Cleaning procedures in Hotel Housekeeping Department

The Executive Housekeeper is responsible for seeing that the housekeeping staff follow the standard cleaning procedures and methods. He/She should also oversee that proper tools (mechanized or non-mechanized) are used to carry out their assigned tasks. 

Cleaning is the removal of dust, dirt, foreign matter, tarnish, stains from various surfaces with the aid of certain cleaning agents. And equipment. Dust, dirt and foreign matter deposited on a surface are referred to as soil. This may include substances such as sand, mud, pollutants, smoke and fumes brought into the building from outside. Some types of soil, such as sewage, hair, dead skin cells and fibers shed from the clothing are generated by the occupants of a building.

Cleaning is carried out for the following reasons:

Aesthetic Appeal: the environment is made visually attractive and appealing

Hygiene: effective, frequent cleaning controls the growth and reproduction of pathogenic bacteria and other germs.

Maintenance: Surfaces and articles, however good in quality, will have a long, functional life only when they are cleaned on a regular basis.

Safety: Cleaning is done for safety against health hazards, and slip hazards.

Types of soils

soil is the collective term for deposits of dust, dirt, foreign matter, tarnish, and stains.

Dust: this is composed of loose particles deposited from the air. It contains both organic (human and animal hair, dead skin cells, particles of excreta, pollen from plants, and so on) and inorganic (sand, dry earth) matter. Although dust is light, it is heavier than air thus settles readily on any surface.

Dirt: this implies dust held together firmly by moisture or grease on rough surfaces.

Tarnish: this is discoloring or deposition on a metal or alloy surface caused by a chemical reaction with certain substances found in air, water, and foodstuffs. Each metals gets a different type of tarnish when exposed for too long to these substances. For instance, iron gets reddish-brown rust, copper gets a greenish deposits of verdigris, and silver gets blackened. There are different methods for the removal of tarnish from different metals.

Stain: this is a discoloration caused on a hard or soft surface by a substance containing dyes, proteins, acids, or alkalis. Stains are difficult to remove by routine cleaning processes. Any stain must be removed as soon as possible by using powders to absorb it, solvents to dissolve it, or an acidic or alkaline cleaner to neutralize it

Foreign Matters: These may be dead flowers, contents of wastepaper baskets and ashtrays, as well as stains from the deposition of foreign substances.

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Depending on the purpose of the area and surfaces to be cleaned, various standards of cleaning may be imposed. Once a standard has been established, there should be strict adherence to the cleaning methods required, and efficient training and supervision are called for. There may be different standards of cleaning for different surfaces and areas.

Physically Clean:

When this standard is set, the area or surface is supposed to be free from apparent dust and dirt, as when wiped by hand.

Chemically Clean:

This standard means that the area should be free from harmful chemicals on the surface and in the surrounding air.

Bacteriologically Clean:

To meet this standard, the surface should be free from any harmful bacteria that may cause disease or infection. This is referred to as “clinical standard “ as most hospitals follow this standard for their general wards.

Entomologically Clean:

This means that the area should be free from harmful insects or pests.

Cosmologically clean:

This cleaning standard demands that the surfaces and areas should be free from any organic or inorganic matter that may emit an odor.

Terminally Clean:

This refers to the standard of cleaning usually in operation theaters and intensive care units in hospitals, where surfaces need to be constantly sanitized against all kinds of pathogenic microbes.

Principles of cleaning

  • These are the basic rules to follow in any kind of cleaning activity, whatever the nature of the surface of the soil.

    1. All soil should be removed without harming the surface being cleaned or the surrounding surfaces.
    2. The surface should be restored to its original state softer the cleaning process.
    3. The cleaning process should be efficient, using a minimum of equipment, cleaning agents, labor, and time.
    4. The simplest method should be tried first, using the mildest cleaning agent.
    5. The cleaning methods least harmful for the surface should be used.
    6. Cleaning should proceed from high to low wherever possible.
    7. When cleaning an area, start with the cleaner surfaces and articles and then go on to clean the more heavily soiled ones, so as to prevent the spread of soil from dirty to cleaner surfaces.
    8. while wet-cleaning or polishing the floor, the cleaner should walk backward while cleaning in front of him
    9. Suction cleaning should be preferred over sweeping wherever possible.
    1. Sweeping should be done before dusting and dusting before suction cleaning
    2. Noise levels while cleaning should be kept as low as possible.
    3. Stains should be removed as soon as they occur
    4. The cleaner should take all safety precautions while cleaning. In particular, cleaning agents and equipment should be stacked neatly to one side.
    5. The cleaner should start cleaning from the farthest end of an area, working towards the exit.
    6. after the cleaning process is over, all equipment should be washed or wiped as applicable, dried and stored properly; cleaning agents should be replenished and stored; waste discarded, and the area left neat and tidy.

