Mascara and make-up: the ultimate mystifiers

Everyone, listen up: the ‘eyes’ have it! If you’re surprised there’s a $35 laundry fee for 5 more guests for our rental, keep reading.

Could I have made a better choice than quality white bath and wash cloths? Maybe, however, dark towels fade, colors on store shelves change like the seasons, and I, personally, like the ‘spa’ feel of clean, white, fluffy towels and want my guests to have the same experience.

I never expected to spend an inordinate amount of time attempting to wash make-up stains out of high-quality white bath towels and wash cloths. Then there’s the occasional mascara stain rubbed onto a pillowcase or sheet.

What’s the impact on my cleaning schedule? Every towel or linen is scrutinized before it’s washed to identify stains, a possibility of multiple attempts to remove a stain, and a final inspection to see if the stain disappeared. Once a stained linen winds up in the dryer, there’s no turning back — the stain sets and won’t disappear no matter how many times it’s washed. That means I’m either inspecting every towel going into the wash machine and into the dryer, or I’m washing stained towels separately. Either way it’s a lot of time spent on laundry that should have been avoided.

Not wanting to stereotype any of my guests, the problems with stained linens seem to be inevitable with the larger number of guests for girls’ weekends. I’m usually not surprised to find at least one complete set of bath towels so stained, that yes, I could cry. Why: there’s liquid skin cleanser on the vanity, make-up remover wipes in the medicine cabinet, dark washcloths and towels — and yet, it’s still the white towels that get trashed.

Have to love ‘google’ for finding kindred spirits. This innkeeper expresses exactly how I feel:

Have I found the secret to removing these stains? I’ll have to let you know.

Photo courtesy of


No cleaning fee .. so far it hasn’t hurt me

When booking my own vacation rentals, I’m reluctant to reserve a property that charges a cleaning fee. If I’m expected to pay for cleaning, why not just include it in the rate?

A vacation rental in Edisto Beach last year was my first encounter with a negotiable cleaning fee. We did the ‘chores’ on the checkout list, locked the door, and drove away. The house was impeccable when we got there .. (except for one thing .. I’ll get to that in a minute) and that’s how we left it.

Couldn’t resist cleaning the dust off the ceiling fan and there was an odor near the kitchen sink that was driving me nuts. Finally figured it out! The rubber gasket on the sink strainer needed a thorough cleaning .. and I gave it one. This was the owner’s vacation home and they weren’t coming back soon, so I thought I’d help them out.

So far, not charging a cleaning fee has been a good decision for us. Our house has looked show quality to sell after guests have left. They have been absolutely amazing! Both of us (me and my husband) feel that charging a cleaning fee actually encourages guests to be well .. messy. Why feel obligated to leave the house tidy if someone else is getting paid to clean up anyway?