourself with extra work either.
posted by amethysts at 9:32 AM on June 23, 2010


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