Cleaning Schedules

  • Initial – This is the cleaning carried out in any area that has been closed for a long period, e.g. fro renovation, refurbishment, etc. This will be a thorough cleaning where all soil and dust left by workmen will be removed.
  • Routine – This is cleaning that is carried out on a regular basis. It can be daily, weekly, fortnightly, or monthly. If schedules are stuck to, high standards can be maintained at a low cost.
  • Periodic – This is work carried out at certain times of the year, usually during the slack season or when the hotel is closed for renovation or redecoration. It entails in-depth cleaning where dirt is not allowed to build up excessively. E.g. cleaning of chandeliers quarterly.

Methods Of Cleaning

  1. Team cleaning – Two or more staff work in a given area either together or as a team and carry out the different tasks in one area.


  • Equipment can be shared.
  • Heavy work can be carried with ease.
  • New staff can be trained easily.
  • Increased productivity.


  • In case of any damage to the equipment, no one can be held responsible.
  • Standards can get lowered if proper supervision is missing.
  • While training, new staff can pick up bad habits.
  • Due to misunderstanding, some work can get left out.
  • If there are any clashes between staff, working together can be a disadvantage.

         2. Conventional cleaning – One worker is allotted an area, and after he finishes the area, he moves on to the next.


  • Improved security.
  • More job satisfaction.
  • The Standard of work is higher if the individual is efficient.
  • Training is simplified.


  • Each area takes longer to get cleaned.
  • Maybe more expensive.
  • Each staff will have to be given equipment, hence more equipment required.
  • Maybe too rigid.

          3. Block method – One particular staff has given the responsibility to carry out a single job in all the areas. After finishing the given job he moves on to a different job. E.g. one staff maybe making the beds of all the rooms on the floor and then he goes on to hoover all the carpets on the floor; the next person dusts and replenishes supplies, etc.


  • Less equipment is required.
  • Is cheaper to operate.


  • Security is weakened as lots of people enter the room.
  • More disturbances to the guest if he’s in the room during room cleaning.
  • May-be monotonous for staff.
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Manual methods

These do not call for mechanized or electronic equipment.


  • This is done to collect dust when the floor surface is too rough for a dust mop.
  • Push brooms are used for large areas and corn brooms are best for corners and tight spaces.
  • Sweeping is not the most efficient, hygienic, or advanced way of removing dust, as so much of it becomes airborne.
  • Sweeping has in many cases been replaced by the use of suction cleaners now. Sweeping with a dry mop is called ‘mop sweeping’.

Equipment required: Broom, dustpan, dust bin for the collection of dust.


  • This task requires a systematic and orderly approach for efficiency and ease.
  • Room attendants should start dusting at the door and work clockwise around the room. This minimizes the chances of overlooking a spot. Fold the duster three times and then thrice again. This gives you 18 clean folds, making the duster more effective.
  • The duster should be of soft, lint-free cloth. Old rugs should not be used as they leave their own dust and lint.
  • While dusting, it should be started from the highest surface so that dust does not fall on items already cleaned.
  • When dusting solution is used it should be sprayed on the cloth not on the surface as it can stain or cause stickiness.
  • The duster should be always carried away carefully when the task is finished.

Equipment Required: Cloth duster, feather duster, and dusting solution if necessary.


  • This is the most preferred way of cleaning in hotels as surfaces can be wiped as well as dusted, removing any sticky or dirty marks at the same time.
  • A suitable lint-free cloth at the correct level of dampness should be used to avoid leaving any smells.

