November 17 2014

How Hotel Housekeeping Really Works

I’ll be first to admit that when it comes to cleanliness and hygiene my standards are excessive. I’m a mysophobe, probably to a pathological degree. (It’s part of my charm.)

I also stay in hotels a lot. And unfortunately I think hotels are gross.

You’re sleeping on pillows that hundreds, possibly thousands, of strangers have put their sweaty, greasy head on night after night. (I’m not saying my head is any less sweaty or greasy; I’m just saying I don’t like sleeping on other people’s sweat and grease.)

If it’s a hotel room with those big heavy comforters, I am certain those things aren’t washed regularly. And don’t get me started about the shower. I have heard (even civilized) people admit to peeing in the shower; it’s one of those things I just have to not think about.

One of my habits when staying in a hotel is to put away all my personal things before leaving the room for the day.

Electronics and other sensitive or valuable items go in the safe – that’s a given. But I don’t even leave my toothbrush out as it would disgust me if housekeeping dropped it in the sink (which thousands of strangers have spat into) and put it back as if nothing happened (so I wouldn’t know to replace it).

When it comes to how hotel housekeeping works, I know I’m better off not knowing.

Unfortunately, I often get to see housekeeping in action.

I’m almost always working when I travel, even when not on a business trip per se. And I often work from the hotel room during the day, so I’m there when housekeeping comes.

Some very common procedures I’ve witnessed:

  • The housekeeper will go straight from cleaning the toilet to making the bed – without washing her hands or changing gloves. (I assume she doesn’t change gloves from one guest room to the next, either.)
  • Pillows are placed on the floor while the bed is made, then picked up and put right back on the bed without a change of pillowcase.
  • The same rag used to clean the bathroom is used to wipe down the desk and nightstand.

And these are just the things they do while I’m there. I try not to imagine how they “clean” the room when it’s vacant.

Well, as it turns out…no imagination is necessary!

A video taken by another traveler, which has gone viral, depicts not just bad hygiene practices, but actual snooping by a housekeeper.

She rummages through the guest’s luggage.

She picks up and tries to use the guest’s tablet.

She also attempts to access the guest’s laptop several times. (How much sensitive personal information resides on laptops and tablets?)

All this while wearing the gloves she cleaned the bathroom with.

Enjoy the video, and remember to lock up your valuables!


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Posted November 17, 2014 by Admin in category "News", "Tips

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