About carpet cleaning; planning and organizing housekeeping operations

Clean Talk with Rose
By Rose Galera, CEH
Hawaii Hospitality Magazine, Jan/Feb 2008

Dear Rose,
The New Year 2008 will have me faced with several challenges and projects to plan and schedule. A carpet-care, cleaning and maintenance program is high on my list. As someone fairly new to the property and of planning such a program, what if any tips can you share?

Aloha Liz,
One of the most important tips in planning for a carpet-care and maintenance program is first to gather information on the types of carpet in all areas of your facility. Prepare the information as to location, type, size, color, age and the name of company from whom the carpets were purchased, if at all possible. Check past records to gain information on cleaning history and the type services provided, either in-house or outsourced. You may want to do the same for hard-floor surfaces.

Following are key items to consider, keeping in mind the importance of a documentation process:

1. Thorough and frequent vacuuming is essential for embedded soil removal and for keeping pile erect and attractive.

2. Periodic use of a pile brush or pile-lifter machine is excellent for resetting carpet pile, erasing footprints and removing sand, especially for on-beach type properties.

3. As there are several methods of carpet shampooing, a safe approach is important. Keep in mind the formula that, ‘the right cleaning method plus (+) the right machine = a cleaner carpet result with less labor.’

4. Carpet Cleaning / Shampooing methods may include a) Hot- or cold-water extraction system; b) dry-foam system; c) dry-granule system; and d) liquid-bonnet system.

5. It is always a good practice to vacuum dry carpets thoroughly after shampooing using a commercial or industrial machine.

Following also are general rules to consider for stain-removal programs:

1. Treat all stains immediately or as soon as possible.

2. Blot excess liquids with a towel. A hand scraper may be used for semi-solid type residue.

3. Identify stain type. If at all possible, test a small area when working with stain removers.

4. Begin stain treatment from edge of stain working toward the center. Blot the area, do not rub!

5. Safe methods include water or detergent-type solutions for candy, starches, soft drinks or alcoholic beverages stains and solvent chemicals for grease, oil, butter or wax-type stains. To cut down soil build up in all common areas, placing entrance floor mats just inside and directly outside of each door will make a tremendous difference to your cleaning programs. Be assured also that frequent vacuuming will not harm carpets. Based on experience, I highly recommend that you consider a Back-Pack Vacuuming System for Carpet Cleaning. It will provide for a Results Oriented and High Quality Cleaning Program.

Good Luck and Happy New Year! Rose

Hi Rose,
As a manager, I am tasked with organizing and planning a Housekeeping Department Operation Center for a new hotel. What if any information can you suggest to ensure a safe, functional and efficient results for the department and all employees?
Thank you,

Aloha Barbara,
Your question brings flashbacks of the number of times in past years that I have had to deal with several similar situations. One of the first things to do is to prepare what I call a ‘Housekeeping Wish List’ for the most ideal Housekeeping Operation that you would like to have. Draw also a sample floor plan, if possible. Do give consideration to the size and number of rooms and departments of the new property that will dictate the required number of housekeeping employees.

Within your Housekeeping Department, where employees will be greeted daily you will want to consider some of the following to be within the department: A Housekeeping Manager’s Office with specific working areas for

1. Supervisory Staff;

2. A Room Control Operational Station;

3. Training and/or Briefing Room;

4. Storage Spaces for Clean and Soiled Linens, Supplies, Chemicals, Equipments and Carts, and an Employee’s Lunch or Break Room.

I recommend reviewing OSHA Standards Part 1910 – Occupational Safety and Health Standards and Subpart 1910.141 – General Environmental Controls – Sanitation. Excellent information and guidance on required areas such as a Change Room, Restroom, Shower, Drinking Water and other key requirements are available that will be helpful in working on the development of a Housekeeping Department. Additional information is available through the internet by going to OSHA’s Website at www.osha.gov.

Visiting other facilities and networking with other colleagues in the field is another excellent way of gaining information. Consider membership in a trade association as the International Executive Housekeepers Association Inc. (I.E.H.A.). Contact Ivy Kwok, Hawaii Chapter’s Membership Chairperson and Executive Housekeeper at the Outrigger Waikiki Beach Hotel, at (808) 926-9861 or at email ivy.kwok@outrigger.com.

Good Luck and Success on your project. Mahalo and Happy New Year! Rose

Posted in Clean Talk Columns.

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