Easy Laundry Tips for Overnight Guests

Detergent and washing powder by laundry basket
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Love 'em or hate 'em, overnight guests, even if they are family, mean extra laundry. Of course, most of the guests arrive during the holidays when there are so many other things going on in addition to routine household chores.

But, there are ways to ease the laundry loads of extra people (and maybe their pets) in the house. By planning ahead, you won't get left holding the stuffed laundry bag when the visit is over.

And, to the guests:

While a hostess gift of chocolates, flowers or wine is lovely, being a considerate guest is always the right choice. Talk to your host or hostess and ask what you can do to help during your stay. Then, do it!

  • 01 of 07

    Plan Laundry Needs Before Guests Arrive

    Plan Laundry for Overnight Guests
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    Most of the time we know when guests will be arriving. Do your best to plan ahead and get bed linens ready. Make sure that all the sheets are changed and that blankets, pillows and bed coverings are as clean as possible. If the sheets aren't really clean, there will be unpleasant odors and stains for your guests.

    Check your inventory and if you don't have enough bed linens for everyone, call family and ask them to bring their own linen. Be sure to give them bed sizes so they will bring the correct sized sheets.

    If you live near a lake or the ocean or have a pool, encourage your guests to bring their own beach towels.

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  • 02 of 07

    Laundry and Visiting Pets

    How to Handle the Laundry of Your Guests' Pet
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    If your home is not already pet friendly, there are some things you should consider to make your home safe for the visiting animal and to protect your bedding and furniture from stains when they arrive.

    Before the animal arrives, be sure all laundry supplies are safely stored away. Laundry chemicals and dryer sheets are harmful to pets. When a strange pet is around, always check laundry appliances before using them to be sure it has not crawled inside.

    Use an old bed sheet to cover comforters, especially those that are labeled as dry clean only, and upholstery. The sheet can be easily tossed in the washer.  

    Hopefully you and the pet owner have had an honest, open discussion before the visit on sleeping arrangements and the clean up of inevitable accidents, shedding, and messes. Be prepared for the unexpected!

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  • 03 of 07

    Ask Guests for Help

    Ask Overnight Guests to Help with Laundry
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    If your overnight guests are family or really good friends, ask them to help you make beds when they arrive and change sheets at the end of their visit. Most will be very happy to help. This is particularly important if you are having back-to-back guests.

    Stack correctly-sized extra sheets and blankets in each guest room closet so they can make the changes themselves. This is a simple task that they can do even if you don't want to ask them to wash a load of sheets.

    One more thing off your to-do list.

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  • 04 of 07

    Assign Each Guest a Towel Color

    Assign Different Colored Towels to Each Guest
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    You've provided each guests with a set or two of clean towels. These can be placed in bathrooms or on the guest's bed. To reduce the number of towels that must be washed during the visit, assign each guest a specific color of towels.

    That way, there can be no mix-ups and the towels can be used more than once. If you do not have enough towel rods in the bathroom to hold damp towels and bathmats, set up a collapsible drying rack in the guest room.

    It's also a good idea to have a laundry hamper or basket for guests to use in the bathroom or each bedroom. They can place their soiled laundry in the basket and bring it to the laundry room when they leave. Even if you do the washing, it's one less step that you'll have to do after the visit.

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  • 05 of 07

    Use Table Linens More Than Once

    Reuse Table Linens During Guest Visits
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    The easiest way to avoid having to wash extra table linens is to use paper products. But, if that just doesn't suit your style, assign each guest a specific napkin ring. That way, cloth napkins can be used for more than one meal.

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  • 06 of 07

    Prep Your Laundry Room

    Prepare Laundry Room for Overnight Guests
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    If guests are staying more than a day or so, they may need some clean clothes and need to do laundry so your laundry room should be ready. Do a quick checklist.

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  • 07 of 07

    Laundry Time Can Be Family Time

    Enlist Kids to Help Guests
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    If grandchildren are visiting, it's the perfect time to teach them to do laundry. Most grandparents have a bit more patience (and, perhaps, experience with laundry) than parents when teaching a pre-teen or teenager how to do laundry.

    Sharing activities makes a family closer and gets a few chores done as well!