Seven steps in guest room cleaning

Clean Talk with Rose
By Rose Galera, CEH
Hawaii Hospitality Magazine, Mar/Apr 2012

Hi Rose,
As a reader of your articles, I wish to request your assistance for information you may have developed for a hotel guestroom cleaning process program. This will be for housekeeping operations for a new property my company will be managing.
Thank You, Jessie

Aloha Jessie,
To measure up to today’s performance standards, establishing appropriate cleaning processes is important. The following seven steps in guest room cleaning provides for a dynamic and effective system that will create quality standards and value results. It also will simplify and assist in the training process.

1 – Prepare the Room: update room status; remove food service trays; check lights, lamps, television, drapes and lanai.

2 – Removal of Trash and Soiled Linens: disinfect bathroom surfaces; collect soiled linens and used glasses; collect and remove trash.

3 – Make the Bed: strip soiled linens; prepare clean linens; make the bed and finish with bed cover.

4 – Clean the Bedroom: dust furniture and surfaces; wipe and polish surfaces; replenish or replace room supplies.

5 – Clean the Bathroom: wash, wipe and shine fixtures; replace bath amenities; replace bath linens.

6 – Vacuum Carpets and Floor Surfaces: start from area furthest from door; reset climate control on air conditioning; draw drapes to standard.

7 – Final Inspection Update: take last look and check; turn off lights; secure and lock door.

To further enhance the above program, proper equipments and tools are highly recommended. The microfiber cleaning technology is a best practice program. A color-coded program of cleaning cloths and flat-head mops should be applied to all cleaning tasks; for example, for cleaning cloths: blue – furniture dusting, red – bathroom cleaning and green – rnirror/ glass polishing. The flat-head mop system with an extendable handle and two heads should be used: blue for bathroom cleaning of tub/shower walls and surfaces and green for floor mopping. Add to the above as needed.

Happy Cleaning!
Rose Galera, C.E.H.

Helping senior housekeepers maintain productivity

Clean Talk with Rose
By Rose Galera, CEH
Hawaii Hospitality Magazine, Jan/Feb 2012

Hi Rose,
Please share best cleaning practices on how to assist our senior housekeepers with 20-plus working years to maintain their assigned room cleaning productivity level, within the company’s acceptable cleaning standards.

Aloha TM,
Your concern is shared by housekeeping managers in our Hawaii hospitality industry, given the many dedicated and loyal longtime cleaning attendants still in the workforce with high work attendance ethics.

Fortunately, with the ongoing increase in cleaning trends and technology today, there are solutions with processes, tools and equipment that housekeeping managers can turn to creatively. Traditional ways and methods must be replaced or be enhanced with today’s technologies. The following are creative ideas for consideration.

Microfiber cleaning technology:
1. Stained terry cloths cut, surged and used for cleaning rags are tools of the past and are to be replaced with today’s cleaning tools of the fiade, microfiber cleaning cloths and mops.

Microfiber cloths reduce time in dry dusting, damp wiping and wet cleaning of surfaces as they attract and hold onto soil and do not spread it around. When used properly, the microfiber cloth can have 16 folded sides to speed up the cleaning process. A color coding cleaning process for guest room cleaning will avoid the guesswork of which cloths to use. For example: blue for dry or damp dusting of furniture and fixture surfaces, yellow for glass/ mirror polishing, and red for bathroom cleaning of counter surfaces, walls and fixtures. Microfiber cloths are also excellent for carpet spotting processes.

2. Replace the old string mops or terry rags for mopping of floors with the microfiber flat mop system. I recommend two extendable mop handles with flat head attachments, 12-14 inches in size with four to six microfiber flat mop heads. With the microfiber flat mops, the following bath and guest room cleaning processes can be accomplished without bending, stooping or climbing for low and high area cleaning:
a) bathtub wall or shower wall cleaning
b) bathtub surround, outer tub surfaces, inner tub and shower floors
c) damp mopping of the bathroom floor
d) cleaning and polishing of bathroom mirrors with a flat mop head
e) dusting of walls, ceilings, vents, baseboards and ledges

Renewable cleaning with microfiber cleaning technology and proper training on the various processes will enhance and simplify guest room cleaning, save on body movements and safety in cleaning, that will assist in maintaining productivity and results-oriented cleaning, for senior employees still in the workforce.

