Clean Talk Wisdom

“Clean first for Health & Safety before aesthetics.”

“Understand and Know that Cleaning is a Science and an Art.”

“Understand the significance of fomites in disease transmission.”

“Important to Health & Wellness is (IAQ) Indoor Air Quality.”

“If something is clean, don’t waste time to re-clean it.”

“A place for everything & everything in its place”

“Avoid climbing at all cost, use extended cleaning tools.”

“Immediate wiping up of spills will prevent spotting problems.”

“In a messy room, pick up the big mess items first.”

“Remove first the source of the odor, to eliminate the odor, disinfect then clean the surface.”

“Mold & Mildew thrive in dark, damp and airless environments.”

“Avoid climbing of step stools or ladders. Clean or dust with long handle or extension pole cleaning tools with dusting heads.”

The 1st law of Mess: ”If You don’t make the Mess, You don’t have to clean it up !”

The 2nd law of Mess: ”If You make the mess, You clean it up !”

pailFoam and Suds
Foam or suds serve no useful function in the cleaning process. Foam actually impedes the cleaning process because extra rinsing is required to remove the useless additive. Foam agents are added to cleaning products to reinforce the erroneous belief that suds represents cleaning action.

Scents and Perfumes
Scents and perfumes in cleaning products do not remove odors. They merely cover them up by overloading your olfactory system, so you cannot smell the offensive odor.

Clean has No Odor
Clean has no odor except the material being cleaned. Clean does not smell like lemons, oranges, pine oil, or any other type of distilled scent or perfume. This may be one of the reasons why some hospitals do not allow scented cleaners to be used.

The Cleaning Process
The cleaning process requires the interaction between the cleaning solution, dwell time, heat and agitation. The decrease in one of these factors requires the increase in another. Agitation (scrubbing) increases molecular contact to speed the penetrating process. Cleaning solutions that eliminate the agitation factor require stronger chemicals, and these types of cleaning solutions subject the user to a higher level of toxin exposure in exchange for the convenience of eliminating the agitation or scrubbing process.

Viscosity or thickness has no relationship to a cleaner’s concentration. Thickening agents are added to cleaning products to make them appear concentrated. Cleaners having no thickening agents (not viscous) can penetrate dirt and soils more readily, and are much easier to rinse. Some of the most effective cleaners are just slightly more viscous than water.

Speed Cleaning Tips – Measure, document and re-evaluate


  1. Establish repetitive systems
  2. Make every movement count
  3. Keep both hands busy
  4. Use Family Teamwork
  5. Clean with Two Bags – one trash, and one for clutter
  6. Don’t let spills sit – over 90% can be removed if cleaned within 2 hours
  7. Do a little each day. Wipe the toilet seat rim
  8. Clean top to bottom
  9. Left to right – end up back where you started
  10. Work from Cleaner to dirtier
  11. If it isn’t dirty, don’t clean it
  12. Clean stains and spills from outside toward the middle.
  13. Save surfaces – Don’t use abrasive and work with the highest dilution first
  14. Use a few high quality commercial cleaning tools and take good care of them.

Quick Clean Tips


  • Bed Making – No Time, Quick throw cover protects bed linens. Use pillow covers to protect pillows from stains.
  • Damp, & Dry Dusting – With Micro-fiber Technology
  • High Area Dusting – With Back Pack Vacuuming
  • Floor Mopping – Use the Micro-fiber flat mop system
  • Carpet Cleaning & Spotting – With spotting Brush and/or microfiber cleaning cloths
  • Kitchen Cleaning – Use Micro-Fiber cleaning Cloths, not sponges which is a haven for germs when damp and dirty.
  • Pour HOT water down the kitchen drain 3X weekly for germ kill.
  • Bathroom Cleaning – Touch-Up Clean daily. Disinfect surfaces regularly
  • Toilet Cleaning – With Disinfectant & Bowl Swab. Close seat cover when flushing to avoid breathing of bacteria & chemical spray
  • Window / Glass Cleaning – With Micro-fiber Cloth.

