How to clean your house like a professional

My professional work experience is in the hotel industry. As the manager of a few different small properties I hired and trained a great deal of housekeepers. Some people may think that being a hotel “maid” is a simple job that anyone can do. This simply isn’t true. Sure, almost anyone can TRY to clean a motel room but only the dedicated will succeed. From time to time I am given the opportunity to draw upon my past work knowledge to hire and train one of my husband’s new employees. This task was much easier when I was still working because I had so many useful resources, not to mention that I did it regularly so it was very natural. Now things are more difficult.

As I was trying to recall the room cleaning processes required by my employees of the past I began to realize how useful these techniques would be for cleaning a personal home. Hotel chains requires their rooms to be cleaned in about 45 minutes for a large room with many amenities (such as a Hampton Inn) and about 25 minutes for a small room with few amenities (such as a Motel 6). Motel housekeepers are typically required to clean 10-15 rooms per day. How do they manage it? To be successful they must have a system.  

Here is the daily cleaning checklist I gave to the housekeepers at the motels I managed. I believe we will be more successful on cleaning day if we have a plan. I know I don’t have 15 bathrooms in my house but if a motel housekeeper can clean that many bathrooms in one day I should be able to clean my house from top to bottom in only a few hours.

1-      1- Clear out all trash and dirty linens (in a personal home changing linens on Laundry day makes for one less thing to do on cleaning day).

2-      2- Clean the bathroom:

a.       Spray the shower walls and the bath tub with a mild disinfectant spray. Wipe with a clean DRY rag (never use water to clean a bathroom - except the INSIDE of the toilet- !).

b.    Use a toilet bowl disinfectant to clean the inside of the toilet, especially underneath the rim. (I prefer to use a rag and scrub with my -gloved- hand, toilet brushes gross me out!)  

c.      Spray the entire exterior of the toilet with disinfectant, including the pedestal connecting to the floor. Wipe with a clean DRY rag.

d.      Spray the counter top and sink with a disinfectant spray. Wipe with a clean DRY rag.

e.      Clean mirrors, sink faucets and bathtub faucets with window cleaner.

f.        Mop floor, being careful to remove all hair.

                                                               i.      General instructions: use a clean rag for each section of the bathroom.

                                                             ii.      Never use water except on the inside of the toilet.

                                                            iii.      Keep all dirty rags wrapped tightly to prevent hair from falling out.

3-      3- Dust furniture

4-      4- Make Beds

5-      5- Vacuum yourself out of the room.

 The key to cleaning your house as if it was a hotel is to have all the “stuff” put away. That means all toys, clothes, junk mail, shoes, and clutter. Hotel maids aren’t required to clean around stuff and neither should you. Our houses should be junk free for a few hours at least once a week.

I am also a large supporter of having someone help you with the dirty work, especially the floors and bathrooms. Many people assume it must cost a fortune to hire someone to come into your home to help, but if you keep your eyes peeled you can find someone to help you for 10-15 dollars per hour. Unless you have a monstrous house with 7 or 8 bathrooms you should need only 2-3 hours of help every other week.  That is between $40 and $90 per month, a small expense when you take into consideration the increase to the value of your house. Bathroom fixtures will last a life time if they are cleaned regularly, however they may need to be replaced after only 5 – 10 years if they are not properly taken care of.

I realize for some people this may be an expense that simply does not fit into their budget. That’s okay! I suggest finding a friend who feels the same way you do who would be willing to swap a few hours of work each week. On the first and third week of the month spend 2 hours cleaning one house; on the second and fourth week of the month spend 2 hours cleaning the other house. Work is always more fun with a friend and you will get twice as much done. Just knowing you have a friend coming over to help will force you to de-clutter so the rooms and bathrooms can be cleaned like a hotel.  Focus on cleaning the bathrooms, the floors, and doing a quick surface dust.

