9 Cleaning Tips from Hotel Housekeepers

March 13, 2017

Experts from top hotels around the country share secrets for cleaning quickly and efficiently.



To celebrate International Housekeepers Week (this year it takes place September 8th ­- 14th), we decided to check in with some of the country's top cleaning experts: hotel housekeepers.

The housekeepers who work in hotels clean hundreds of thousands of rooms every year. They know how to be efficient, while also ensuring every room is as clean as possible. And whether you clean hotel rooms, other people's houses or your own, you can learn a lot from their expertise.

Karen Mitchell, director of housekeeping at the Palmer House Hilton in Chicago, Jerry Messing, executive housekeeper at Wyndham Grand Orlando Resort Bonnet Creek in Orlando, Fla., and Peter Muriello, housekeeping manager at JW Marriott Chicago, chime in with nine cleaning secrets that will help simplify your cleaning routine.

  1. Create a Cleaning Plan
    "You need a very scientific approach to cleaning," says Mitchell. "For example, the room attendants are trained to walk into the room and strip all linen first."

    Develop a plan of attack for each room in your home. If you know what you're going to clean and in what order, you'll save time and avoid repeating steps. Use our cleaning checklist to get started. 

  2. Start at the Top
    According to Mitchell, you should start at the top of a room and work downward. Dust falls and you don't want to drive yourself nuts repeating steps.

  3. Remember the Furniture
    "Many people focus on the floors and hard surfaces, but skip the sofas and upholstery. Vacuum with an attachment to remove dust and dirt particles that can break down the fabric over time," suggests Messing.

  4. Dust Your Bulbs
    Brighten up your rooms by giving light bulbs a regular dusting. Make sure you turn them off and let them cool down first, so they're not hot, recommends Messing.

  5. Use Chemicals Cautiously
    "Never, never mix chemicals," says Messing. "Some chemicals can create harmful vapors when mixed, so stick with what the chemical label recommends and let the chemicals do the work."

    It's easy to lose track of what products you're using when you're busy cleaning, so one way to avoid this is to use color-coded rags. "Consider using different color rags for each cleaning project or chemical (i.e. one for dusting and one for cleaning windows)," recommends Muriello.

  6. Care for Your Appliances
    Cleaning a room might be your top priority, but don't overlook the appliances that are making your room sparkly clean. According to Messing, "Even the best vacuums can get clogged. On a monthly basis, inspect your vacuum and clean the brushes to ensure that the vacuum is working properly. This makes vacuuming easier and more efficient."

    Irons needs to be cleaned too, as rust can built up if the water is not drained -- which will stain your clothing. "Always drain your iron after every use," Muriello says.

  7. Open the Windows
    "When cleaning in a room, use natural light wherever and whenever possible," says Messing. It provides better ventilation when you're working with chemicals and lets you see more details as you clean. Plus it's good for the environment.

  8. Protect Your Beds
    Using mattress protectors not only keeps mattresses clean, but also can extend the life of your mattress, according to Messing. "There are many options that will protect your mattress from liquids and stains, dust mites and other allergens without changing the comfort and feel of your bed."

    The same goes for pillows. Muriello says, "Utilizing and periodically cleaning zippered pillow protectors will help extend the life of your pillows and give you a clean place to rest your head."

  9. Focus on Projects
    "We provide a monthly calendar for the [housekeepers]," says Mitchell. "Each day a "project of the day" is established and the rooms are kept very clean because everything is dusted or cleaned as needed. For example, one day they dust the baseboards in all rooms or dust the lamp shades."

    Make this work for your home by creating a list of all the occasional chores you need to get done, like organizing that huge pile of magazines. Take a few minutes every day to check an item off the list. "I designate 15 minutes each day to do one task," says Mitchell. "I don't have to spend my entire weekend cleaning because much of it is done and my house always looks company-ready."

So start making your cleaning plan and get into a routine. By utilizing these tricks and tips, you'll be done with your cleaning for the day -- and you'll have three hotel housekeepers to thank.

Your Next Steps:

Elizabeth SanFilippo is a freelance writer living in Chicago. Her work can be found here.

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