Equipment and agents required: Cloth duster, water, plastic bowl, and a neutral detergent if necessary.


This is the preferred way to remove dust, sand, or dirt from a floor. If these substances are not removed from the floor daily, they will continually scratch the surface finish, diminishing its luster, and will eventually penetrate down to the floor itself.

  • Dust mopping is done with dust –control mop that may or may not be wet with a cleaning solution.
  • Using such a solution stops the dust from rising.
  • While dust-mopping, use figures –of –eight strokes and keep the mop head on the floor at all times.
  • Do not drag the mop straight backward. On finishing each figure of eight, swivel the mop around and on the return, pass and overlap the areas that have been wiped by about 8 inches.
  • When sweeping in open spaces, clean in long straight lanes, covering the whole area by moving up and down.
  • Use a dustpan to sweep up accumulated trash.
  • Always carry the mop head upward very carefully after you have done and then shake into a bag to clean.
  • Dust- mopping removes gross soil but also redistributes and leaves behind a large number of fine particles.

Equipment Required: Dust –control mop, dustpan, dust –collection bag, and dust bin.


A damp moping is used to remove spills and soil that were not removed during the dry removal process. Wet–mopping will remove the light from heavy soil from the floor surface, which could otherwise become stuck in the surface. Or collected in the seal or finish.

  • Before the floor can be wet- mopped, it must first be dust-mopped.
  • Add neutral or mildly alkaline detergent to the mop water for wet-mopping.
  • The detergent used must be of a variety that needs no rinsing, or else spray diluted detergent from a spray bottle and mop with a damp mop.
  • If using mop water, immerse the mop in the bucket and wring it out until it is only damp.
  • First, finish mopping near the baseboards in smooth strokes. Then mop the entire area with figure-eight strokes.
  • The water in the basket should be changed when it becomes dirty.
  • A brush may be used for stubborn spots and a squeegee should be used to help speed the drying of the floor.

Equipment Required: Wet mop and bucket or mop-wringer trolley.


For modern surfaces, very little hand- scrubbing is required.

  • Scrub gently in straight lines away from yourself, working backward
  • Rinse well to remove any detergent from the surface.
  • Use a squeegee to clear away excess rinse water .follow up with mopping.
  • Equipment Required: Long-handled scrubbing brush, mild detergent, bucket, squeegee, water, and mop.


  • Apply the polish sparingly.
  • Use cotton rags to apply polish and a cloth for buffing.
  • Use a soft brush for carved articles to get the polish into crevices.
  • Use the polish appropriate for a particular surface.
  • For, instance, proprietary polishes for metals –Brasso, Silvo, and so on- should be used on these surfaces.
  • Equipment Required: Proprietary polish and cotton rags.


This refers to the removal of stains from various kinds of hard and soft surfaces.

  • To remove a localized stain, the whole surface need not be treated with stain-removal agents.
  • Just the area where the stain discolors the surface is treated and cleaned in the process of spot cleaning
  • Spot cleaning may be used as a cleaning method on walls, fabrics, carpets, or floorings.

Mechanized methods

These utilize equipment powered by electricity as well as mechanical gadgets


  • This is the basic and preparatory step to all other mechanized procedures and should be performed regularly.
  • Very often it must also be repeated at the end of these processes.
  • The goal is to remove as much dry soil as possible so that it does not spread, scratch the finish or damage the surface.
  • Vacuuming with high-filtration machines is the most complete method of dry –soil removal as it picks up, packages and removes soil without spreading it around.
  • Wet- vacuum cleaners are now available, which help to mop up water from floors as well. These are usually dual-function machines that can be used for both wet and dry work. Extraction machines for cleaning carpets also work on the principle of suction.
  • Equipment Required: Wet/dry vacuum cleaner with attachments and mild detergent for wet-cleaning if necessary.


  • This process uses a 175-or 300 rpm (revolutions per minute) floor machine and a soft pad or brush.
  • The operator sprays a light mist of a commercial cleaning preparation or detergent and a finishing solution in front of the machine.
  • As the machine goes over the area, soil, scuff, light scratches, and marks are removed and the shine is restored to the surfaces.
  • Vacuuming or dust-mopping is a follow-up step to remove loosened dirt.
  • Equipment Required: 175-or 300 rpm buffing machine with bag pad, spray bottle, detergent, and finishing solution.


