Isn’t it nice to stay at a hotel and not have to make your bed or clean up? You come back to your room after eating a breakfast you didn’t have to make, and your room is magically clean. The bed is made, you have fresh towels in the bathroom, restocked toiletries, everything is sparkly and shiny again.
Who does this wonderful service? How does this occur? The housekeeping department of the hotel is responsible for this, of course. These hardworking individuals who get paid minimum wage, or close to it. They work harder than a lot of people I know. They get constantly corrected. And depending on the housekeeping manager, maybe yelled at frequently. All the while, expected to perform cleaning miracles in speed and perfection.
An inspector comes to the hotel twice a year to check cleanliness and a myriad of other things the average person doesn’t even suspect. It’s good to have these things in place. We need clean quarters to stay when on vacation or a business trip. The hotel needs standards to reach for, attain, maintain, and to exceed. Otherwise, who knows what condition the rooms would be in.
Most hotel guests don’t know that the housekeeper has a time allotment to clean the rooms. More time is allotted for checked out rooms than for occupied rooms. All the cleaning that “is supposed” to be done in those allotted times cannot possibly be done properly within that time frame. Your housekeeper has to cut corners to complete her jobs on time. Typically they do not get to leave until all the rooms are ready. So when one housekeeper finishes, she’ll go help the others.
You would be amazed at all that does get done in a 30 minute span of time. The bathroom is cleaned: toilet, tub, maybe shower curtain changed, the sink washed, towels replaced and folded all fancy, toiletries restocked. The linens changed, the room dusted and polished, fridge and microwave wiped down, and the room quickly vacuumed. Most people don’t do that everyday in their own home.
Then there are the occupied rooms. Sometimes these are five minute jobs, make the beds, empty the trash, voila! It is finished! Then there are the ones that take as long as an empty room. Some people are very messy. Those are the rooms or people that are known as “cochino” or “dirty.” You don’t want to be known as “dirty.” Cochinos might have food and crumbs all over, the beds stained, the sheets topsy-turvy, bathroom filthy. (You know who you are.)
Those are the miracles, here are some secrets, or tips if you will.
The coffeepot does get cleaned, but with what? It’s not washed with dishsoap and a clean little sponge or dishrag. Commercial chemical cleaner is used and sometimes a clean rag, a toothbrush for that purpose, or a scrub brush. But I’ve seen that scrub brush used for the coffeemaker being stored with the same items used for the toilet. So wash the coffeepot yourself before using it, or if you can, bring your own.
The sheets always are changed in between guests, but the comforters are another story. They typically aren’t washed between each guest. I’ve seen some people remove the hotel comforter and replace it with their own from home. Another option is when you are making the reservation request a clean comforter for your room.
For those of you who are asthmatic or allergic to chemicals, heavy chemicals and air fresheners are used in the cleaning process. If you have allergies or are sensitive to these things, you can let the front desk know at the time of reserving your room. They will do what they can to have the housekeepers limit the use of these items.
You may also want to tip your housekeeper each day of the stay. They often rotate rooms and may not have the same assignments each day. So if you tip on the last day, then the housekeeper you had all week may be assigned elsewhere and another housekeeper would receive that tip. They do not share the tips.
This is some of what I learned in my limited stint as a hotel housekeeper. Now you are privy to a little of the housekeeping miracles and secrets.