Picture courtesy of holiday-rehoboth.com
Our two recent stays in a self contained apartment motel really opened my eyes to the issues of fragrance / deodoriser, asthma and toxic chemical cleaners. The apartment motel deodorised the hallway carpets every second morning by pouring on a thick powder (that stank) and then slowly vacuumed it up. They also used deodoriser when servicing the rooms.
Both Little B and I suffered nose bleeds the whole time we stayed. And the smell was overwhelming even to the friends who visited us.
So what to do if you have asthma / allergies / or just are chemically sensitive? Create a mini detox kit of course!!
* First and foremost, try and call the hotel / motel etc beforehand and ask them if its possible not to clean your room with chemicals (always worth a try if you ask me) and tell them that you prefer no fragrances or deodorisers to be used in the room.
* Take along a vinegar / water spray or buy some vinegar when you reach your destination. This can be used on carpets or surfaces as a) a cleaner and b) a deodoriser
* Again take along or buy some bicarb soda. This can be sprinkled onto the carpet with no ill effect (and is easily vacuumed up again by housekeeping). It is a great deodoriser.
* We refused housekeeping daily and instead requested it every 2nd day and then only to empty the bins and vacuum the floor without deodoriser.
* We also took along some brown paper bags with coffee granules in them. An old boss recommended this me as a way of removing scent from cars and it works really well in a confined hotel environment. We used these in the bedroom.
* Lastly open windows and doors when you can to get fresh air in (unless fresh air sets off your allergies / sensitivities)
For our last stay, I sprinkled bicarb on the carpet and brushed lightly with a small broom, had a cup of vinegar in each room and used the coffee. We also requested a room with an opening window and left it open when we were there. Both Little B and I had a much better experience this time around - zero nose bleeds, little asthma and the smell did not knock our friends out when they visited.
I'm impressed that in the US some hotels have a certain number of rooms set aside as allergy free rooms, that have air filters, are cleaned with fragrance free non toxic cleaners and dont use any air fresheners / deoderisers. I think this is a much more green and sustainable option for staying away from home and I can only hope that more hotels / motels in Australia follow suit.