Why is cleaning a science and an art?

Clean Talk with Rose
By Rose Galera, CEH
Hawaii Hospitality Magazine, Sept/Oct 2013

Aloha Rose,
When visiting the IEHA booth at July’s Hawaii Lodging, Hospitality and Foodservice Expo, the question, “Why Is Cleaning a Science and an Art?” stumped me. As an executive housekeeper, will having a comprehensive understanding help me to be at the leading edge of the cleaning profession?

Aloha Lety,
Knowledge and understanding of the full scope of cleaning as a science and an art will place you at the leading edge as a professional cleaning master. The science and art of cleaning can best be explained through the triad of professional cleaning:

  • Administration — planning, organizing, budgeting, purchasing and legal updates
  • Management — philosophies, styles, leadership, supervisory and frontline training skills
  • Technology & Trends — updated cleaning processes, time and motion studies, and safety in cleaning, equipment, products, cleaning agents and other factors.

As a science, controlling contaminates is one of the most basic ways to manage our built (indoor) environments. Common contaminates that we encounter include dirt, soil, other debris and stains. Agronomy, the study of soil, is important in cleaning. We clean for health, safety, comfort, indoor air quality, appearance and to control replacement and maintenance costs.

Sanitizing, disinfecting and sterilizing surfaces, fixtures and textiles are part of killing germs and odors. Scientific cleaning factors are met with time, chemical action, airflow, temperature, mechanical action, extraction and disposal.

Cleaning as a science and an art ensures placing the environment into a state that will not harm human health. A major product trend that confirms cleaning is a science and an art is the microfiber cleaning cloth and microfiber flat mop. Considered a safe and best cleaning practice, the use of microfiber cloths and flat mops makes cleaning easier, more efficient and effective.

Professional cleaning today is big business. Knowledge, understanding and safety of processes, products and equipment and staying abreast of trends and technology are all reasons cleaning is a science and an art.

Happy learning & cleaning!
Rose Galera, CEH

Key topics to develop a supervisor training program

Clean Talk with Rose
By Rose Galera, CEH
Hawaii Hospitality Magazine, Jul/Aug 2013

Hi Rose,
Though rewarding with good opportunities, managing a hotel housekeeping department in Hawaii is challenging, with the many diverse employees to supervise and keep motivated. I must develop a supervisor training program and need advice on what would be key topics for such training.

Aloha Dina,
Supervisory training is essential to insure employee morale, motivation, productivity, efficiency and effectiveness and to maintain high quality standards. Training will enhance the mentoring process for supervisors to become successful housekeeping managers. Results-oriented training should focus on people skills. Following are highly recommended topics for supervisory training.

Every type of communication training is needed to include language, speaking or writing and nonverbal expressions such as smiles, gestures and body language that are important in communicating ideas and feelings to people. Emotions and gestures communicate “unspoken” messages. Successful communication is in the art of listening-listening not only with one’s ears, but also with one’s eyes to notice body language and facial expressions.

Coaching improves the performance of others. Supervisors who coach encourage their teams to learn from and be challenged by their work. Coaching is an unending process — each new achievement forms a platform for the next challenge.

Leaders are made, not born; they are molded by experience, helpful mentors and opportunity. As the author Leroy Eimes said, “A leader is one who sees more than others see, who sees farther than others see, and who sees before others do.”

In today’s increasingly competitive business world, a highly motivated workforce is vital for any organization seeking good results. Learning how to positively motivate others has become an essential skill for all supervisors.

Performance Evaluation
Performance evaluation is a responsibility of every supervisor. Evaluations provide for meaningful feedback and discussions, allows for management to make appropriate administrative recommendations and assist in determining where improvement is required. Performance evaluations serve a dual function: an employee feedback system and a management information system.

A game of excellence! There are no rules except for those that come from one’s own integrity and commitment to do whatever it takes. It is a very high-level game for those who are willing to play with an open heart. It is for those with a strong sense to praise the abilities of others.

