Hotels pride themselves on presenting a pristine, relaxing and carefully curated aesthetic. Whether it’s an economy hotel, a luxury property or something in between, hotels always need to be clean. Cleaning for appearance has always been a main priority, and while it’s still important, cleaning for health is now a must, given the impact the pandemic has had on the hospitality industry.
Cleaning for health carefully considers the health and safety of a facility’s occupants, from hotel guests to employees to visitors. Learn more about this shift in the way we clean and best practices for maintaining hotel cleanliness standards.
A Greater Emphasis on the Unseen
Historically, cleaning in hotels has mainly been centered on the areas and details that guests can see. The bathrooms need to be tidy, the linens must be free of stains and wrinkles and the lobby floors should shine. Keep in mind that most of the cleaning conducted by housekeeping teams is done out of sight of guests to uphold a sense of magic and mystery. Cleaning for appearance is by no means an easy undertaking. Housekeeping teams work incredibly hard to make hotels look like a home-away-from-home.
The COVID-19 pandemic has ushered in heightened concerns around cleanliness. SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes the novel coronavirus, spreads quite easily and quickly. Thus, many organizations responded by increasing the regularity and thoroughness of cleaning and disinfecting. Cleaning became a much more visible process for two reasons. First, it was a way of putting guests at ease during a global pandemic. Second, it would be nearly impossible to clean more frequently without guests present. Cleaning became an around-the-clock process that kept surfaces from becoming potential breeding grounds for the virus.
Facilities also reconfigured the way in which they clean in response to the pandemic. Aside from the annual flu season, many hotels previously did not have to worry about outbreaks, let alone a pandemic. All of a sudden, housekeeping teams were faced with a new pathogen of concern. While the naked eye can’t see the virus lingering on surfaces or in the air, it’s existence can’t be ignored.
The solution is cleaning for health. Hotels sought expert advice from infection preventionists and world-renowned organizations to create guidelines and programs that prioritize everyone’s health and safety. Some properties implemented new cleaning and disinfecting products, machines and tools to get a deeper level of clean and eradicate disease-causing organisms. They also implemented social distancing, hand hygiene and mask recommendations or requirements to support their cleaning for health efforts. While cleaning for health is not a new concept, it is now one that is used widely in all types of facilities to curb the spread of the virus.
Best Practices for Hotel Cleanliness
Use the following hotel cleanliness checklist as part of your cleaning for health program:
- Clean first, then disinfect – For hard surfaces, a quick wipe down will no longer suffice. Housekeeping teams must first clean surfaces to remove soils and then disinfect to remove any lingering pathogens, all while following the manufacturer’s recommended dwell times to ensure efficacy.
- Use products that are effective and safe – Increasing the frequency of cleaning increases exposure to potentially toxic chemicals. Make sure that the products you are using, from carpet cleaning chemicals to surface cleaners to laundry detergents, will not put your workers at risk. Steer clear of questionable ingredients and strong fragrances that can set off allergies and opt for products with certifications or seals related to sustainability and safety.
- Consider indoor air quality – Maintaining good indoor air quality is key. Regularly vacuum and clean carpet with a quality carpet cleaning system to remove contaminants that have been captured from the air. Additionally, consider products that won’t release volatile organic compounds (VOCs), as these can have negative health effects on guests and employees.
- Have a response plan in place – It is possible that a guest or employee may contract COVID-19 or another infectious disease. Have a clear plan in place for responding to a case at your property. What extra cleaning precautions will you take to keep the infection from spreading? How will you communicate this update internally and externally? What steps will those outside of the housekeeping department be expected to take?
Five Stars for Cleanliness
Hotel cleanliness is paramount, especially in the age of COVID-19. While cleaning for appearance helps to set the right first impression among guests, cleaning for health is also crucial. Whether your guests are staying at your property for business or leisure, or perhaps quarantining in your facility, your cleaning program needs to support their health. Additionally, you have a responsibility to protect your employees from the spread of the incredibly contagious novel coronavirus.
Implementing a cleaning for health approach will help your hotel target pathogens of concern, restore the look of surfaces, ensure carpet is clean and give everyone greater peace of mind. In turn, this will result in more five-star reviews for your property that will encourage repeat business and a healthier bottom line.
Hotels around the country use Whittaker’s commercial carpet cleaning systems and its certified Green Seal® chemistries to meet their high standards of cleanliness.