Elevate Your Customer Experience with Us        Call/ WhatsApp: +27 82 765 9238      Email: training@hospitalitycourses.co.za

How Housekeeping Staff Should Use Cleaning Chemicals in Hotels: A Comprehensive Guide

hotel housekeeping staff holding a spray bottle and cloth

In the bustling world of hospitality, maintaining the highest standards of cleanliness is paramount. Hotels, being the temporary abode for travelers, must ensure an environment that is not only welcoming but also hygienically impeccable. At the heart of this mission lies the housekeeping staff, the unsung heroes who work tirelessly behind the scenes. Their role is crucial, and so is their expertise in using cleaning chemicals safely and effectively. This comprehensive guide aims to provide an in-depth look into the practices that housekeeping staff should adhere to when using cleaning chemicals in hotels.

Understanding the Basics

Before diving into the specifics, it's essential to understand the types of cleaning chemicals used in hotels and their purposes. Generally, these can be categorized into detergents, disinfectants, sanitizers, abrasive cleaners, and specialized cleaners. Each serves a distinct purpose, from removing dirt and grime to killing pathogens, and it's imperative for housekeeping staff to have a thorough understanding of these to choose the right chemical for the task at hand.

Training and Education

The foundation of effective and safe chemical use is comprehensive training. Housekeeping staff should undergo regular training sessions that cover:

  • Chemical Handling: Understanding the properties of different chemicals and the risks associated with their use.


  • Proper Use: Instructions on the correct dilution rates, application methods, and necessary dwell times for various cleaning agents.


  • Safety Protocols: Wearing appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), such as gloves, goggles, and masks, and knowing what to do in case of accidental exposure or spillage.


  • Environmental Considerations: Using eco-friendly and sustainable cleaning products whenever possible to minimize the environmental impact.

Safety First

The paramount concern when using cleaning chemicals is safety—for both the staff and the hotel guests. Implementing a robust safety protocol is non-negotiable. This includes:

  • Correct Labeling and Storage: All chemicals should be clearly labeled, and Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) should be readily available. Chemicals must be stored in a well-ventilated, secure area away from guest access.


  • Emergency Procedures: Staff should be well-versed in procedures for dealing with chemical spills, including containment, cleanup, and necessary medical interventions for exposures.

Effective Use of Chemicals

To ensure the efficient use of cleaning chemicals, staff should follow these guidelines:

  • Follow Manufacturer Instructions: This cannot be overstressed. The manufacturer's instructions are designed to maximize the product's effectiveness while ensuring safety.


  • Use the Right Amount: Using too much chemical can be as ineffective as using too little. Overuse can lead to residue buildup, while underuse may not sufficiently clean or disinfect.


  • Adapt to the Surface: Different surfaces require different cleaning agents. For example, a disinfectant might be necessary for bathroom fixtures, while a gentle detergent may suffice for lacquered furniture.

The Role of Technology

Advancements in technology have led to the development of more efficient and safer cleaning chemicals and equipment. Housekeeping staff should be trained to use these modern tools, which can range from electrostatic sprayers for disinfectants to automated dilution systems that ensure the correct mixing of chemicals.

Quality Control and Monitoring

Implementing a quality control program is essential to monitor the effectiveness of cleaning practices and the safe use of chemicals. Regular audits and inspections can help identify areas for improvement and ensure compliance with safety standards.

Communication and Feedback

Effective communication between housekeeping staff, management, and other hotel departments is crucial for maintaining high standards of cleanliness and safety. Encouraging feedback from staff on the ground can provide valuable insights into the practical aspects of chemical use and safety protocols.

Continuous Improvement

The world of hospitality is ever-evolving, and so are the standards for cleanliness and safety. Hotels should invest in ongoing education and training for their housekeeping staff, keeping abreast of the latest industry best practices, eco-friendly products, and regulatory changes regarding the use of cleaning chemicals.


The use of cleaning chemicals in hotels by housekeeping staff is a matter that requires diligence, knowledge, and continuous improvement. By adhering to the guidelines outlined in this guide, hotels can ensure a safe, clean, and welcoming environment for their guests. The role of housekeeping staff is critical in this endeavor, and their expertise in the proper use of cleaning chemicals is indispensable. Through comprehensive training, adherence to safety protocols, and a commitment to excellence, hotels can uphold the highest standards of cleanliness and hygiene, making every guest's stay a pleasant and safe experience.

This guide serves as a testament to the importance of the conscientious use of cleaning chemicals in the hospitality industry. It underscores the responsibility that comes with maintaining public spaces, where the health and safety of guests and employees alike are paramount. By fostering an environment of safety, education, and respect for the tools of their trade, housekeeping staff can continue to be the backbone of the hotel industry’s commitment to excellence.


Correct Usage of Colour-coded Cloths

Implementing a colour-coded cloth system in the cleaning process is a crucial step towards enhancing hygiene and preventing cross-contamination in various environments, including hotels, restaurants, healthcare facilities, and even in domestic settings. This system involves using different coloured cloths for specific areas and tasks, which helps to segregate equipment and prevent the spread of bacteria from one area to another. Let's explore the best practices for correctly using colour-coded cloths to maintain high standards of cleanliness and hygiene.

