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


For organic stains, this is better than pure bleach …


Had a guest call me after checkout to thank me for having a great weekend with her girlfriends, and tell me about a spot of blood on the linen, which I realized wasn’t noticeable and would not have been pre-treated before heading to the laundry. Can you imagine how grateful I was that she called?

Using an old toothbrush and Dawn with bleach alternative, I dampened the stain with cold water and soap, scrubbed to build up suds, and swirled the brush in circles until the stain disappeared. Did the same steps for the mattress pad. Whaa la! Spotless linens!