15 Brilliant Cleaning Tips from Hotel Housekeepers

updated Nov 1, 2021
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Hotel housekeepers, who often clean a dozen or more hotel rooms a day, don’t just need to clean quickly and efficiently: To keep guests satisfied, they also need to do their jobs effectively. And so we figured that hotel housekeepers must be privy to some of the smartest cleaning products, tools, and techniques out there. Guess what? We were right! We spoke to some pro housekeepers to get their best tips — and they had lots to share.

Here are 15 must-try tips from experts who clean on the daily. 

Credit: Sarah Crowley

1. Open a window or door when you clean.

Ever wonder why housekeepers leave the door open when they’re cleaning a hotel room? According to Perry Knight, a guest services manager and housekeeping trainer at multiple Days Inn & Suites, it’s a technique housekeepers use to air out and deodorize rooms during cleanings. “If you’re cleaning your house, you should always leave a pathway open from the room you’re cleaning to the clean outdoors, even if it’s just an apartment hallway,” he says.

2. Always dry wet surfaces.

Whether you’re cleaning your sink or countertop, never leave surfaces wet. According to Knight, moisture can become a host for mold and scum. Always dry surfaces after you wipe them down to maintain their cleanliness!

3. Take advantage of Magic Erasers.

Chelsea Psenicnik, housekeeping manager at Salish Lodge & Spa, swears by Magic Erasers for removing scuff marks on walls and other surfaces. Another unexpected cleaning tool? Pumice stones! Use them to “erase” hard water marks and other build-up on glass dishes, in your sink, and even on granite counters.

4. Use degreaser in the shower.

You probably already know that degreaser is a miracle cure for splattered microwaves. But did you know you can also use it in the bathroom? Psenicnik says degreaser is a housekeeper’s best friend for lifting soap scum in the shower. “You must wash it down again after to remove the degreaser, but it can lift hard-to-remove deposits,” she says.

5. Tackle grout with stone cleaner.

If you’re struggling to remove gunk from grout, tile, or even stainless steel, Psenicnik suggests trying granite and stone cleaner — or even the powdered version of Bar Keepers Friend

6. Separate wet and dry work.

Separating wet and dry work as much as possible doesn’t just save time — it also prevents cross-contamination, Psenicnik says. For example, you could start by dusting, sweeping, and vacuuming, then wiping down surfaces and mopping. 

Credit: Joe Lingeman

7. Sanitize again at the end.

Another great rule of thumb from Psenicnik: When you’re “done” cleaning, you’re not really done. At the very end, always wipe down (and sanitize) high-touch points, such as faucets and handles, as you may have contaminated them while cleaning everything else.

8. Read the instructions.

Sandra Neri, hygiene and wellbeing leader at the Hyatt Regency in Mexico City, recommends always taking time to read product labels before cleaning and disinfecting to understand how much cleaner to use and how to use it. “Products often require a certain surface contact time to completely sanitize and disinfect the area before it’s wiped away,” she says.

9. Clean before you disinfect.

Disinfecting is an important part of keeping your home safe. But there’s an important step you’ll need to complete before you bring out the Clorox. “Cleaning the surface initially helps remove any particles with a simple wipe and best prepares the area for sanitizing and disinfecting,” says Adam Edelman, director of operations at Hyatt Regency Orange County

Related: The Difference Between Cleaning, Sanitizing, and Disinfecting at Apartment Therapy

10. DIY a hardwood solution with vinegar.

While bleach is an important tool for staving off germs on household surfaces, it’s not for everything — including hardwood floors. Dibo Muhammad, house person at Le Méridien St. Louis Clayton, recommends sanitizing hardwood surfaces (or anything else you don’t want to use bleach for) with a mixture of hot water and vinegar. Her go-to solution is one part vinegar to three parts hot water, plus a few drops of fresh-smelling essential oil.

11. Use Mop & Glo for shining up hardwood.

Want to make your floors nice and shiny? Muhammad loves Mop & Glo, which adds a protective (and shiny!) layer to flooring. One important tip: “Make sure you keep kids and pets off the surface until it is fully dry,” she says.

12. Use a UV light to find hidden stains.

If you have pets or kids, chances are your upholstery probably has hidden stains, or stains you thought you removed but still make your dining room chairs or rugs smelly. Muhammad has a super-smart solution: Find them with a UV light, and then remove them!

13. Clean your baseboards ergonomically.

If you have a bad back, cleaning baseboards can be one of the most annoying jobs. Muhammad suggests solving that problem with Baseboard Buddy, an easy-to-use cleaning tool for reaching both baseboards and molding. You definitely don’t want to skip your baseboards because, even if your floors are clean, dirty baseboards will make the whole room feel seem dingier than it is.

14. Use vinegar and water to clean glass.

Another smart way to use vinegar: in a water mixture for cleaning glass and mirrors. If you can’t (or don’t want to) use vinegar, Muhammad suggests Sprayway Glass Cleaner for a streak-free finish.

15. Hire a hotel housekeeper.

If you’re overwhelmed by cleaning, it can help to enlist a pro — Muhammad says it’s important to make sure any housekeeper you hire is licensed, insured, and bonded. “It is great to hire local small businesses or even turn to hotel housekeepers,” she says. “A lot of us work part-time cleaning homes on the weekend.”

Are you inspired by these tips from hotel housekeepers? Tell us in the comments below.