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

Green cleaning

Clean Talk with Rose
By Rose Galera, CEH
Hawaii Hospitality Magazine, May/June 2010

Aloha Rose,
At a 2007 IEHA (International Executive Housekeepers Association) education program, you introduced a tool that electrically charges water into a cleaning solution that kills germs. Do you have updates on both topics to assist on green cleaning?
Mahalo, Leo

Aloha Leo,
The Professional Cleaning Institute of Hawaii (PCIH) in March 2010 sponsored two green cleaning seminars on “Solving the Green Cleaning Puzzle” by Green Guru Stephen Ashkin. Specific to hotels, the following green goals were shared.

1) Understand concepts of sustainability and green cleaning, that the goal of green is to reduce health and environmental impacts on people and the environment.

2) That caring for the building, the people and the environment is an act of stewardship, a core tenet of green cleaning.

3) Form a green team to include the: general manager, housekeeping, restaurant, laundry, front desk, sales and marketing, engineering, recycling coordinator, vendors and others.

4) Conduct baseline surveys and analyze data on: chemicals, paper, general conditions, building exterior, entryways, liners, equipment, storage areas, procedures, other products, waste management, recycling and pest management.

5) Understand the practical application of sustainability and the triple bottom line.

The tool you mentioned has been improved. The new IONATOR EXP kills H1N1 without the use of toxic chemicals. It cleans, leaves no chemical residue and eliminates the H1N1 influenza A virus in seconds. It performs as good as or better than traditional general-purpose chemicals at cleaning.

Good Luck!
Mahalo, Rose Galera, CEH

IEHA certification

Clean Talk with Rose
By Rose Galera, CEH
Hawaii Hospitality Magazine, Mar/Apr 2010

Aloha Rose,
Please provide information on why and how one may become certified as an executive housekeeper. I am interested and considering pursuing this status.
Mahalo, VM

Aloha VM,
Your interest in wanting to pursue certification in the field of institutional housekeeping is commendable. As one who has been in the profession for more than 40 years and certified for 32 years, career and professional benefits and rewards received are results of certification. It must be a definite goal for all in professional cleaning management today and a highly recommended employment requirement by businesses.

Education is a top priority at the International Executive Housekeepers Association, Inc. (IEHA). Two special designations offered by IEHA are REH and CEH. When attained they are definite milestones of achievement in the profession of “Cleaning for Health.”

The status of CEH, certified executive housekeeper, and REH, registered executive housekeeper, can be attained through self study and/or group class study programs.

The program consists of management, technical and administrative skills. Each study module is designed to maximize learning. Each module has a review study exam to complete. Grading is done by the IEHA.

IEHA will provide all resource materials including the final exam. There are two series: the “Managing for Effect Series” and the “Technical and Administrative Series.” Cost for the full program includes a one-year IEHA membership for nonmembers and discounts for members.

For additional information on the IEHA certification programs and classes, you may call me at (808) 944-8255 or e-mail

Mahalo, Rose Galera, CEH

Cleaning cloths, microfiber

Clean Talk with Rose
By Rose Galera, CEH
Hawaii Hospitality Magazine, Jan/Feb 2010

Hi Rose,
What should cleaning professionals consider important in cleaning for health and cleaning as a science?
Mahalo, Miko

Aloha Miko,
Many cleaning professionals will agree that the most important tool is the cleaning cloth. Yet, why do many still call it a “rag”?

The dictionary defines cloth as “a piece of fabric used for a specific purpose.” It defines rag as “a worthless piece of cloth.”

A professional cleaning cloth should by no means be considered worthless. This valuable tool should rightfully be called a “professional cleaning cloth.” One in good condition will reduce cleaning time and improve the cleaning process dramatically. Edges should be hemmed, and the best sizes generally recommended are 11×11, 13×13 and 15×15. Properly folded, it can provide a maximum of 16 cleaning sides.

Cleaning cloths generally are taken for granted without much thought given to their type, use, care, cleaning processes, rotation of and budget inclusion.

The most phenomenal, efficient and effective cleaning cloths today are the super and ultra microfiber cloths. They collect more particles of dirt and enhance germ kill more than any other fabric known. Their cost is absorbed by their ability to perform outstandingly; they also do not require the use of chemicals, are environmentally safe and leave behind no chemical residue. A “green” cleaning tool is beneficial to everyone, especially allergy and chemically sensitive individuals.

As a cleaning professional, I have worked with and promoted microfiber technology for nearly 10 years and highly recommend it.

Consider this: A cleaning cloth is to a professional cleaner like a paintbrush is to a professional painter. It is the professional tool of the trade.

Communication, motivating and morale building

Clean Talk with Rose
By Rose Galera, CEH
Hawaii Hospitality Magazine, Nov/Dec 2009

Hi Rose,
With a slumping economy important training is on hold. What one hot topic would you suggest as a briefing message to boost morale, confidence and motivation?
Thank You,

Aloha MM,
I recently attended an excellent Disney leadership workshop that was highly motivational. Inspiring passion, confidence and interest in others are the continued challenges of a leader. Ongoing communication is an essential tool.

