What does it take to keep hotel rooms clean?


Cleanliness is everything when it comes to choosing a place to stay, well for most travellers that is.

A busy hotel or guest house requires the highest levels of cleanliness across the board, from front of house right through to bedrooms and other areas.

We've all heard the horror stories about slacking hotels not changing sheets and possibly the dirtiest place in a hotel room being the remote control or throw pillows, since they don't always get the sprucing they deserve.

But what does it take to keep it all clean?

Sure your concierge needs to be knowledgeable and have a winning smile - but the role of the lowly housekeeper is extremely important - and possibly overlooked in the overall accommodation stay experience.

Keeping in mind that they often have to clean an entire floor in one day, as hygiene is high on the priority list of many establishment aiming to be someone’s home away from home, according to Emma Corder, Managing Director of Industroclean.

“Just a hint of grime or a stain on a surface, can be harmful to a hotel’s reputation. More importantly, hotel rooms that are not properly cleaned put guests at risk of contracting infections and viruses.

“Housekeepers have to be properly trained, not only to ensure clean and comfortable rooms and bathrooms for guests, but to remain committed to adhering to Safety Health Environment and Quality (SHEQ) guidelines set out by their employer, to avoid injuries, illnesses and fatalities.” she adds.

READ: Eeew! 7 of the dirtiest places in an aircraft revealed

Caring for long-wearing items 

Hotels have to pay special attention to long-wearing items in hotels rooms, like beds, upholstery, carpets and curtains, as they also carry bacteria and dust mites.

While bed covers are helpful to protect mattresses, it's good to know housekeeping is expected to also vacuum and sanitize them regularly with an anti-bacterial spray. What about those heavy drapes that wonderfully block out any light and allow for a solid, jet-lag free sleep. These need to be scheduled for dry-cleaning at least once a quarter as well as carpets needing to be deep cleaned periodically.  

Housekeeping trolley essentials

If you've arranged a late or early check-in then you've undoubtedly come across those heavy-duty trollies stacked in the hallways. 

Housekeeping have to make sure that trolleys are well-stocked to manage time effectively. The trolleys are also helpful for transporting equipment such as a small vacuum cleaner and other cleaning items. 

Most housekeeping guides maintain that a well-stocked trolley has everything from "colour coded buckets and cloths to prevent any cross contamination between bathrooms, toilets and bedrooms, and products that will leave the room with a neutral smell". 

“The ideal trolley should consist of gloves for protection, sanitiser, cleaning spray, toilet detergents, a toilet brush, window and mirror cleaner, surface cleaner and cloths and bin bags,” Corder says.

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Regulatory guidelines keep you clean and safe

Corder says the Occupational Health and Safety Act, Act 85 of 1993, requires employers to provide and maintain a safe work environment where employees are able to carry out their duties, without risking their health.

Because let's face it, keeping hotel rooms clean and sanitised takes more than just soap and water.

The Department of Labour’s health and safety guide for the hospitality industry, cites chemicals as potentially harmful. The list of risky chemicals includes certain washing-up liquids, dishwasher detergents, drain-cleaning products, disinfectants, toilet cleaners, bleach and sanitizers. 

Hotels are advised to have clear guides for housekeeping staff on correct usage of chemicals, for example how to properly dilute them, when to wear protective masks and should be reminded to wash hands regularly, especially after contact with detergents, since many of the tools and chemicals used can be hazardous.   

So keep all this in mind as you enjoy your germ-free stay or the next time there is a knock at your hotel room door and you hear, "Housekeeping?".

READ: This is the most common item left behind in hotel rooms

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