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April 2006

Our Members Speak Out

Main Street Inn, Highlands, NC

We asked: What are your best housekeeping tips for removing stains, scratches, nicks and tears?

Question for May: Becoming an innkeeper takes more than just buying an inn; it takes time and hard work. Tell us when you realized you were really an innkeeper.

Email your responses to If we publish your comments, we’ll thank you with a $25 credit in our Featured Properties Auction program!

Life lessons, nail polish: “One guest used to come about every three months. She spilled some fingernail polish on the fitted sheet while sitting in bed doing her nails. She did not tell me this, but she left the polish by the bed so I knew it was polish. It was red and looked liked blood, especially after I washed it. It made me very angry that she ruined the sheet and I could no longer use it. I put the sheet away, and when she called to make another reservation, I got the sheet out and put it on the bed where she was to stay. The afternoon she was to arrive, her husband called to say she became very ill and had to be taken to the hospital. In the meantime, another guest called, and I had the room available. Unfortunately, I forgot that I had the sheet on the bed with the polish stain that now looked like blood.

“Well, you can guess what happened. The guests asked for the sheet to be removed, and I was so embarrassed. How do you explain you were acting mean? I got what was coming to me, deserved every minute of it, and felt very ashamed. I often think of that situation and now know now that ruined linens come with the territory. We also had a good laugh, and the guest who asked me to remove the sheet and I became very good friends.

Fixing tears: When my sheets or pillowcases get a small hole or tear, I love to fix them with a loving hand. I keep very small, soft iron-on patches of a rose, heart, butterfly, or small flower. I press it over the small hole or tear and then take a needle and thread and sew around the edges to secure it. It makes for a great decoration, and guests don't know if it is a tear or a trademark.

Removing stains: “I used to hate Monday morning washes – stains and more stains to try to get out of my beautiful towels and sheets. I do not understand how some guests do not have any respect for pretty linens. I have stopped using pretty white washcloths; I now use pretty deep-colored ones. But the towels are another story. Some stains come out with old-fashioned lye soap. I keep a bar handy at the sink by my washing machine, along with a toothbrush to scrub with. Then I add a scoop of oxygen all-purpose stain remover to my wash along with my Tide. (I use Tide with no perfume added as so many guests are allergic to odors.) When I'm doing a load of whites, I add a very small amount of Clorox to help the towels stay white and kill any germs.” – Sunny and John Snyder, Nothin but Time Bed and Breakfast, Hico, Texas

“Our inn has a 50-seat restaurant, and we serve breakfast to the public (140 last Sunday) as well as to our guests. We use white tablecloths 100% of the time. As you might imagine, many things have been spilled on these tablecloths during the five years we’ve had them. They still look like new. Last week a parent (what were they thinking?!) and child marked one up with a marker of some sort; it came right out, much to my relief! The secret: when we remove a tablecloth, we spot treat it with Shout® It doesn't matter how long this stain remover sits on the dirty linens, they come out of the wash perfect and undamaged. We expect to be using the tablecloths for the next five years. No, I don't work for the company, and I don't own any stock, but it has been a great linen saver for us, both for table and bed linens.” – Jan Zehr, Main Street Inn, Highlands, NC

Odor eaters: “I have a solution for 'sneaky smokers.' Barely cover the bottom of three dinner plates with white vinegar; put them in the odiferous room. Close the door. Within 20 minutes, the odor should be gone.” – Amelia Core Jenkins, Amelia’s Place, Dallas, Texas

Good book: "I found a very practical book in a local book store some years ago and refer to it just about every day. Haley's Hints by Graham Haley and Rosemary Haley; the advice covers furniture care, laundry problems, mending, safety issues, simple do-it -yourself tips for plumbing problems, pet stains and whatever else might come up in a busy home. Even gardening tips and car care are covered." – Gisela Morchel, The Rhinelander B&B, Cutchogue NY

Thank-you gifts revisited: "We received a clock that the guest had made. He had woodburned our logo (which is a line drawing of our inn) on the plaque that held the clock. It is quite beautiful, and it was very unexpected because he was a very quiet guest who pretty much kept to himself the whole weekend." – Wes and Linda Matchett, Tuc' Me Inn B&B, Wolfeboro, NH

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