Teamwork is a game of service. Teamwork creates miracles!

The Art of Smiling
Remember the poem, “Smile” (author unknown):
A smile is something nice to see,
it doesn’t cost a cent.
A smile is something all your own,
it never can be lent.
A smile is welcome anywhere,
it does away with frowns.
A smile is good for everyone,
to ease the ups and downs.

Cultural Diversity
According to sociology, psychology and political science theories, man is a creature of culture. By understanding the building blocks of cultural identity, we can approach others with greater sensitivity and understanding. All the above topics are essential to developing an outstanding housekeeping department.

Happy training!
Rose Galera, CEH

OSHA safety changes

Clean Talk with Rose
By Rose Galera, CEH
Hawaii Hospitality Magazine, Mar/Apr 2013

Hi Rose,
I have been informed that there will be OSHA safety changes that will take place this year that will affect my housekeeping operations and training program. Please share any information on the changes that I should know about.

Aloha Ian,
At our International Executive Housekeepers Association (IEHA) Hawaii chapter meeting in January, information on OSHA’s safety changes for 2013 was shared with the members, who were advised to plan and prepare for the revisions that would impact their housekeeping employees. I’m pleased that others are sharing the information with housekeeping colleagues on the revisions of OSHA’s hazard communication standard (HCS).

The three major areas of change will be hazard classification, labels and safety data sheets (SDS).

Hazard Classification
The definitions of hazards have changed to provide specific criteria for classification of health and physical hazards, as well as classification of mixtures. These specific criteria will ensure that evaluations of hazardous effects are consistent and that labels and safety data sheets will be more accurate as a result.

The chemical manufacturers and importers will be required to provide a label that includes a harmonized signal word, pictogram and hazard statement for each hazard class and category. Precautionary statements must also be provided.

Safety Data Sheets
The SDS will have a specified 16-section format. It is important to know the phase-in period of the revised hazard communication standard. There are several dates that will impact the changes to take place but Dec. 1, 2013 is an important date because that’s when all employees must be trained by employers on the changes.

OSHA is requiring that employees are trained on the new label elements (i.e., pictograms, hazard statements, precautionary statements and signal words) and SDS format by Dec. 1. Full compliance with the final rule will begin in 2015. OSHA believes that American workplaces will soon begin to receive labels and SDSs that are consistent with the GHS (Global Harmonized System), since many American and foreign chemical manufacturers have already begun to produce HazCom 2012/GHS-compliant labels and SDS. It is important to ensure that employees, as they begin to see the new labels and SDSS in their workplaces, will understand how to use them and access the information effectively.

For more information, go to effectivedateshtml.

For planning and developing of a training program, mark the target date of Dec. 1. Begin research on the Internet, attend related safety seminars to attend and gather information to assist in developing a training program.

Consider joining our local IEHA Hawaii chapter on Oahu, or the recently chartered Maui chapter. The IEHA Hawaii chapter meets bi-monthly and has educational programs to inform and update members on the housekeeping industry’s management trends, technology, safety and labor law changes. Membership also provides important networking, fellowship and educational opportunities. Trade association membership provides professional, educational and personal growth for all housekeeping managers and benefits the employees, housekeeping department and the property’s overall operation.

For membership information, go to

Happy New Year and Happy Housekeeping in 2013,
Rose Galera, CEH

Infection control and safety on the job

Clean Talk with Rose
By Rose Galera, CEH
Hawaii Hospitality Magazine, Jan/Feb 2013

Hello Rose,
In preparing for the 2013 Best Hotel Housekeeping operations and training, I’d like some information on the topics of infection control and safety on the job. Your assistance is requested.

Aloha Michelle,
Indeed it is a smart move to focus on the topics of infection control and safety programs for 2013. Both topics bring out the realization that professional cleaning is a science and an art. First, let me emphasize that safety training must include a focus on cleaning chemicals. Training on blood-borne pathogens and the processes of cleaning body fluids is essential and should be documented and held annually.

