Room attendants play an important role in the organisation because of their visibility, their guest contact, and their responsibility for clean, hygienic and comfortable rooms. All of these convey a critical message to guests. You are responsible for the hygiene, safety, maintenance and appearance of your areas. The housekeeping team plays a greater role than any other department in ensuring that the rooms product meets the conditions that guests need and expect.
Housekeeping employees are required to maintain a high standard of personal hygiene and a professional appearance because of their role in servicing guest bedrooms, and because of their visibility.
As a member of the housekeeping department you will be required to come into contact with guests. It is important that you follow your organisation’s procedures for meeting, greeting and acknowledging guests and responding to their requests. Samkeliso Nkwanyane, our hospitality coach, speaker and facilitator breaks it down.
Here are the 10 steps to clean a hotel room:
Step# 1 - Prepare your cleaning material, chemicals and equipment
Step# 2 - Knock and enter the room
Step# 3 - Put on your gloves
Step# 4 - Prepare the room for cleaning
Step# 5 - Remove trash and linen and spray the bathroom
Step# 6 - Make the bed
Step# 7 - Dust and damp wipe
Step# 8 - Clean the bathroom
Step# 9 - Replenish items
Step# 10 - Clean the floor
Remember to inspect your work after cleaning!
In most hotels, the room attendant’s shift begins by reporting in to the Supervisor or Executive Housekeeper. You will be briefed on details of the day’s events or special tasks, and will be issued with room assignments or allocations, room status reports, keys/keycards. For security reasons, keys or cards to rooms or signed out at the beginning of each shift and signed in at the end of each shift.
You are responsible for making sure that you have all the supplies you will need to service your work area. Your hotel would usually offer housekeeping training programs for you when you start to cover these aspects. These include cleaning materials and equipment, linens and guest supplies. Depending on the organisation, you will issued with the requirements for your trolley, cart or basket prior to moving on to the floors. All items must be kept clean, tidy and undamaged, and stocked to the level specified by your department.
Typical housekeeping items will include:
The following are typical types of cleaning materials used for cleaning guest bedroom areas:
Usually called general purpose cleaners, because they can be used to clean most surfaces such as tiles, walls, baths, basins, showers, the outside of the toilet, shower frames, and floors. General purpose cleaners are generally concentrated and can be diluted with water to adapt to different cleaning needs. If diluted correctly these cleaners do not damage surfaces. They strength of a detergent is measured by its pH. Most have a neutral pH of 7.
Mostly used for cleaning toilets, or for removing lime deposits or stains. These detergents contain acid (pH 1-6), and can harm the skin and other surfaces, so should be used with caution. Never mix with other chemicals as they can produce harmful gases or reactions.
These are usually called hard-surface cleaners. Used for heavier or more specialized tasks, such as stripping polish from floors. They are strong because their pH is 8-13. They must be used carefully because they are corrosive and can damage some surfaces.
These can come in powder, liquid or paste form. Used mainly for cleaning enamels and ceramics, e.g. toilets, vanity basins, and some china. They contain finely ground minerals, e.g. sand, pumice, chalk to rub away dirt. Be careful when using abrasive cleaners because they can damage surfaces that are easily scratched, e.g. acrylic or fibreglass, marble, plastic, and wood.
Used to give a pleasant smell to the room for a limited time, and to remove some unpleasant smells.
Cleaning begins the moment the room attendant approaches the guest room door. It is important to follow your specific company procedures to ensure that you do not inconvenience or embarrass the guest or show any disrespect.
Do not disturb (DND)
The guest answers
Guest returns during cleaning
Following are typical procedures for preparing a guest bedroom for cleaning:
The following are general procedures for cleaning a guest bedroom:
Check for lost property
Dust items located on walls or high off the floor. Work clockwise around the room, starting at a point near the door and working around the room, back to the door. Items include:
Dust furniture, fixtures and fittings, moving around the room and working from top to bottom. Items include:
Cupboards, drawers and shelves
Remember to dust out the inside of drawers and cupboards, as well as cupboard doors, rails, shelves and hangers and hooks. Pay particular attention to areas or corners where dust may gather.
Clean surfaces according to the type of surface and appropriate cleaning agent.
Lifting and moving furniture
When necessary/instructed/scheduled, you will need to lift or move heavy furniture. Use safe lifting and moving techniques (bend your knees and keep you back straight). Always ask for help if you are unable to safely move heavy items yourself.
