Fake tan may be popular among students craving a fashionable year-long glow, but regular users are costing landlords thousands of pounds in replacement mattresses.
The issue was first noticed about four years ago by Cardiff landlord John Winter.
“John didn’t have a clue what the strange orange marks were. They were roughly body-shaped and you could see the wrist, ankle and shoulder areas,” Joe Harris, an employee Winter's, told the BBC.
“There is a high percentage of females out of the 400 students we house and you could see the fake tanning products in nearly every room.”
Memory foam mattresses are now being used by John’s company as the covers can be easily washed or replaced, yet the colour still runs through and ruins many of them. Each new cover costs around £30, so making students aware of the now common problem has become important for landlords.
“We try to educate our students, which has been quite successful because three years ago we had 220 mattress covers ruined, but this year that’s dropped to 147,” explained Joe.
Yet beauticians insist that fake tan needn’t ruin mattresses, if precautions are taken to protect them. Advice on tanning expert Tan Believable’s website suggests that permanent staining can be avoided if you wait for the tan to process before showering, and then wear loose clothes to bed, while many beauticians insist that good self-tanning products will wash off sheets and mattresses.
A St Tropez spokesperson advised using fake tans without guide colours, as it's those that may mark clothing and beds. While some products may leave residues, she said, you should be able to clean it off 'to avoid permanent staining'.
Concerned that the problem is unlikely to wane before the ‘bronzed goddess’ obsession dies down, Joe added: “There are quite a few orange-coloured people walking around Cardiff. I went to one house and was met by a parade of ruined mattresses being carried down the stairs on the way to the skip.”