Allergy-Friendly Green Hotel Rooms
Guests prone to allergies and chemical sensitivities are more prevalent than you might think. It's easy to cater to this group of people with just a little awareness and planning. Awareness is the first step to fixing the problem. There are many allergies and sensitivities that may impact your guests, but they tend to be in either the airborne allergy or chemical sensitivity category. Here are some examples of what you may expose your guests to that you easily have control over, and suggestions of ways to avoid the problems.
Chemical sensitivities include reactions to cleaning products, perfumes or room deodorizers, laundry products, paint, new carpets and drapes.
- Change your cleaning chemicals to natural products (like Seventh Generation, Sun and Earth, Earth-Wise, Ecover, and EnviroRite), saving your employees and guests from harsh chemicals.
- Perfumes or room deodorizers are used in carpet powders, air sprays, plug-ins, and potpourri mixes. If you have to deodorize a room to make it smell fresh, first try sprinkling natural products like baking soda in the carpet to absorb odors, or running an ozonator in the room for 24 hours between guests. If that doesn't work, fix the problem, don't attempt to mask it.
- Laundry products, like cleaning products, can have harsh chemicals that impact guests and staff alike. Dryer sheets are the worst offenders, but fabric softeners, chlorine bleach, and laundry soaps have negative ramifications, too. Try baking soda in the wash or rinse cycle--or vinegar in the rinse cycle--for cleaner, softer laundry. And go light on the soap so it all gets removed in the rinse, saving you money, too.
- A newly renovated room's off-gassing, affects some guests more than others. You can use natural carpet and drapes that don't off-gas, as well as low VOC paints, to keep your rooms healthy and fresh.
Airborne allergies include smoke, dust and pollen, mold and mildew, dust mites, and animal dander.
- Smoke from cigarettes is one of the worst offenders, but cigars, pipes, and incense can also cause problems for guests. Once a room has been smoked in, it's hard to clean it sufficiently for sensitive guests.
- Dust and pollen are just environmental pollutants that can't be prevented, but they can be mitigated with the use of good air filters.
- Mold and mildew are bigger problems in humid areas Proper cleaning and maintenance go a long way to managing these allergens. Avoid harsh chemicals and rely on frequent washing and drying.
- Dust mites are an invisible problem; you can't see or smell them, but you know they are there. Encasing mattresses and pillows with proper covers, as well as frequently laundering mattress pads and pillow case covers helps control that problem.
- Animal dander is something to make guests aware of so that you don't cause serious problems for your guests. Even if your hotel doesn't allow pets, service animals are of course permitted. Consider having a block of animal-free rooms for those guests with animal allergies.
Working toward an allergy-free hotel will contribute to the health of your guests and staff.