As a supervisor or manager, are you “communicating” or are you just telling others what to do?

To succeed in business, you need all the communication skills you can master. This includes language, spoken and written, and nonverbal expressions. Emotions and gestures often communicate unspoken messages.

But your first step toward communication success is the art of listening! Listen not only with your ears, listen also with your eyes. You can hear a lot just by observing. So often we hear only what we wish to hear.

The following is a five-step formula for communicating powerfully:

1. Be friendly, be happy – communicate instructions in a friendly and caring way.

2. Keep it simple – be clear and concise.

3. Not just what, but why – explain not just what is to be done, but why the action is taken.

4. Get feedback – ask for questions or suggestions. Have instructions given repeated back.

5. Follow-up – monitor the activity, see if instructions have been followed. Ask for a report.

Managers and supervisors communicate daily, so work to improve daily.

Two key “take aways” for me from the Disney workshop were: 1) bring happiness to the lives of people regardless of age and culture, and in doing so, 2) create magic to enhance those lives.

Building on skills and abilities

Clean Talk with Rose
By Rose Galera, CEH
Hawaii Hospitality Magazine, Sept/Oct 2009

Aloha Rose,
As a newcomer to hotel housekeeping, my manager suggested that I work on building my skills and abilities. What information can you share?
A Short-Timer

Dear ST,
Management has realized the importance of having highly skilled, knowledgeable and well-trained personnel in charge of housekeeping. Housekeeping managers must be progressive and current in their thinking and must know that continual training, education and Continuous Process Improvement (CPI) are the only means to keep up to date with new techniques, products and information.

An assessment is important to determine areas and needs for self-development and self-improvement. Considering the following in the various categories, how would you rate yourself?

Administrative: planning, organizing, controlling, directing, budgeting and purchasing.

Personnel management: leadership, supervision, interviewing, counseling and discipline, performance evaluation, problem solving, labor management relations, human relations and cultural diversity/sensitivity.

Communication: written and verbal skills, making presentations, developing procedure manuals, planning /conducting group meetings.

Training: assessment, program development, skills training, supervisory training, orientation training, attitudinal training, safety training, basic legal issue updates, guest relations training and specialized training: HazCom, blood-borne, etc.

Technical knowledge: cleaning techniques, laundry operations, product and equipment knowledge, workflow, work process analysis, systems of control, time to task, procedures development, staffing and scheduling, being computer literate, office equipment usage, environmental laws and waste management.

Other: innovation, creativity, humor, team building, interdepartmental relations, networking, CPI, benchmarking, best practices, basic cleanomics (economics of cleaning) and payroll management.

On July 22, the Professional Cleaning Institute of Hawaii (PCIH) opened its doors for all in the field. It would be helpful to check out the various classes. Good luck!

Ever Higher Standards: 25 Years in Housekeeping

By Rose Galera, CEH
Hawaii Hospitality Magazine, Jul/Aug 2009

Looking back 25 years ago, there have been many years filled with exciting learning experiences and rewarding opportunities working in Hawaii’s hospitality industry as an executive housekeeper and later as a contract cleaning consultant and training specialist.

Exactly 25 years ago in 1984, as the corporate executive housekeeper for Aston Hotels & Resorts, I was setting up the housekeeping operations for the opening of the 596-room Waikiki Hobron Hotel, which today operates as a condominium. Later that same year, housekeeping assignments took me to the plush Aston Waikiki Beach Tower to set up for the opening of 100 beautiful condo resort suites. The years followed with many more Aston openings and management takeover assignments on the mainland during 1987 to 1990 and to the neighbor islands from 1988 to 1991. There have since been other management takeover changes and property name changes.

Enhanced housekeeping technologies today through chemicals, tools and equipment, personnel, training and cleaning processes better service our Hawaii visitors and provide and insure for the unforgettable experiences of our aloha and ohana spirit.

In 1999, microfiber cleaning technology via professional cleaning cloths and flat mops were introduced to members of the International Executive Housekeepers Association, Hawaii chapter, at a chapter meeting. Interest and acceptance by housekeeping managers then were at a low and slow acceptance pace. In the past, common practice was to cut up and serge the edges of old and damaged terry and bed linens to create the key tool of the trade — a housekeeping cleaning cloth that was referred to, back then, as a “cleaning rag.”

Though it took awhile, today microfiber is highly utilized at many facilities. In the past, one would see room attendants on their hands and knees scrubbing and cleaning bathroom floors. Increased promotions and advertisements on the green movement, improvement in germ kill time of cleaning disinfectants and chemicals, and increased training and emphasis on hand-washing techniques, personal protective equipment and processes have seen cleaning results increase to higher standards. Green cleaning also has impacted guest room bath and bed linen changes, thus resulting in higher standards for in-house and off-premise laundry operations and services.