Mahalo, Rose

Renewable cleaning

Clean Talk with Rose
By Rose Galera, CEH
Hawaii Hospitality Magazine, Nov/Dec 2011

Hi Rose,
At a Renewable Energy Conservation program I attended, the speaker emphasized the importance of the housekeeping department’s role in renewable cleaning, and its impact on energy conservation. Please share any information as I missed a workshop you once held.
A Neighbor Island EH

Aloha NIEH,
Yes, I’ve talked, trained and promoted renewable cleaning since attending the 2009 ISSA/ IEHA Convention held in Chicago and gained Trends & Technologies updates that are having an impact on our cleaning profession and industry today. Renewable cleaning is the removal, inactivation and/ or proper disposal of pollutant contaminants, pathogens, particles and chemical residues to restore our indoor enviromnents to their original or desired condition. Renewable cleaning works like nature does employing parallel methods. The process conserves resources (economic and financial) and focuses on cleaning for health and establishes a code of best cleaning practices to deliver high standards of cleaning services and environmentally sound standards.

Renewable cleaning is organized as green cleaning, which targets general sanitation using eco-friendly practices, products and equipments for a healthier environment. It is a program that utilizes natural cleaning products that are non-toxic, biodegradable, not tested on animals, and are renewable and sustainable. It uses cleaning equipment that clean better, faster and reduce the need for chemical application, and cleans surfaces, polishes stainless steel, cleans mirrors, or collects dust with microfiber cleaning cloths and flat mops. Water is a key medium for renewable cleaning as it is a universal resource, is benign, non-polluting and naturally replenished. Water plays an important role as a chemical substance, is one of our most plentiful chemicals. Its chemical formula (H20) is the most well known of all chemical formulas. Water’s many important functions include being a good solvent for dissolving many solids, serving as an excellent coolant both mechanically and biologically and acting as a reactant in many chemical reactions. When believed in, accepted and implemented, renewable cleaning will have definite and positive environmental, economic, financial and social impact for Hawaii.

Rose Galera

Developing a technical information manual

Clean Talk with Rose
By Rose Galera, CEH
Hawaii Hospitality Magazine, Sept/Oct 2011

Aloha Rose,
Managing a hotel housekeeping department requires many details when directing and communicating with employees. I feel that I need to have basic tasks and processes put to writing, to meet ESL (English as a Second Language) and cultural diversity needs. Please share any information or ideas that will help.
Thanks, Andi

Aloha Andi,
Your plight is very much understood. Because of the many details, tasks and various duties required in cleaning for health, safety and best results in a hotel, putting information to writing ensures a smoother running operation.

Years ago I developed a “need to know and must have available” technical information list of various basic and daily cleaning processes covering the what, why, when and how of it all. The list consisted of the following: guest room and bathroom cleaning; public restroom cleaning; carpet cleaning and spotting processes; dusting techniques; dust mopping; dry, damp and wet mopping; odor control cleaning; sanitizing of drinking glasses; stripping, sealing and finishing of hard floors; window, glass and mirror cleaning; vacuuming processes; bed making process; VIP night turndown; trash removal; chemical usage and control, safety and more.

Putting such a manual together can initially be time consuming, but once accomplished, it will have a positive impact on the morale, motivation, quality and productivity of the department. As a writing tip, apply “KISS,” keep it simple and short. There are cleaning books written today that may also be helpful. Don Aslett, a cleaning guru, authored several excellent cleaning books that can be searched for on the Internet.

Another training tool developed for a cleaning operation called “A Pail Full of Training,” may also be helpful. My web site,, will take you to that information.

Good Luck and Happy Writing!
Rose Galera, CEH

Developing a housekeeping operations manual

Clean Talk with Rose
By Rose Galera, CEH
Hawaii Hospitality Magazine, Jul/Aug 2011

Hi Rose,
Please provide information on developing a housekeeping operations manual. Suggestions on contents for a manual will be most helpful.

Aloha BK,
Creating a comprehensive housekeeping operations manual is a challenging process. It should include procedures, policies, systems of control, training programs and more. Once completed, it will set a positive tone for the department. A few key, recommended areas are listed here. Add or delete to enhance your department’s manual.

  • Orientation — a. about the property/company, b. organizational chart, c. floor plans
  • Position Descriptions
  • Task Lists
  • Work Schedules
  • Training Programs — a. management; b. supervisory; c. front line; d. orientation – new employee; e. OSHA required training: safety training, universal precaution – bloodborne pathogen, hazard communication – employee right to know
  • Policies & Procedures — a. standards & services, b. quality control, c. safety & security,
    d. health & wellness, e. lost & found, f. guest services, g. housekeeping rooms control, h. inventory/ cost control, i. equipment control, j. chemical control, k. linen control, l. uniform control, m. inspection procedures, n. health & wellness, o. educational training & upward mobility
  • Cleaning Processes — a. guest room, b. bathroom, c. kitchen, d. public restrooms,
    e. floor care & maintenance, f. carpet care & maintenance, g. project cleaning/recycling programs, h. night turndown services
  • Reports & Records — a. daily room report, b. daily cleaning reports, c. employee evaluation, d. inspection reports, e. incidents & accidents, f. housekeeping budget.

