16 rooms in 8 hours-it sounds like plenty of time if you’re not the one pushing a loaded cart while announcing ‘Housekeeping’.
My shift starts with me locating my cart-it’s not always where I last left it-taking inventory and carefully loading supplies. Freshly laundered towels, all of the highly collectible miniature toiletries, an array of beverages (just enough to leave them asking for more) and the all important toilet rolls-just a few of the things needed to make my job a little easier.
The cleaning products are often sparse and to save time I’ve taken to using some of the shampoo to clean the bathrooms-it leaves the sink sparkling. Hoovers? They’re related to the holy grail, but I’ll get to that later.
The hope at the beginning of a shift is that my first couple of rooms are quick and easy-a stopover room or a room where one of the occupants does a job similar to mine and has honed the skill of tidying up after themselves. At the beginning of a shift I don’t want a couple of rooms that need a major makeover and put me behind for the rest of the day.
My first room is a family room and they’ve vacated. A large room with 3 beds-too hard, too soft and just right. 3 twentysomethings stayed here this weekend and if the hairs all over the bathroom are anything to go by, one of them was a Goldilocks. This room is going to put me behind schedule.
First things first, I find a decent radio station via the TV. Music makes my job a hell of a lot more bearable and I love that I can still hear it when cleaning the bathroom-great speaker system. It’s then a case of locating and collecting all the used cups and spoons so that I can get them soaking in the sink while I get on with the beds. I say ‘locating’ as often they’ll be hidden all over the room-sometimes it’s just the quirks of individuals and other times I know that it’s the result of a malicious nature. At the same time that I’m playing hunt the cup I take stock of the room-what’s the damage and how will I fix it.
Next I collect up the rubbish, not all of it is in the thimble sized bin provided. While I’m doing this I notice the smaller details- houmous smeared into the carpet, the as yet unidentified wet stain over by the wardrobe and, what looks like, the soggy remnants of a biscuit that was dipped one too many times. Out comes the foamy stuff for cleaning the carpets and I walk the room covering stains-kind of like painting by numbers. Believe me, these are not the worst stains I’ve ever had to deal with…
The beds are next on my ‘to do’ list. Strip them down and start again-precise hospital corners throughout-no duvets here. Personally, I’d rather have to do this than wrestle with duvet covers. Once you have the knack of bed origami it’s surprising how quickly you can get it done. Thankfully there don’t appear to be any suspect stains or wet patches in the beds-airing mattresses can be a bitch.
I was taught to use a pillow slip to clean the bathroom. It makes life easier-they’re really good at removing smears, unlike towels they don’t shed fluff and when I’m done I can throw them in the laundry bag-job done. So, back to the hoover situation…basically they are few and far between. Sometimes I can’t even find one on my floor. My colleagues can be very protective of a hoover if they have one and I can understand why, but when you’re the person in desperate need of one it can become a little tedious. That’s why, if possible, you use all the tricks you know to clean a room without one. A damp pillow slip on the tiled floor-great for picking up dust, hair etc but not so good for the knees-that’s where the bath sheets come in handy.
I’m definitely going to have to hoover this room before it can be signed off. I push my cart into the room-experience has taught me never to leave it unattended. If I’m lucky I’ll find one on this floor and I’ll catch up in time to take my break. If not I’ll be making tea in a room along the way and let’s face it, you never get a good brew in a hotel room.