Other noted changes in hotel housekeeping operations today are mattress sizes, bed linen designs, thread counts and finished bed presentations. Duvets with enhanced coverlets are replacing bedspreads, and pillow counts per bed have increased in many hotels and resorts.

Most recently, housekeeping managers of the IEHA, Hawaii chapter, have been introduced to a new professional cleaning tool called Activeion. Tap water in a filled high-tech bottle is electrically charged and changes into an effective cleaning solution, which is approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and tested with high germ kill results. Field tests were performed by many IEHA members. High schools have begun to show interest in Activeion for food management and service programs, health rooms and housekeeping special education life skills. A few high schools have since purchased the tool for students to use due to its safe, sanitizing and user-friendly results, as it does not require MSDS or HazCom training. Another new tool being introduced today is a germ measurement device, referred to as ATP (adenosine triphosphate) measuring of organic contamination. With higher concerns toward viruses, cleaning for health and safety comes before cleaning for aesthetics. The concerns of bacteria, viruses, parasites, fungi and bed bugs require enhanced cleaning processes and implementation of best practices.

As a training specialist and consultant, I have noticed that training in cleaning programs, trends, technology and guest services has increased. With career development and placement programs in our high schools, focusing on travel industry management, food service and hotel housekeeping programs, we will be able to prepare for the betterment of a new workforce generation for our hospitality industry. To further enhance training and learning opportunities, in the very near future, a Professional Cleaning Institute of Hawaii will soon be an integral body of our Hawaii educational settings.

Yes, 25 years have brought many challenging and rewarding opportunities and new changes to the hospitality industry and professional housekeeping. We must continue to move on to remain at the leading edge of tourism.

Ideas to improve productivity

Clean Talk with Rose
By Rose Galera, CEH
Hawaii Hospitality Magazine, May/June 2009

Aloha Rose,
At our hotel, we are reviewing guest room and other cleaning results and are seeking ideas to improve productivity and maintain effectiveness and quality. What ideas can you recommend?

Aloha CEH:
Work-loading process comes to mind. It’s a systematic approach to determine the hours required to clean an area. With time standards, it considers how many minutes each task will take. It yields close to realistic results of manpower requirements, translated into dollars.

The first step is determining production rates — the times required to complete particular tasks under normal conditions and include job costing, time to task, work measurements and methodology.

Labor is the largest expense. Factors that impact productivity are lack of training, problems and disciplines in processes, and improper supplies and tools.

Variables that affect production rates include amount of space, equipment, frequency of duties, climate, population density, facility activities, time of day, chemicals, supplies and personnel.

Calculating methods include actual testing; time to task analysis; square foot production per hour, per day; by unit method, work by area, piece, daily par levels; counting method, time applied to fixtures, furniture, etc.; benchmarking survey reports; the ISSA 447 Cleaning Times booklet; and benchmarking information from similar facilities.

Examples of information gained are: guest room cleaning, 16.8 minutes per 200 square feet by ISSA 447 Cleaning Times; standard hotel room, 25.15 minutes by Daniels Associates; and hotel room cleaning, 13-15 rooms per eight hour day by CMI Survey.

Information shared here is from studies and hands-on experiences during property openings, operational changes and consulting performed at diverse types of facilities. Mahalo!

What makes a housekeeping operation successful

Clean Talk with Rose
By Rose Galera, CEH
Hawaii Hospitality Magazine, Mar/Apr 2009

Aloha Rose,
Please share with a new rooms manager your thoughts on what makes a housekeeping operation successful.
Mahalo, NRM

Aloha NRM,
Knowledge in the triad of housekeeping operations — administration, management and technology — is key to operational and individual success. Budgeting is one process that every housekeeping manager must face. In some hotels, it is placed as an accounting function, and unfortunately, the entire budgeting process is assigned to the accounting department; or, the general or rooms manager prepares it. The housekeeping manager thus loses the opportunity, in part, to manage and control the department’s operations. Success is in the ability to prepare a budget; to review, analyze and adjust it; and discuss the variances, needs and financial results of the department. Also important is creativity in implementing best cleaning practices and developing and implementing an operations manual. The following are a sampling of controls to ensure success.

Budgeting/purchasing: preopening, operational, capital; costs: labor, materials, equipment, service; labor: workload, flow, scheduling, methodology, training; quality: performance, guest relations, inspection processes; linens, uniforms: inventory, issuing, cleaning; rooms: work assignments, cleaning and service processes; keys: inventory, sign in/ out process; safety, security: accidents, incident reporting, training, lost and found; environment: recycling, indoor air quality; inventory: equipment, tools, chemicals; energy conservation: air-conditioning systems, utilities.

Talking and walking the talk above is a sure path to success.

Mahalo and good luck!