Enjoy & Good Luck,
Rose Galera

Easy training ideas

Clean Talk with Rose
By Rose Galera, CEH
Hawaii Hospitality Magazine, May/June 2011

Hello Rose,
Keeping up with the training of housekeeping frontline and supervisory employees is always a challenge because of the daily workload and limited training time. Please share any easy training ideas you may have.

Aloha Evelyn,
In all types of housekeeping operations where training is often overlooked and/or placed on a lower priority – because of time and cost – creativity is essential. Ongoing training for housekeeping employees is an important motivation booster because of the redundancy of the work performed.

Daily morning training briefings of 15-20 minutes on educational and informative topics is a successful approach to training. Topics can be set and listed under various categories as: cleaning exercises, cleaning technology, safety and security, culture, health and wellness, human relations, legal updates and self development. Consider training also to enhance the learning processes for supervisors and assistants. Topics should apply to daily tasks of the job, customer service and relations, life values and principles, cultural diversity and more. One fun topic is teaching employees “How to Smile” using the English and/or Hawaiian vowels of A, E, I, O, U. The fun and enjoyment is in seeing the various facial expressions.

Develop creative training exercises, games and quizzes on a single sheet of paper that can also add fun, humor and enjoyment to the training process and starting of the work day. Frontline employees and supervisors should be familiar with the many and various interesting topics that will make their jobs and everyday life exciting and rewarding. Consider what I would call the “ASK” training. After all, training on Attitudes, Skills and Knowledge are important for successful results. Follow all briefings/training sessions with ASKing questions.

With each presentation, provide a handout produced from the master copy. A “Topic of the Week” posted on a bulletin board is also recommended. Keep in mind that in giving of information, you will get back results of high morale, motivation and productivity.

Good luck and best wishes for happy training.

Rose Galera

Chemical-free cleaning

Clean Talk with Rose
By Rose Galera, CEH
Hawaii Hospitality Magazine, Mar/Apr 2011

Hello Rose,
I attended training with a speaker from Canada on cleaning practices that warned of disinfectants as a cleaning health problem. I’m now reviewing cleaning programs for safety and health concerns. What, if any, tips can you share?

Aloha Trina,
Cleaning for health, safety of people and the environment are top industry concerns. I have been working on a renewable cleaning program and chemical-free cleaning for two years, and have since been introduced to the science and chemistry of ionized water and the conversion of tap water into a powerful cleaner, resulting in my piloting of cleaning processes to create a healthy and safe environment, for best and sustainable results, for schools and all other facilities.

The cleaning risks of toxic chemicals is a concern today. Many institutional and household cleaners still used today contain harmful toxic chemicals, such as ammonia, phenol, ethanol, formaldehyde, butane or propane. Such chemicals have a significant impact on people’s health and the environment. Chemical-free cleaning, as a process, is actively introduced to our industry through programs as renewable cleaning and other similar systems. Renewable cleaning is the removal, inactivation and/or proper disposal of contaminants, pollutants, particles, pathogens and chemical residues to restore our indoor environments to an original or desired condition. Water is a key medium for renewable cleaning as it is a universal resource, is benign, nonpolluting and naturally replenished. Renewable cleaning works like nature does and employs parallel methods. Renewable cleaning conserves resources (both eco and financial), is an organized green cleaning program, and focuses on using eco-friendly products and practices to create a healthier environment and to establish a Code of Best Cleaning Practices.

Renewable cleaning, once adopted with proper training, will advance the “Value of Clean” for your operation in 2011 and beyond.

Good luck,
Rose Galera, C.E.H.

The Hidden Paycheck

Clean Talk with Rose
By Rose Galera, CEH
Hawaii Hospitality Magazine, Nov/Dec 2010

Hi Rose,
Some years ago you presented a budget workshop that briefly covered the “hidden paycheck.” You indicated that it enhanced employee morale and productivity. Given the economy today, training on the topic may be a morale booster. Please share any updates in an article.

Aloha PL,
The “hidden paycheck” information shared since the mid-1980s was and still is one of my favorite “Did You Know?” training topics. So many today are still not in the know!