  • This process uses a 175-1500 –rpm floor machine and a soft pad or brush to remove some soil and put the shine back in the finish.
  • Vacuuming or dust-mopping should be carried out as a follow-up step to remove loosened dirt
  • Equipment Required: 175-1500-rpm floor machine and soft pad or brush.


    • This process uses an ultra high–speed floor machine (1500-2500 –rpm) to restore a deep gloss to the floor finish.
    • since the finish is ‘tempered’ by the friction and heat produced by the burnishing machine, the floor looks better for a longer time, which reduces costs by extending the time between the scrubbing and stripping cycles.
    • Vacuuming or dust-mopping and damp-mopping are preparatory steps and should also be used as follow-up procedures to remove loosened dirt.
    • Equipment Required: 1500-2500-rpm floor machine
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Mechanical Cleaning Equipment


  • This process removes embedded dirt, marks, deeper scuffs, and scratches from the floor along with some of the finish.
  • The type of pad or brush, the type of detergent, the water temperature, and the weight and speed of the machine all determine whether the process is considered light or heavy scrubbing.
  • Determine whether the process is considered light or heavy scrubbing. For instance, aggressive pads, higher -pH detergent solutions, and fast, heavy machines perform the deepest scrubbing.
  • Light scrubbing removes just one or two coats of finish.
  • Heavy scrubbing removes all or most of the finish, down to the protective sealing coat.
  • Equipment Required: floor maintenance machines with a green pad.


This is a very aggressive process that can and should remove all of the floor finish and sealer, leaving a bare floor ready for re-finishing. a strong stripping agent, a coarse pad or brush, hot water, and intensive labor make stripping a costly, time- consuming and sometimes even hazardous process, which should be used only when no other process will achieve the desired results. Diligent use of other maintenance procedures delays the need for stripping.

Equipment Required: Floor-maintenance machine with a black –pad.


This is the cleaning method used for washable fabrics. it is a process in which soil and stains are removed from textiles in an aqueous medium. it involves the sub –routines of washing, bleaching, drying, and pressing all carried out using specialized laundry equipment and cleaning agents called ‘laundry aids’.

Other sub-processes such as spot-cleaning, searching, and softening may also be involved.


This is the method in which soil and stains are removed from textiles in a non-aqueous medium for e.g. aviation petrol of per-chloro-ethylene.


The housekeeping department, along with the regular or daily cleaning, requires special schedules for a particular period of time. Mostly these are divided into following categories depending upon the time period required between each cleaning.


Mostly the time-consuming tasks are placed under this category which, must be done at least once in a week and cannot be undertaken on a daily basis. a record of the weekly schedule is done in a weekly cleaning format. Some of the weekly jobs are as follows

  1. Polishing of brassware, metalwork, fitting, and fixtures.
  2. Scrubbing of bathroom tiles.
  3. pest control of the rooms and floors
  4. laundering of the shower curtains
  5. Cleaning of windows from outside.
  6. Replacing of furniture and proper vacuum cleaning of the carpet below them.
  7. Changing paper under liners, cupboard liners, etc.
  8. Cycling of potted plants in the rooms
  9. Cleaning of the balconies and terraces.
  10.  Polishing of wood paneling and wooden floors if existing.
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Example of Weekley Cleaning


This is a thorough cleaning schedule, which requires a section of the floor to be put on the out-of-order status and the rooms are completely cleaned. Spring cleaning is mostly undertaken once a year. In the hotels with high turnover do it even twice a year. Spring cleaning involves the following tasks.

  1. Removing all furniture and potted plants from the rooms.
  2. complete cleaning and shampooing of the room carpets
  3. Complete cleaning and servicing of the bathroom fittings if required.
  4. Checking and rewriting the electrical fittings if required.
  5. polishing of the furniture, brassware, metal works and woos paneling
  6. repair of furniture and upholstery
  7. washing of bed cover
  8. Removal of rugs and sending them for washing.
  9. removal of heavy and light curtains and sent in the laundry
  10.  Removal of spots on the walls and floors of the rooms.
Spring Cleaning

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