Community-based infections are brought into the hospitality environment every day, and the resulting effects can be serious for the hotel, its staff, guests and the public. Because viruses and bacteria spread from person to person and surface to surface, there is a great need for education and monitoring of general hygiene practices in hotels and their housekeeping, food services and other departments.

Hotels have an obligation to provide guests and employees with a safe and secure environment. Currently, housekeeping practices vary across brands and properties with little or no standardization industrywide. Generally, the validation method for hotel room cleanliness is a visual assessment, which has been shown to be ineffective in measuring levels of sanitation. A periodic performance and sanitation measurements is highly recommended.

A report last June noted that an experiment of surfaces in hotel rooms found television remotes to be among the most heavily contaminated with bacteria. Walls and table lamp switches and door knobs were also found to be highly contaminated with bacteria. Items on housekeeping carts carry the potential to cross-contaminate rooms. And, ironically, a major culprit in hotel cross-contaminate is the actual cleaning cloth that’s used daily to clean rooms.

A new approach to room cleaning is the “charging bucket” system, using micro-fiber cleaning cloths and flat mopheads. Proper training and application with a color-coded cloth program will improve cleaning processes and reduce cleaning chemical costs. Understanding epidemiology science and communicable diseases is a “must” for hotel executive housekeepers, housekeeping managers and directors of housekeeping services.

All should be aware that in the hospitality industry:

  • The spread of communicable diseases is a fact of life. On-going training is essential.
  • Illnesses spread because of close contacts that often take place by the senses of touch (feeling), taste (eating or drinking) and smell (breathing).
  • The spread of communicable diseases has a high impact on the health and well being of employees, staff and guests.
  • The spread of communicable diseases can be reduced, by way of prevention and managing of the environment and the application of proper cleaning chemicals and processes.
  • Communication, cooperation and training must be established.

Mahalo and Happy New Year,
Rose Galera, CEH

Cleaning management and technical courses

Clean Talk with Rose
By Rose Galera, CEH
Hawaii Hospitality Magazine, Nov/Dec 2012

Hi Rose,
Having worked in hotel housekeeping as a manager for three years, I would like to take cleaning management and technical courses to build on my cleaning knowledge. What training or cleaning school information can you provide?
Valerie TJ

Aloha Valerie,
Mahalo for your inquiry on training. Working in the field of professional cleaning for 50-plus years, I work with a passion to raise the standard and level of cleaning as a science and an art. Education, training and keeping abreast of management and technical trends and technology is essential to meet the challenges and demands of professional cleaning today and tomorrow. Well-trained, effective, resourceful, decisive and knowledgeable personnel contribute to an organization’s growth, viability and profitability, as well as to an employee’s personal growth.

While the International Executive Housekeepers Association (IEHA) can schedule professional education credential program (PECP) certification training and proctored exams when requested, anyone interested in it can go online for the home study program. It consists of 16 modules, five of which cover the management series, while 11 cover the technical series. The IEHA Hawaii chapter also sponsors mini training programs at its bi-monthly membership meetings, with guests who speak on interesting topics related to housekeeping management and technology practices. Membership in IEHA is a great venue and resource for all housekeeping professionals. The association offers training and ongoing global updates on trends and technology in professional housekeeping.

Presently, I am providing consulting and training services for the Professional Cleaning Institute Hawaii (PCIH), developing certified professional cleaning curriculums for frontline, supervisory and management training programs. The institute provides excellent training for anyone wishing to build a future career or business in professional cleaning today. The PCIH program categories are: certified cleaning professional (CCP), certified cleaning specialist (CCS), certified cleaning expert (CCE) and certified cleaning master (CCM). All programs will prepare students for employment in the areas of hospitality, schools, health care, foodservice sanitation, business offices, residential, care homes and retirement facilities cleaning.

For PCIH training schedules you may contact me (information listed below), or visit Best wishes for successful professional growth.