What is a hidden paycheck? A hidden paycheck is the cost of benefits and perks that are either required by law, a result of employment or union negotiated contract, or employer choice to provide, that employees receive, paid for by the employer and are not fully reflected on paychecks or stubs.

Not all companies have the same benefits or perks. There are company variations. The following are examples: temporary disability insurance (TDI), unemployment contributions, workers’ compensation, FICA (Social Security, 6.2 percent), Medicare (1.45 percent), and medical insurance – all of which are required by law, as well as vacation and sick leave pay, life insurance, uniforms, laundering/dry cleaning of uniforms, meals, paid lunch break, bonus, profit sharing, retirement funds (401K) and others.

When a person questions negatively on pay rates received, being informed of the hidden paycheck will raise informative insights on an employer’s responsibilities, challenges and care of operating a business. One may not see the amount in a regular paycheck, but all that is provided and paid for as the burden rate are definite financial benefits for as long as one is employed. Depending on one’s employment status, the cost of a hidden paycheck to the employer may range from 20 percent to 60 percent or more, so a $10 hourly rate of pay may represent an additional amount of $2 to $6 per hour. Consider the following questions: 1) Would I as an employee be willing to pay for the hidden benefits that I receive from my employer on my own? 2) Do I know what the real dollar cost factors that are in my hidden paycheck?

More often than not, good things come in “hidden” packages! Happy Holidays!

Mahalo, Rose

Developing a Cleaning I&R Library

Clean Talk with Rose
By Rose Galera, CEH
Hawaii Hospitality Magazine, Sept/Oct 2010

Aloha Rose,
Please share smart moves for developing a Cleaning I&R (Information & Referral) Library. I’m new to the profession and need help.

Aloha JR,
The tips below may be helpful.

Building productive I&R files and library:
• Sharpen skills and abilities
* assess your present situation
* build on your strengths and weaknesses
* invest in educational programs
* practice self development

• Plan an educational I&R filing system
* develop a filing system, manual or computerized
* set up information by categories, subject type folders
* file in alpha order, establish working folders
* purge when necessary

• Work toward building a reference library
* maintain a reference list of publishers
* join a book club at a bookstore
* suggest books as gifts from friends and families
* visit the bookstore or Google regularly

• Keep abreast of trends and technology
* subscribe to and read industry magazines
* extract articles and information
* join a professional trade association like I.E.H.A.
* attend seminars and conventions

• Practice creative swiping
* be a copycat
* collect handouts from meetings and workshops
* practice taking notes
* review, read all information gathered

• Put information and ideas to use
* share information with employees and staff members
* develop training programs with information gathered
* believe in the process of ongoing training
* develop and maintain, to motivate, a “story board” bulletin board.

Happy Housekeepers Week! Good Luck, Rose

Housekeeping department efficiencies

Clean Talk with Rose
By Rose Galera, CEH
Hawaii Hospitality Magazine, Jul/Aug 2010

Hi Rose,
Finding ways to be more efficient in our hotel housekeeping operations within the current economy has been an everyday task. Any ideas or suggestions you can share?
Frugal Fanny

Aloha FF,
Developing a “Cleaning Systems of Control” program of “Doing more with Less, Synergy and Sustainability” are smart management approaches. Standardization, consolidation and building of a power base are key factors. Following are suggestions for the tough times ahead.

Labor – Staffing Methodology:
• Review daily staffing requirements, working with actual occupancies. Plan cleaning programs in line with occupancies, apply versatility and flexibility.

• Conduct on the job performance reviews and evaluations.

• Encourage increase in productivity with a focus on quality.

• Review cleaning standards and frequencies. Determine areas that may be temporarily or permanently eliminated without adverse impact on guest satisfaction, quality and value.

• Stress organization and daily cleanup to eliminate unnecessary follow-up work. Foster attitudes of proprietorship and preparation. Practice MBWA (management by walking around). “Talk and Walk the Talk” visits to praise, encourage, motivate, boost morale and productivity and for on the spot training. Look for what is right, not wrong!

• Review and if necessary change hours of operation to improve efficiency and effectiveness.

• Implement energy control programs.

• Train through daily mini briefings.

Supplies and Equipments:
• Review and control all cleaning supplies, products and equipments used.

• Highly consider new trends such as electrolyzed water cleaning technology to reduce chemical cost.

• Highly consider microfiber cloths and flat mop cleaning technology and back pack vacuuming systems to increase efficiency, speed and quality cleaning.

Good Luck!

Mahalo! Rose Galera