Cleaning systems; mattress turnover project

Clean Talk with Rose
By Rose Galera, CEH
Hawaii Hospitality Magazine, Jul/Aug 2007

Aloha Rose,
As someone new to hotel housekeeping, I wanted to gain information on the various types of cleaning systems and/or approaches that may be applied to guest room cleaning.
A Novice EH

Dear Novice,
Your question sends a message that you may be part of the new breed to professional housekeeping. The following are diverse approaches to guest room cleaning that I have worked with over the years.

a) Zone Cleaning: The traditional system used in most hotels. A room cleaner works alone, assigned to a set quota of rooms daily with a set number of checkout rooms. This process requires tools, a vacuum and a housekeeping cart for each worker.

b) Team Cleaning: Two or more people work together with specialty assignments for a set number of rooms. This process requires tools, a vacuum and a housekeeping cart for the team. A dual cart process may apply with one cart for all clean linens and amenities and another for soiled linens. This process positively impacts the hotel’s capital expense budget.

c) The Efficiency Cleaning System (TECS): A teaming approach that applies best practices of microfiber, backpack vacuuming and steam/ vapor cleaning. An excellent system once learned, mastered and executed, it will result in positive outcomes in productivity, quality and cost efficiencies.

d) Piece Work: One or two people have cleaning credits based on units cleaned. This seasonal-type system has been applied to places like ski resorts during the winter.

e) Contract Cleaning Service: Outsourcing of the daily guest room cleaning and /or project-type cleaning, such as annual deep cleaning or carpet shampooing, done by an outside company. Planning, developing, piloting, and initial and ongoing training are key ingredients to the success of any of these systems. Implementation is best done in phases. Good luck!

Dear Rose,
I am working on a project cleaning procedure for turning over mattresses. I would appreciate any information you can provide.
Big Island EH

Dear EH,
The following may be helpful to you in caring for your property’s beds. Mattresses today are designed with the utmost sleeping comfort in mind and are thicker, heavier and with more upholstery materials than in the past. Always plan this as a two-person project for safety.

Key points to be aware of when caring for mattresses and box springs:
1) New mattresses, because of their materials, outgas odors, which is a natural occurrence.

2) Vacuum and air mattresses regularly, in between stripping and makeup, to help their natural fibers breathe.

3) Protect mattresses with good and well-fitted bed/mattress pads.

4) Encourage even mattress wear by turning and flipping it regularly, monthly or quarterly. Record keeping is highly recommended.

5) Never fold or bend the mattress.

6) Turning a mattress from head to foot and flipping it like a pancake is a good preventative measure for its longevity. This should be scheduled as a cleaning project.

7) The box spring should be turned from head to foot at least once every six months.

8) During this process, it is good to damp dust and sanitize the frames and legs that hold the box spring and mattress. It is important to check the edgings, bindings, quilting and folds during the vacuuming process.

9) Annually steam cleaning the mattresses is recommended.

Turning and flipping steps:
1) Mattresses should be vacuumed, turned and flipped over regularly. Backpack vacuums are excellent for mattress vacuuming. A mattress should be turned both side to side and end over end to balance wear.

2) All new mattresses should be turned over at least once every two weeks for the first two months. Hotel bed manufacturers are known to mark the end of the beds with months of the year to assist in the turning and flipping process.

3) Regular turning and flipping of hotel mattresses is recommended at least once every two months or quarterly, depending on the type and quality of the bed and the hotel’s occupancy.

4) For safety and to safeguard damage, mattress turning and flipping should be done by two people. Handles on the mattress are to guide them in place after flipping; they are not to be used to carry the mattress.

Good luck on a successful mattress care program.

Posted in Clean Talk Columns.

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