Various hotels around the world present different atmospheres in their restrooms. Some restrooms seem to be decorated with fixtures and mirrors, even allocating some space for furniture and plants. Others tend to be more minimalistic. Whatever the style, the cleanliness, condition, and hygiene of public restrooms can impact a guest’s opinion about the rest of the hotel.
The two glance method
The ‘two glance method’ is an old suggested way to inspect public restrooms and can distinguish the clean from the not-so-clean.
When I enter a restroom, I will look at the ceiling and notice air vents, lamps, mirror frames and then look down to see if drains, thresholds, or corners are clean and free of blockage. All this will be evident if cleaners have reached high enough to reach these areas or have gone down on their knees to clean drains. The corners, walls, doors and partitions, and other fixtures of the restrooms must also be clean.
Understanding cleaning products
Products used to clean public restrooms are also used in guest bathrooms. These include all-purpose cleaners, toilet cleaners, glass cleaners, disinfectants, sponges, bowls, brushes, microfiber cloths, buckets, and mops. All items must be properly arranged neatly on a covered cart that will facilitate the work of the attendant.
It is also essential that gloves and masks are worn when the attendants are cleaning.
Before entering the restroom, it is important to check that the restroom is vacant. On some occasions, when attendants need to enter restrooms of the opposite sex, the attendant must knock on the door announcing ‘Housekeeping’ and wait until he/she receives a response. The door needs to remain open during cleaning.
Daily and regular cleaning is required if the restrooms are to be maintained well. Here are a few tips that help maintain the highest levels of hygiene:
Public restrooms must be cleaned thoroughly two times in a day. They must be inspected regularly and touched up as needed.
It is recommended that a record of cleaning and inspection activities is kept.
Deep cleaning tasks
Deep cleaning tasks can be done on a weekly or monthly basis preferably when guest traffic is not heavy.
Deep cleaning tasks consist of polishing or scrubbing hard floor surfaces, cleaning walls, air vents, carpet shampoo, light fixtures, edges, etc.
When deep cleaning is being performed, signs must be posted, redirecting guests to the locations of nearby restrooms.
It is important that any damages such as leaks, bulbs, locks are reported immediately in order to be repaired.
What happens during events and conferences?
Many events can take place in a hotel such as conferences, weddings, etc. During such events, public restrooms are heavily used. It is highly recommended that in such a scenario one attendant must be dedicated to the cleanliness of the restrooms throughout the event. After all, we want guests to leave with a good impression about the level of cleanliness and sanitation that is carried out in the hotel’s public areas.
The pandemic effect
The pandemic has definitely changed the ways of doing business, and new global cleaning protocols have been implemented to ensure that areas are hygienically clean and disinfected. The basic cleaning and checking techniques are unchanged. Attention is given to the following:
- Frequency of cleaning and inspection has been increased. Logs are kept and posted in areas that can be seen by guests.
- High touchpoints are frequently disinfected with the use of recommended disinfectants. These include (but are no limited to):
- Door Knobs/Push plates
- Light switches
- Door lock
- Toilet/Urinal Flush lever
- Toilet seat cover
- Hand soap and Hand sanitizer dispenser
- Towel dispenser
- Toilet paper cover
- Signs remind guests to maintain social distancing and wear masks.
- Sanitizer dispensers are installed mostly outside the restrooms. It is recommended that dispensers are touch-free in order to avoid contamination.
- Only paper hand towels should be used. Remove terry washcloths.
- Electrostatic sprayers have been approved by certain hotels for public restrooms and locker rooms both for guests and staff. The electrostatic sprayers work by applying an electrical charge to the disinfectant solution. The electrical charge enables the disinfectant to reach, wrap around, and cling to hard surfaces.
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, electrostatic sprayer disinfection technology has been used in healthcare facilities and hospitals, in industrial food safety, and agriculture. Only specially trained staff must operate these and the disinfection must be done overnight.
- Staff Restrooms and Lockers should not be forgotten either. The same principles must be applied in these areas. By ensuring that staff restrooms and lockers are thoroughly cleaned and disinfected, we keep the employees safe and ensure they execute their roles and responsibilities of maintaining a hygienic, clean and sanitized hotel.
The cleanliness, maintenance, and disinfection of a hotel’s public restrooms will only leave a good or bad impression about its guestrooms.
About the Author
Maria Vekakis is the Executive Housekeeper at the Cairo Marriott Hotel. She is a passionate hospitality professional with more than 25 years of experience. In the past, she has served as the Director of Services at Doha Marriott Hotel, and Executive Housekeeper at Starwoods Hotels and Resorts, Greece.