Exceeding Your Standards — Cleanliness

This is the second of a three-part series on your inn’s standards and how to exceed them. Safety/Security, Cleanliness, and Hospitality are the core of your business. You can profit in so many ways by setting high standards and then exceeding even those.

If you didn’t see Part 1, Safety/Security, start there .

The underlying question is, how clean is clean enough? I believe that your paying guests deserve to see a clean property — that’s part of what they are paying for, after all. Do you clean bathrooms daily? What about dusting and vacuuming the public areas daily? How often do you dust and vacuum all surfaces? Have you set up a schedule to mop floors and clean your wood floors? Your health department will have its own binding opinion here, but I think kitchen floors should be mopped twice daily at the very least — after meals and at the end of the day. Common area wood floors need to be mopped minimally twice a week.

Have you noticed you or your employees using the counter sponge on the floor? If so, that’s a new floor sponge that should never be used on the counter again, at least not until laundered! If you have a jetted tub, do you have a frequent and regular cleaning regime for it? Health departments always have something to say about this issue. I hate getting into tubs and seeing floating scum and hairs, and I’m not fond of feeling grit on the tub floor, either.

How often do you clean the guestroom phones, like the mouthpiece and earpiece? That kind of cleaning removes germs and bacteria from the mouthpiece and perfume and make up from the earpiece. Add that to you turn-over cleaning checklist, at the very least.

Bedspread cleanliness is a nightmare, for guests and innkeepers alike. As an aside, let me point out that one reason bedspreads get so dirty is because there aren’t enough luggage racks in guestrooms, so the bed becomes a luggage rack. Help yourself and your guests by putting two luggage racks in each guestroom. Bedspreads and blankets deserve to be cleaned frequently because of the heavy use they get. If you use bed skirts, those get filthy, too, as people walk up to the bed and scuff their shoes on them; wash them frequently.

If you still use coffee pots in your rooms, be sure to put the filter basket through your dishwasher frequently to remove the coffee oils that build up on them, giving fresh water to the tea drinkers staying with you. And coffee pots need the same dishwasher treatment pretty frequently. The stories I hear about how they are used for cleaning nylons and underwear make me never want to use another hotel coffee pot!

One oversight I have noticed at inns, as well as fine restaurants, is not changing the flower vase water frequently enough. Depending on your sense of smell and stomach strength, that can ruin your stay or meal. I’ve seen science projects with less gunk growing than I’ve seen in some flower vase water!


The third part of this series is on Hospitality, tying up the basics of having high standards to support and growing inn business.