20 tips for hotel housekeepers

Every hotel housekeeper has tricks and tips to make sure a room is as clean as possible. Here are 20 suggestions from experts about how cleaning teams can save time and money while doing their jobs.

  1. Rozalyn Early, assistant director of housekeeping at the Conrad New York Downtown, said the property’s housekeepers clean each room in a circular pattern, starting to the right of the door, going around the room and then going back out, so that they ensure everything is covered.
  2. Housekeepers should turn on all the lights and light anything electronic to make sure everything is working, Early said; that way if something is not working, the housekeepers can report it to engineering or a houseman, who can rectify it before they’re done cleaning.
  3. Roman Peysakhovich, CEO of cleaning company Onedesk, said housekeepers should check for any evidence of a previous guest [in the bathroom], including fingerprints, hair, mirror smudges, and even drip marks outside the trash can, etc.
  4. Talia Short, engineer manager at Forex Furniture, recommended cleaning a room in phases. “Allow time for cleaning agents to work, sweep or vacuum before mopping and use mattress protectors to lengthen the life of your mattress.”
  5. James Hall, head editor of review website Spotless Vacuum, said cleaners shouldn’t vacuum the floors first. Instead, they should begin by dusting all above-floor surfaces because this stirs up dust into the air that eventually falls onto the floors.
  6. Nazan Pamir, head of housekeeping at Ciragan Palace Kempinski in Istanbul, suggests vacuuming the bathroom floor before doing any wet cleaning to prevent hair from sticking to the surface. 
  7. “Ideally, there should then be a short gap before vacuuming to allow the dust to settle,” Hall said. “Many cleaners use this time to clean the bathroom. After vacuuming the floors, it’s a good idea to use the dusting brush attachment to quickly get rid of any dust that’s resettled on above-floor surfaces."
  8. Salvador Reynoso, executive housekeeper at the Homewood Suites by Hilton San Diego-Del Mar and Hilton Garden Inn San Diego-Del Mar, said the hotels' room attendants clean the bathroom first. "We spray the bathrooms down thoroughly, leaving the spray to sit so that it can properly disinfect and remove any staining. While the spray is sitting, we begin stripping the room of any linen and trash, working counterclockwise, finishing with the bathrooms.”
  9. Zac Houghton, CEO at price comparison and home improvement advice website Loftera, said dish soap disintegrates tough stains like grease and food and can also dissolve soap scum and dirty marks on the walls of a bathtub.
  10. Roberto Di Biase, a housekeeper with Bettoja Hotels, recommended using ammonia or trichlorethylene on some fabrics, particularly on sofas. “For routine cleaning, we use soap powder, which refreshes the fabrics and removes surface dirt. Occasionally we simply steam them.” 
  11. Houghton said bathrooms, kitchens and sitting areas are “complex” rooms to clean. “If we were to start from one of these rooms, we would prefer the one furthest from the exit. This is typically the bathroom in most rooms.”
  12. Reynoso said his hotels use a bleach alternative that not only disinfects but is free from harsh scents and is safe for room attendants to use daily.
  13. Alex Varela, GM of Dallas Maids of Frisco, recommends using a squirt of concentrated soap or shampoo and filling the bathtub with hot water. “Make sure you use a product that contains citric acid or any other known degreaser.” 
  14. Varela also recommends using microfiber cloths, applying the cleaning product on them and then using that to wipe surfaces down. 
  15. Steve Evans, owner of Memphis Maids, likes vinegar for cleaning bathtubs. “It’s about 2 cents per fluid ounce (buying in bulk) and it has great disinfecting and cleaning properties. We usually combine this with all-purpose cleaners for a full rundown.”
  16. Ronan Urea, executive housekeeper at the Pechanga Resort Casino in Temecula, Calif., said basic store products “work wonders” for cleaning. “We like to use Magic Erasers for hard-to-clean stains on counters,” he said. 
  17. Urea also likes Swiffer dusters, flat microfiber mops and lint rollers or brushes that can remove hair from the bathroom floor before cleaning and from linens before laundering. 
  18. Evans suggests cleaning from top to bottom. “This way, every particle of dust and dirt falls naturally to the floor and you don’t have to work twice.”
  19. The Garden City Hotel in Long Island, N.Y., uses Whiz robot vacuums as part of its housekeeping process. “We did not necessarily purchase Whiz to replace any of our staff members, but rather allow our staff to concentrate on other work that needs to get done,” said Managing Director J. Grady Colin.
  20. Housekeepers need to take caution when cleaning certain materials, like wood or natural stones like granite or marble. “For example, you shouldn’t clean granite with vinegar or any other acidic cleaning product,” Evans said.