Have you ever wondered just how clean your hotel room is? Hotel rooms are public places, and you are sharing them with other people (albeit not at the same time). Trevor from the Hawksmoor Guest House Windermere, who has over 10 years experience in the industry, gives you some tips on how to check how clean your room really is.
Run your hands over the lamp shades. If there is dust on them, then it is possible the room hasn’t been cleaned properly. While you are by the lamps, run your hands over the lamp’s base as well. Do the same to the tops of any picture frames or mirrors – dust equals not a proper clean.
The next place to look is inside the dresser and bedside drawers. If you find the drawers have not been properly cleaned, the housekeeper is only lightly cleaning between guests as opposed to making sure all surfaces and furniture are properly clean.
Under the bed or sofa you can find a whole host of interesting items, including socks, food, nail clippings,underwear and many more unpleasant items, particularly if the room hasn’t been properly inspected or cleaned.
Look at the table and chairs – check the underside of both the table and chairs for dirt and chewing gum. Also check the table top and seats to make sure that they have been cleaned too.
Next, inspect the curtains and window sills for dust. The cleanliness of a window sill tells you a lot about how well the room is maintained. If you find a lot of dust, dirt, debris or other things, you will more than likely find that the rest of the room is in similar shape.
Open and close the curtains and run your hands along the edges and pleats. You’ll also want to inspect the air conditioning unit’s or heater’s filter (if your room has one). It is something that is often overlooked when cleaning.
In the rest of the bedroom, you’ll find many other surfaces to inspect, including anywhere high dust could gather as well as in the corner and edges of the carpet (but we’ll come back to the carpet later).
Check every surface the previous guests may have touched to ascertain whether the maid has cleaned between hotel room guests or not. Doorknobs and cabinet handles especially, are often neglected areas in hotel rooms – many hands have touched these items but a housekeeper’s cleaning routine rarely even mentions them!
The item you will want to be most wary of is the remote control. Due to the electronic nature of remote controls, they are often as dirty as or dirtier than a public toilet.
Inside the kettle – All kinds of strange stuff can show up inside a kettle. People use them as ashtrays, hiding spots for valuables…etc and housekeepers often don’t remember to check inside, especially if it appears that it has not been used by previous guests.
Finally for the bedroom, check the mugs or cups – A lid or cover on top of does not mean these items are clean or have been cleaned properly since the last user. Just because it is turned upside down or has a lid over it, doesn’t mean that it hasn’t been touched or used, sat in a dusty room or worse. If glasses, cups or mugs don’t come in a pre-sealed/plastic wrap container, wash them thoroughly before you use them! Properly cleaned glassware should come from the hotel kitchen, having been washed in the dishwasher at a proper temperature.
The bathroom is very easy to inspect. Look behind the toilet seat and toilet (this is often missed as it is hard to reach), as well as the base of the toilet itself. It is also a good idea to check the bathtub for signs of mildew, soap scum or hair in the drains or plughole. The corners under the sink as well as behind the bathroom door are also often overlooked by staff, so I would suggest that you check those areas as well. It is also wise to check the attention to detail and how the housekeeper has replaced the toiletries – this is generally the difference between a hotel that takes prides in offering a great experience and one that is more interested in controlling costs, believe it or not!
Next, check inside the toilet – it is easy for a rushed housekeeper to squirt some toilet cleaner under the toilet seat and swill it round. An attentive housekeeper will actually leave it soaking in and clean other areas then come back and give the inner lip and under the seat, which can be a haven for mould, a good scrub.
Bedding and Carpet
When it comes to the bed, you will probably spend the majority of your time here.
Most hotels use white linen thus making them easier to inspect, so look for crinkled sheets, hair, stains and other dirt or tell tale signs of unwashed linen. Also check the frame and headboard for signs of dust.
Finally, run your hands on the carpet and see if dirt pops up easily. Carpets often have had allsorts of things spilled on them over time or they might be hiding sharp objects, so never walk round barefoot in a hotel room until inspected.
After all of this, if you have found even just one problem – speak up! Inform reception as soon as possible if there is a problem. Usually, the hotel will correct any issues you might have – in my guest house in Windermere, I’d expect you to do the same.
Trevor Francis has many years experience in the hospitality industry and has run Hawksmoor guest house, Windermere with his wife Philippa since 2007.