Rose Galera

Carpet cleaning

Clean Talk with Rose
By Rose Galera, CEH
Hawaii Hospitality Magazine, Sept/Oct 2012

Dear Rose,
Carpet cleaning is a challenge that I’m faced with at my hotel. Please share some information or advice on carpet cleaning processes. Also, please explain what encapsulation is. Thank you,

Aloha Matt,
Indoor cleaning quality is often related to dirty carpets and can be solved through cleaning, maintenance and restoration programs. Carpets will attract all kinds of particulate matter. The cure includes frequent and daily use of a top grade vacuum cleaner on high traffic areas. Shampooing carpets quarterly, semi-annually or as needed is recommended. Three distinct cleaning stages for carpets include:

1. Routine cleaning: spot and spillage maintenance – vacuuming, carpet spotting

2. Interim cleaning: frequent maintenance of heavy traffic areas – vacuuming, periodic pile lifting, carpet shampooing processes, encapsulation process; and cleaning of entire carpeted areas – movement of furnishings, vacuuming, carpet shampooing processes

3. Restorative cleaning: carpet cleaning methods or systems – absorbent compound (powder or solvent), rotary bonnet, dry foam shampoo, hot water extraction

This does not limit other methods or the combination of methods.

Encapsulation technology is a method of carpet cleaning becoming popular in commercial carpet maintenance. It should be an interim maintenance method and be followed periodically with a thorough hot water extraction system. The encapsulating chemical (a liquid cleaning agent) is sprayed on and then brushed into the carpet using a rotary brush machine or bonnet. The encapsulation chemistry surrounds each soil particle and crystallizes it so it can’t attract other soils. The encapsulated soil particles are removed by vacuuming done at regularly scheduled times. Carpets can be put back into use promptly since it is a low moisture system.

In addition, preventive maintenance, such as using walk-off mats at entrances and daily vacuuming of heavy traffic areas, can prevent dirt and soil deposits on carpets, improving carpet appearance and durability.

With the information provided above, plan today for your facility’s carpet cleaning programs.

Happy cleaning,
Rose Galera, CEH

Professional housekeeping as a career

Clean Talk with Rose
By Rose Galera, CEH
Hawaii Hospitality Magazine, Jul/Aug 2012

Aloha Rose,
As a front office employee for hotels, I have read your Clean Talk articles and have become interested in professional cleaning / housekeeping management. Please share information about training needs and also and also tips on starting a professional cleaning business.

Aloha MT,
Professional housekeeping/ cleaning management as a career provides for opportunities and growth in hospitality facilities such as hotels, resorts, timeshare properties, condominiums, foodservice establishments, retail and commercial businesses, and in many other facilities, including healthcare, education, government services, retirement communities — in contract cleaning, consulting services and more.

Professional cleaning is considered to be a very diverse and big business globally. A career at the management level requires an employee to have what is referred to as “ASK” — abilities, skills and knowledge, under the triad of “AMT” — in administration, management and technology. Success in the housekeeping/ cleaning profession also requires embracing an attitude of proprietorship and to be action and results oriented. Professional trade association membership and certification in the profession are also recommended.

All the above, when met, may also provide for a smoother process toward becoming an entrepreneur and business owner in professional housekeeping/ cleaning management. Here are some basic factors to consider: business attitude and passion; income potential; market demand for services offered; existing know-how, contacts and reputation; recession resistance; start-up cost and overhead; long range security; competition; hours of work and stress level; suitability to your personality; organizational skills; legal and insurance requirements; selection of a business name; pricing strategies; start-up costs; and expanding considerations through diversification.

Understanding and knowledge that cleaning is a science and an art is an important step toward business and career success. The cleaning industry generates billions in annual revenue in the United States alone and ranks as one of the world’s big 10 businesses. It is also nearly recession proof, due to the nature of cleaning as an essential and necessary part of daily life. As a growing industry — and with many seasoned cleaning professionals now reaching retirement age — there are plenty of opportunities and careers available in the world of professional cleaning today.

Best wishes in your search for professional growth and success.

Rose Galera, CEH