Click here for Airbnb cleaning procedure
All furniture in the room must be replaced in the correct way, according to procedures and the layout of the room.
Cleaning Stayover Rooms
Cleaning of a stayover is usually less intensive than that of a departure room, because you do not want to waste time and inconvenience a guest who may wish to use the room. The main points to remember are:
When cleaning surfaces such as vanity slabs, dressers, cabinets, tables etc,, carefully move guest items to the side while cleaning, and then replace neatly where you found them.
Follow general cleaning procedures for dusting, wiping and vacuuming, according to your organisation’s standards
Empty rooms (vacant the night before) or rooms in maintenance areas should be checked daily to ensure that they are clean, safe, unoccupied, and that all items are present. Vacant/unoccupied rooms also need to be cleaned and dusted to prevent build-up of dust.
Wear your heavy duty gloves and clean guest bathrooms and replenish guest items and linen according to your procedures.
After dusting, various methods of cleaning are used for different surfaces. The following are general procedures for cleaning different types of surfaces:
Depending on your cleaning agent, spray polish directly onto the surface of the furniture and shine with a clean, dry cloth. Use polish sparingly. Alternatively, spray your neutral detergent onto a clean dry cloth and damp wipe the surface.
Glass and mirrors
Spray your glass cleaner directly on the surface to be cleaned, and wipe with a clean, dry lint-free cloth, or spray glass cleaner on a clean cloth and wipe down to ensure there are no marks or streaks
Damp wipe plastic with a clean cloth sprayed with your neutral detergent. Rub over with a clean, dry cloth if necessary. If required, wipe telephone mouthpieces with a germicidal detergent or disinfectant.
Walls and painted surfaces
Damp wipe marks and spots using your clean cloth sprayed with neutral detergent. Always check with your supervisor if you are not sure what methods or chemicals to use.
Most metal surfaces, with the exception of brass, copper and silver can be cleaned with a neutral detergent. Spray the detergent onto a clean, dry cloth and wipe the surface. If necessary, rub with a clean, dry lint-free cloth to remove marks. Specialised polishes for copper, brass and silver should be applied to the surface with a clean, dry cloth. Allow to dry. Polish with a separate clean, dry cloth until all polish is removed and the surface is shiny and free from oxidisation. Be careful not to apply polishes to surrounding areas such as doors, walls, carpets and fabrics, as they may mark or stain these surfaces.
Neutral detergent sprayed onto a clean, dry cloth can be use to wipe ceramic or china surfaces. Ceramics used for food and drink should be washed with a neutral detergent, rinsed carefully and dried.
Depending on the type of fabric (upholstery, curtains etc) these can be dusted, brushed or vacuumed. Your supervisor will advise you on specific methods for your organisation. Report to your supervisor any stains or marks, since there are specialised methods and cleaning agents for stain and spot treatment.
Fabric wall coverings: Water should never be used on fabric wall coverings because shrinking could occur. Stains and spots should only be removed with a cleaner recommended by the manufacturer.
All guest items must be checked, replenished and replaced according to the procedures for your organisation. Following are typical items to be checked and replenished once you have completed the cleaning of the room:
Check all guest stationery and other items to ensure that all items are present, and are not stained, marked, torn or scribbled on. These may include:
Snacks, coffee and tea making items
Once you have completed the cleaning of the bedroom area and bathroom, you need to do a final check of your work:
Check and Maintain Environmental Control Systems
Each of the following should be checked during the service of the guest bedroom. Turn appliances on to check operation, and then turn off.
Guests expect a comfortable environment, in which all appliances are working correctly. Unchecked systems could result in guest complaints and loss of business.
Air conditioner or heater
In order to provide a quality and consistent housekeeping service, you will be required to do the following:
You are required to complete the allocated number of rooms as specified in your department. In most hotels, room attendants are given 17 - 20 rooms to clean per day.
You are required to follow procedures as directed, to ensure that work is performed and completed to the standard required by the organisation.
These requirements may vary from one organisation to the next, according to the number and type of guest rooms to be cleaned. Efficient working methods and adherence to the procedures of your organisation will ensure that work schedules are completed and deadlines met. This will have a direct impact on customer satisfaction and repeat business.
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Hospitality Coach, Customer Experience Optimization, Speaker and Consultant