The Cleaning Routine – top tips for changeover day!

The Cleaning Routine. You won’t realise how much you need a Cleaning Routine until you suddenly have a manic Friday morning with guests departing and arriving whilst you’re still stuck in a bathroom wearing your rubber gloves. Unless you want room change day to take over your life, you need a cleaning routine.  I moved into my hotel at a busy time of year – and the cleaning involved knocked me for six! I was used to my compact three bed semi detached with a top to bottom cleaning blitz once a week…nothing could have prepared me for the continual onslaught of hoovering, dusting, mopping, laundering! I seemed to do nothing but strip and clean rooms, hoover, polish, clean bathrooms… rinse and repeat for FIVE WHOLE MONTHS until the final guest checked out at the end of October. It was only when I invited some of my neighbouring hoteliers round for a well deserved end of season drink that I discovered just how different everyone’s cleaning routines were.

‘Cleaning Routine’ appeared to be a subject which had never cropped up before in our hotelier’s group. It was easy to assume that everyone did things in the same way, that everyone was managing okay and that ABSOLUTELY NO ONE had a caffiene fuelled 40 mph sprint with a hoover in one hand and a laundry bag in the other on check out/in day. Well I was the first to admit it… at one of our regular neighbourly Bar Chat’s , I casually mentioned that I found the cleaning a bit of a challenge… well, more of a 24/7 challenge to be honest! This opened up a long conversation about how differently each of us managed our daily schedules.

The ‘Cleaning Routine’ conversation turned into a Bar Chat ‘Tips & Tricks’ chat (spectacularly enhanced by the ‘end of season surplus alcohol’..) So, here’s our Clean Routine Tips and Tricks – cleaning lifehacks for hoteliers!

  • Check out and check in times – Check Out and Check In Day- The busiest day of your week, weekends can be manic! You will have guests to serve breakfast to before you start to turn rooms. The best tip we came up with for this is to adjust your check out and check in time. It’s pointless for you to fly round to each room with your cleaning kit only to find your guests have gone back to bed for a quick snooze. The previous owner of my hotel had a check out time of MID DAY!! I changed that to 10.30 check out and 3pm check in for new arrivals, leaving my hubby downstairs to deal with departing and arriving guests.
  • Prioritise which rooms to clean first – family rooms will take longer, especially if there are bunk beds to wrestle with fitted sheets (bunk beds.. a necessary evil I suppose…. but NEVER AGAIN!! Too many sprains and twists incurred changing bedding on the top bunk).
  • Get a ‘Trolley’ – I would NEVER have imagined how useful this could be but one of my neighbours had a small tea trolley. Light enough to carry down the stairs, not one of the huge metal types. She started the cleaning by loading the trolley with a bag for used bedding and towels, a list pinned to the side of which rooms to do and the order to do them in, the bedding for each room and cleaning materials. Once she had finished the cleaning she would reload it with replenishment items such as cups, beverages, loo rolls etc.
  • Same cleaning routine for each room – if you have a step by step routine, you can be certain you haven’t missed anything. My routine was as follows; open all windows and wedge the door open. Turn on the fan if you have one. Strip beds, put bedding, bathroom towels and shower mats in laundry bag. Squirt toilet cleaner down the loo. Remove bins, cups  and teaspoons, empty the kettle and rinse it out a few times. Sprinkle carpet freshener. Clean bathroom, sweep and mop floor. In the bedroom, wipe all flat surfaces (these shouldn’t be too dusty if the room is in regular use as your Cleaning Routine should stop it building up), including top of wardrobe if you have one, picture rails, mirror frames -don’t skip any surfaces, you would be surprised how often a guest will do a ‘dust search’ before unpacking,- polish surfaces, clean mirrors. Hoover main bedroom – if it’s a divan bed, push it over to the other side of the room so you can hoover under it. Open all cupboards and drawers – get the hoover nozzle into the corner of the drawers and cupboards. Make the beds up.
  • Once you have cleaned the first few rooms, load up the trolley with replenishments for each room – tea, coffee, sugar, milk. Wrap fresh cups in a small plastic bag (I used small freezer bags). Refill bathroom with loo rolls, towels, shower mats, guest soaps etc.
  • FINALLY – have a good look around. I don’t mean stand at the door and have a glance – stay in the room, start at the door and work your way round checking as you go. It’s easy to miss simple things such as a crack in the hospitality tray, or that you haven’t put bin liners in the bins. A quick check right round the room will ensure you have ticked all boxes!

This cleaning routine worked for me but it was a few months before I was able to  compare the benefit of a fixed routine to the chaotic cleaning during my first few months as a hotelier. The cleaning can take over your entire life if you allow it to – have a chat with your neighbours, see how they manage it. Try my ‘same routine for each room’ as detailed above – it is simple but effective

And…just when you thought it was all over, don’t forget there’s hallways, stairs, dining room, lounge and bar which need cleaning too….enjoy!