 The average size of a house in the United States is 2330 square feet with 2 ½ bathrooms. The average hotel room is 450 square feet and most housekeepers are required to clean about 12 rooms per day. That means they are cleaning 5400 square feet of floor space, 12 bathrooms, and making 12-24 beds all in about 6 hours. This seems like an incredible work load but they manage it because of a few very important issues:

1-      The bathrooms are cleaned REGULARLY (daily at a busy property) which means there is rarely any heavy build up on the plumbing fixtures.

2-      They aren’t working around clutter, toys, trash, food, etc. There is nothing to ‘put away’, if there does happen to be some food or trash in the room they throw it out.

3-      They have a system that includes a logical path of travel throughout the space and they do NOT clean with water.

A clean house is like an organized house; a CONSTANT work in progress. My house is nowhere near as clean as it could be (I once had a housekeeper tell me, “everywhere I look everything is just SO dirty!!”). But I do dedicate my Tuesdays to making it clean and I have a cleaning schedule (click HERE to see the schedule I have hanging on my broom closet door) that works well for me and my life. I figure one day the kids will be smart enough to use a door knob instead of the glass and their aim to the toilet will improve (or they will learn to sit down!). And perhaps they won’t continue to eat ketchup with every meal or wear their muddy boots in the house. Until then I will do my best to provide a comfortable place for my family to live. I challenge you to do the same! I firmly believe this is something we can all do to drastically increase our value of lives.

Check out my post on having a "Clean Kitchen"

Interested in purchasing the cleaning products I use, check out the SHOP page

Cleaning is nearly impossible if you are having a difficult time 'Managing Clutter' - start with first things first!

Laundry got you down? There is a correct way to do that too! How to Do Laundry



I started reading your article and couldn’t stop. You are great with words and making your views interesting and compelling. I am glad I got to read it.

Dear Jayme,
THANK YOU so much for your awesome blog post! Our 3 bathrooms were always a mess... and I DREADED cleaning them. In fact I'd dread it so much I'd postpone it as long as I could, only to find it even HARDER to clean. I'd have to spend 3 hours scrubbing! I'd splosh buckets of soapy water everywhere, and it didn't seem to do much except spread the hair even further (we have 5 cats and some like to sleep on top of the toilet lid).

Anyway I started your no-water method, just a little spray of a vinegar/water mixture with one drop of dish liquid, then wipe with a clean cloth. Sometimes I alternate with an ammonia based window cleaner. I drop a splash of lavender pine sol in the bowl and swish the brush around. It takes me literally 3 minutes for all three bathrooms, Needless to say it stays SPARKLING clean and I never die of shame any more when an unexpected visitor suddenly asks to use the bathroom!

THANK YOU so much :) Friends forever :D

By Sophia (not verified)

 So happy to hear of your success! Amazing how much better life is with a clean bathroom, right?

Thank you for your comments!


By jayme

Hee hee yes, only thing is it frightened my husband no end, he kept wondering why I developed this sudden "clean fetish" haha! I told him that I HATED spending 3 hours in the bathrooms and now it's 3 minutes... and it's gradually dawning on him that it sure looks and smells nice in there all the time :)

By Sophia (not verified)

Hi, you are right that it is not easy to clean the house. Its requires lots of energy and techniques. Well you have shared awesome tips. that would definitely help me out. literally I am amazed that you don't use water for cleaning purpose. It's the thinking of an expert, indeed.
Thanks a lot for helping us.

Your professional cleaning tips are really amazing. These all suggestions are easy, simple and affordable for all users. Everyone can make their home neat and clean by your these cleaning tips.

Very helpful post! Thank you for the good ideas. I think that with daily checklist the cleaning will be more efficient.

