Make no mistake; working as a hotel housekeeper can not only be a thankless task, but it is also one that can be can be gruelling, intense and challenging in equal measure.
Data from the U.S. seems to support this, with the rate of injury and illness among hotel housekeepers having risen to 5.4 as recently as 2013. When you consider that the average across all industries during this time was just 3.5, there are clear issues that contribute towards a challenging profession.
Both hotelier and housekeepers can take proactive steps towards easing the challenges associated with this job role, while also maximising the cleanliness of individual rooms and keeping guests happy. Read on to find out more.
1. Open the Windows Before Cleaning
While housekeepers may find it tempting to begin cleaning as soon as they enter a room, it may be prudent to spend a few seconds opening the windows. This can instantly improve the air flow within the room, which may have become a little stale after a few days of occupation.
Opening the windows also benefits individual housekeepers and cleaners, who often work with chemicals in relatively compact spaces. More specifically, it provides excellent ventilation that creates a safer working environment, while alienating the smell of bleach and other caustic substances within the room.
On another note, opening windows also maximises the amount of natural light that engulfs the room, enabling housekeepers to see with greater clarity and attend to seemingly small details.
2. Clear Out the Clutter
As housekeepers themselves will be quick to confirm, hoteliers can simplify their role by creating a minimalist space that benefits from strategically placed bins. This contributes to an ergonomic layout that makes it easier for guests to seamlessly maintain a tidier space during their stay, which in turn eases the task of housekeeping and turning over rooms on a daily basis.
From a housekeeping perspective, the notion of clearing clutter is also key to simplifying their workload. By empting trash, removing linens and shifting any discarded rubbish prior to commencing cleaning, staff are eliminating the risk of leaving ring marks or having to clean around items as they move throughout the room.
This transforms rooms into blank canvases from the perspective of housekeepers, which in turn helps them to clean to a higher standard throughout.
3. Start From the Top and Work Your Way Down When Dusting
While housekeepers dream of a world without dust, this is unfortunately an impossibility. After all, dust includes everything from human and pet hair to soil particles, mildew spores and even dust mites, making it impossible to prevent debris from forming in high-traffic areas.
Fortunately, housekeepers can minimise the impact of dust by cleaning it correctly.
This involves cleaning from the top to the bottom, as dust has a tendency to fall and working upwards will constantly force you to retrace your steps and clean certain areas on several occasions. Such repetition places huge demands on your time and may compromise your attempts to work efficiently and to a high standard.
So, start by dusting bulbs before working your way downwards, taking care not to simply displace the debris and distribute it elsewhere throughout the room.
4. Work Towards a Strategic Plan
The last tip should be included as part of a strategic cleaning plan, and one that draws insight from both hoteliers and housekeepers alike. By adopting an organised and scientific approach to cleaning, you can adhere to an efficient and effective process that enables you to work smarter rather than harder.
In practical terms, it is important to create a plan that takes into account the layout of each room and the individual tasks required. Then you can create a simple, cleaning checklist that includes tasks in order of their logical priority, each of which can be ticked off as you move strategically throughout individual spaces.
This ensures that each job is been completed to the highest possible standard, while minimising the amount of time spent in single rooms.
5. Use Chemicals Carefully and Sparingly
While the use of chemicals may be important if housekeepers are to implement an hygienic clean, there are several rules that should be adhered to when using caustic substances.
Firstly, it is crucial that housekeepers follow the directions listed on the chemical label, as this guarantees their safe and effective use. It is also important to remember that each cleaning substance contains potentially harmful vapours, which can become particularly dangerous when they are mixed. This means that individual chemicals should never be mixed, as this can cause harmful reactions that should be avoided at all costs.
In terms of the latter, housekeepers should consider colour coding items when cleaning, whether this is applied to individual cleaning products or the rags used to wipe surfaces.
Hoteliers should also encourage their staff to use natural cleaning agents where possible, with white vinegar and lemon providing excellent examples. These can be used to clean table and bedside surfaces, reducing the need to utilise chemicals in the first place.
6. Pay Careful Attention to the Furniture
According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, aggressive cleaning in the most important step towards creating a pristine and allergen-free living space. It also suggests that cleaning your furniture (and more importantly the type of furniture that is purchased in the first place) plays a pivotal role in optimising the cleanliness of any private or communal space.
When it comes to cleaning, housekeepers must pay careful attention to any items of furniture that exist within hotel rooms. They should vacuum all sofas and upholstery, for example, using an attachment to remove dirt particles from hard to reach areas. This will help to keep the fabric clean and allergen-free, while maximising is longevity and reducing typical wear-and-tear.
This also offers exceptional benefits to hoteliers, who can invest in higher quality furnishings and materials such as leather without wasting their hard-earned money.
The Bottom Line: Why Attention to Detail is Key for Housekeepers
While these tips will help you to clean more strategically, they are also unified by the fact that they require a strong attention to detail. By adopting a scientific and logical approach to cleaning, and one that takes into account the layout and individual tasks associated with each room, they can achieve outstanding results within even restricted periods of time.