Understanding Colour Coding

The foundation of this system is a straightforward, universally recognized colour scheme, although variations might exist depending on the organization or local regulations. The most commonly used colours and their designated areas are:

  • Red: For high-risk areas such as toilets, urinals, and sanitary fittings. Other colours can be pink or purple.


  • Blue: For general lower-risk areas, including common rooms, offices, and hallways. It is always used in mirrors and windows.


  • Green: For kitchen and food preparation areas.


  • Yellow: For the bedroom areas including tables, desks, headboards, etc.

Training and Awareness

Ensuring that all staff are thoroughly trained and aware of the colour-coding system is crucial. This includes understanding which colour is used where and the reasons behind it. Regular training sessions can help reinforce this knowledge and ensure compliance.

Implementing the System

  • Clear Guidelines: Provide clear, accessible guidelines for staff on the colour-coding system, including visual aids and signage in all relevant areas.


  • Adequate Supplies: Ensure there are enough cloths of each colour available in their respective areas to prevent the temptation to use the wrong colour out of convenience.


  • Correct Usage: Staff should be trained not only on the colour system but also on how to use, clean, and maintain the cloths correctly to maximize hygiene and cloth longevity.


  • Regular Audits: Conduct regular audits to ensure the correct use of colour-coded cloths and address any issues or breaches in protocol.

Best Practices for Use

  • No Cross-Usage: Once a cloth is used in its designated area, it should not be used in another area under any circumstances to prevent cross-contamination.


  • Proper Cleaning and Disposal: Follow proper procedures for cleaning and disinfecting cloths after use. Some cloths may be disposable, in which case they should be discarded safely after a single use. Reusable cloths need to be laundered at the correct temperature and with appropriate cleaning agents.


  • Storage: Store cloths in clearly marked, segregated areas or containers when not in use to avoid mix-ups.


  • Regular Replacement: Cloths should be regularly inspected for wear and tear and replaced when necessary to maintain effective cleaning standards.

Benefits of Colour Coding

The benefits of correctly using a colour-coded cloth system extend beyond just improved hygiene. It simplifies the training process, reduces the risk of errors, and increases the confidence of staff and customers in the cleanliness of the environment. It also demonstrates a commitment to maintaining high health and safety standards.


The correct use of colour-coded cloths is a simple yet effective method to prevent cross-contamination and maintain high standards of hygiene and cleanliness. By following the guidelines outlined above, organizations can ensure that their cleaning processes are efficient, safe, and compliant with health and safety regulations. It's a clear example of how structured systems and ongoing staff education can make a significant impact on public health and safety.


How long Should Housekeeping Take Cleaning a Hotel Room?

The time it takes for housekeeping to clean a hotel room can vary significantly based on several factors, including the size of the room, the level of detail required for the cleaning, the condition in which the previous guest left the room, and the specific standards of the hotel. However, there are general guidelines that many hotels follow to ensure efficiency while maintaining high-quality service.

Standard Cleaning Times

  • Standard Guest Rooms: For a standard hotel room, the average cleaning time is approximately 20 to 30 minutes. This time frame is for rooms that are not excessively dirty and require what is considered a normal amount of cleaning and resetting.


  • Suites and Larger Rooms: For larger accommodations, such as suites, the cleaning time can increase to 45 minutes to an hour or more. The exact time will depend on the complexity of the suite, the number of rooms, and any additional amenities that need attention.


  • Check-out vs. Stay-over Cleaning: There's also a difference in the time required for cleaning a room when a guest is checking out versus when a guest is staying over. Stay-over cleanings, where the guest will return to the room, generally take less time (about 15 to 20 minutes) since they may not require as detailed a cleaning as a room that is being prepared for a new guest.

Factors Affecting Cleaning Time

  • Room Condition: The condition in which guests leave their rooms can greatly affect cleaning times. Rooms that require additional attention due to spills, excessive trash, or rearranged furniture will take longer to clean.


  • Cleaning Standards: The specific cleaning protocols of a hotel, especially those with higher luxury standards, may require more detailed work, including deeper cleaning of bathrooms, extensive dusting, and meticulous inspection of all room elements, extending the overall cleaning time.


  • Amenities: Rooms with more amenities, such as kitchenettes, multiple bathrooms, or intricate decorative items, require more time to clean thoroughly.


  • Efficiency Measures: Hotels often implement efficiency measures, such as team cleaning or the use of professional cleaning equipment, to reduce the time it takes to clean rooms without compromising quality.


Optimizing Cleaning Times

To ensure the cleaning process is both efficient and meets the hotel's standards, many hotels conduct regular training sessions for housekeeping staff. They may also use checklists to streamline the cleaning process and ensure nothing is overlooked. The use of technology, such as hotel management systems, can help in scheduling and tracking the progress of room cleanings, allowing for adjustments in real-time based on guest needs and housekeeping workload.


While the average cleaning time for a standard hotel room is around 20 to 30 minutes, it's important to consider the various factors that can influence this timeframe. The key for hotels is to balance efficiency with thoroughness to ensure that guests are welcomed into a clean, comfortable, and hygienic environment. Continuous training, efficient cleaning techniques, and the right tools are essential for housekeeping staff to meet both these objectives effectively.

Are you in the hospitality industry and working in the housekeeping department? Was this article helpful? Please leave us a comment.