There are many different versions of a clean hotel room. Here’s the way I clean a hotel room.

Clean a Hotel Room Correctly

I was 19 when I got my first hotel job as a room cleaner. My second hotel position came only 5 months later, a chambermaid (does anyone still use that term?) at the Halifax Hilton and it was probably there that I learned how to clean a hotel room in detail.

In both jobs, it was the norm for housekeeping supervisors to check the work of the staff. This method kept us cleaners on our toes. There was simply no room for error or laziness. It didn’t stop me from watching MuchMusic (when Smells Like Teen Spirit and Achy Breaky Heart were hot on the charts)  or taking my time folding towels to waste time if I was ahead of schedule (we were each given 14 rooms per day to clean). But what I’m saying is, I learned lifelong skills and habits from career cleaners. To this day, I use those lessons at home, at work and when I travel.

As a traveller, I do inspect hotel rooms for cleanliness when I check-in and as a sometimes cash-poor writer, I still clean hotel rooms on occasion. So, the lessons were, and are, helpful to my daily life. And I hope this post about how to clean a hotel room will be helpful to hotel staff and travellers alike.

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First rule of hotel housekeeping

Every respectful hotel cleaner will knock and announce themselves ( say HOUSEKEEPING) at least twice before unlocking a guest’s door and then again upon entry. As a traveller, if you do not want housekeeping staff to knock on your door, hang the DO NOT DISTURB sign on the outside door handle.

travel size bathroom shampoos and soaps with a pink flower and face cloths on a tray. How to clean a hotel room.
How to Clean a Hotel Room

Hotel cleaning: a step-by-step guide

To keep things simple, here’s a numbered list of steps to take when cleaning a hotel room. If you’re a hotel guest, you can use this as a guide to know what should have been cleaned before you checked in.

Clean a hotel room bedroom

  1. Strip the beds of all sheets and pillowcases. Inspect mattress and pillow protectors; blankets and quilts for stains. Change when necessary. Sorry travellers but these items are not changed between each guest (I wish they were).
  2. Make the bed by laying the bottom sheet over the mattress. Tuck the sheet at the top end of the bed only. This will secure the sheet so it does not “come loose” when the guest is in bed. Next, lay down the top sheet. Lay down the blanket. If the triple sheet method if used, apply that over top of everything. Now, tuck the sheets and the blanket all together on 3 sides of the bed, with hospital corners at the bottom. There is NO need to round that bed more than once or twice. Smooth the quilt, duvet, doona, whatever is being used on top, over the bed and make it look nice and neat. Stand fluffed, freshly covered pillows at the head of the bed. Apply bed accessories (footers and throw pillows) as per hotel decor.
  3. Empty the rubbish bins. If there is dry garbage only, use gloved hands to remove and save a plastic bag. Use discretion here.
  4. Dust all furniture and picture frames with a slightly damp, clean cloth.
  5. Wipe baseboards and spot clean walls if needed.
  6. Check balcony for rubbish and lock sliding glass door.
  7. Sanitise the TV remote and telephone with the supplied cleaning product on a dry cloth. Do the same with the fridge, if the room has one.
  8. Spot clean bedroom mirror and windows. Full window cleaning is usually done monthly or seasonally.
  9. Replenish all guest room amenities: tissues, stationery, coffee, tea, sugar and milk.
  10. Wash glasses and coffee mugs in the bathroom with hot water and soap. Dry with a clean tea towel.
  11. Check all drawers and wardrobes for items that may have been left behind. Push hangers to one side of the closet. Check extra pillows and blankets for use and neatness.
  12. Vacuum the floor, including under the bed(s).

Hotel bathroom cleaning 101

“Even one hair is unacceptable” ~ Arlene, my supervisor at the Halifax Hilton in 1991/92

I personally don’t believe that strong chemicals are needed throughout the bathroom but for simplicity, I will go with standard hotel practice here.

  1. Remove all used towels.
  2. Discard all used soap, shampoo and lotion.
  3. Empty the bin.
  4. Check toilet paper levels. If less than 1/3 left on the roll, replace with a new roll and fold to make a neat triangle. Keep the unused roll for use in hotel staff bathrooms. Be sure there is a spare roll in the bathroom too.
  5. Clean the mirror with clean water. Dry with a streak-free micro-fibre cloth. Enjo is best if you have it.
  6. Spray the sink, bathtub, shower and toilet with supplied cleaner. Go light. Chemicals are harsh on skin, lungs and the environment.
  7. Use a clean, wet cloth to wipe (and scrub if necessary) the sink, bench-tops, bathtub and shower tiles. Check shower grout for mould. Rinse excess cleaner, then dry all surfaces with a clean, dry cloth/rag.
  8. Do the same with the toilet, inside and out. Any cloth used on the toilet must not be used on any other surfaces.
  9. Wipe down bathroom walls when soiled or splashed.
  10. Fold clean towels and bathmat to the hotel’s standards and place either in the bathroom or on the beds.
  11. Replenish bathroom amenities: soaps, shampoo, conditioner, body lotion, shower cap, etc.
  12. Scan the bathroom surfaces for hair. Be sure to remove any stray hairs you may have missed during cleaning.
  13. Wipe the floor tiles with a damp cloth. Mops just spread dirty water and bacteria around. They should not be used.
Don't get in a @GordonRamsay Hotel Hell situation. Here's how a hotel room should be cleaned between guests. " Click To Tweet

This should about do it. Lock the door as you leave and you’re done and ready to tackle the next room. Whether you’re a hotel cleaner or an avid traveller, the importance of a clean hotel room cannot be stressed enough. Gordon Ramsey should give me a call if he’s ever in need of a stickler.