Have you seen my keys?” Joan Parsons asks as she shuffles things around the kitchen island of her Georgia home. Lorine

I like your cleaning methods. I think, you have great experience of professional cleaning. Your tips are useful for me about my all home cleaning sources.Thanks for sharing your knowledge with all readers

Tips are really amazing and I would love to share the easiest method for preparing green cleaning spray. Take orange peels and filed a jar with orange peel..after that filled jar with vinegar and close the jar tightly. Kept the jar closed for 2-3 days. After that you can open the jar and your green solution is almost ready. Use a spray bottle to be filled with mixture and that's it! :)

By Amy (not verified)

I like to use Windex Antibacterial on my counters. I spray the counters and leave on for 5 minutes as label suggests, but when I come back to wipe the solution is dried. These tips are definitely going to help people cut down their costs. Thanks for sharing this ideas. They are really cool.

I couldn't agree more regarding your comments of needing a plan and a checklist while cleaning. There always needs to be a strategy (where to start cleaning, what to use to clean a particular surface, etc...) before beginning your cleaning. You would be amazed at the time saved. Also, make sure you have all needed cleaning projects before you begin; there is nothing worse than getting halfway through the cleaning and realizing you are out of a needed cleaning product. Also, try to clean or organize something daily (if even 10 minutes after work), this will make it much easier when you set aside a few hours to thoroughly clean your home. Good article.

I used to be a really messy person and I actually did many of the same things that you mentioned in the article to the keep the house clean.

For some reason, I always thought that cleaning the house was an annual event, but it should really be done at least once a week.

Nice Post! The article you've been said is a great idea!
The tips was simple, well-organized and informative.
I agree that it's much easier and faster to clean the bathroom without using a water. Especially if you clean the bathroom once a week. Its also better if you have a plan and strategy already on where you work first, what things you need in cleaning up the area and so on. Lastly you must have an energy doing it so you can finish it fattiest time and well-done.
Thanks for the information. Keep it up!

By Ebm Jan (not verified)

Thanks for sharing this article on house cleaning. A good clean home defines how organized and clutter less you are ! A good site for all information on cleaning is

By Heidi (not verified)

I use alcohol I put in a spray bottle to clean glass, mirrors, and counters, bathrooms. It doesn't streak, leave a film, dries quickly, and sterilizes. It's also cheap. I'm a nurse and the CDC recommends using hand sanitizer vs soap and water on hands because it removes more germs. I think this applies to cleaning too with your dry cloth method vs water.

By Angela (not verified)

Yes, I believe this is the same concept. Thanks for commenting!

By jayme

If you comparing your house cleaning with the hotels then yes, its different one...those who are there in hotel they are professionally trained...

Great article Jayme - if it helps, I found a GREAT Grout Cleaner at home depot from this company called "Custom Building Products"...I forgot the name, let me check... Okay, it's called AQUA MIX - and I picked it up from Home Depot.

It did a great job - hope this helps! :)

Great Stuff, these tips are really needed because when cleaning there are lots of areas that tend to be missed especially if we are doing it all ourselves. One area is the plumbing, we need our pipes cloig free so we are assured of great water supply.

I seriously have thought about going to work for Merry Maids just long enough to figure out how they get things clean quickly. Thank you for sharing these tips so now I don't have to resort to that!

By MrsB (not verified)

great advice, thank you very much for sharing with us, I'll put them into practice today. thanks.
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By alice (not verified)

These steps are great. I sometimes find it difficult to come up with a system for cleaning my house. I'm definitely trying this out!

Just wanted to say thanks for putting this article together. I will certainly try a few of these ideas. As a professional cleaner I'm always looking for new and easier ways to get the job done.

I think it's pretty sad that you pay cleaners $10-$15 per hour. I clean houses in MN and charge $25 per hour and that is considered a good deal. Eight years ago when I started working for a company as a cleaner they charged the homeowner $37 per hour. That was eight years ago!

By Jen (not verified)

Do you also have any tips to keep the rags thoroughly clean for the next use?

By Mini Clean (not verified)

Thanks for the info. Keep posting!

This post is definitely going bookmarked! I'm really bad at organization and I waste a lot of time cleaning because I get distracted easily.

I found one of the hardest things to clean was Laminate floors. In reality it is a lot like cleaning plastic. Here is a great video on how to do it!

By JG (not verified)


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