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

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Comments

This was so helpful for me. You have no idea how much you simplified my life. I have two small boys and I feel like all I do is clean, and my house is still dirty, so dirty. Thank you!! I'm doing all of this asap.

By carolynn (not verified)

I found your blog via Pinterest and love your tips. What do you do with the rags that have all the hair on them? Do you just throw them into the wash with the others and just clean the filter? Thanks!

By AVicki (not verified)

Yup! That is exactly what I do. The washer seems to get almost all the hair out.

By jayme

Might I introduce many of you to the amazing capabilities of straight vinegar and a dry, cut up, cotton t-shirt on mirrors, chrome, hard water, soap scum, counters, and pretty much every other thing out there. The smell of the alcohol dissipates as it dries. Soon, all that's left are the smells of the flowers and candles we put in that space. I've had so many people ask how my fixtures still look brand new. Not to mention, vinegar is safe and non-toxic. As for vinegar's anti-bacterial properties, it is actually quite powerful as almost no living organism can sustain life at such an acidic pH level.

By summer (not verified)

I have actually done that before, like using 409 and a little elbow grease. It seems that if you let the disinfectant or cleaner sit for a few minutes and then wipe it with a dry rag, it seems to work really well. Great post, and thanks for all the additional cleaning tips!

I love this post! I recently went from being a FT mother of three to working PT which I thought would magically make all of my difficulties with keeping a clean house go away. NOT TRUE! I find it very difficult to achieve a clean house and am trying to put just as much effort & focus towards learning how to clean my house as I do at my job. This post was the most comprehensive I have found! Thinking about it in terms ofa hotel housekeeperh as made it very easy to wrap my brain around the process. Am I actually a little excited to go clean right now?? Wha?? Who am I? ;) Thank you!

By Sarah (not verified)

I'm interested in your opinion of the shark, or other steam sterilizing systems, that use steam to sanitize, therefore eliminating the need for any disinfectant? I can't wait to try this method

By Carissa (not verified)

The Shark (and other steam cleaners) can be a great way to disinfect your floors. I don't have any tile in my house but I hear they work wonders on tile. The downside to steam cleaning is that it generally takes a lot more time than what most of us have to spare. However, a monthly cleaning (with regular weekly cleanings in between) sounds like a fabulous way to insure your floors are spic and span!

By jayme

"Hotel maids aren’t required to clean around stuff and neither should you." Uh that's because the patrons take all their stuff with them when they leave. How do we clean up the stuff?

By s0nicfreak (not verified)

To reduce clutter check out my "6 Daily Cluttter Busters" in blog post "Just do it EVERYDAY".

By jayme

Any ideas on a schedule for a mom that works full time and gets home at 6pm mon-friday??

By Monica (not verified)

I have this first summer off in a long time because I taught Kindergarten this last year. At the advice of my friend with 6 kids, and the encouragement of my husband, I am finding that I too am so glad when I've done the cleaning, laundry, and grocery shopping on Monday and Tuesday. Then I do have the rest of the week to play and work as I choose with freedom. I used to nanny and would watch the cleaning lady to just the same schedule that you are doing, finishing with the cleaning of the kitchen. Thanks for these tips! Happy Summertime!!

By Betsy (not verified)

I just stumbled upon this from Pinterest of course! I absolutely love the idea of disinfecting without water! However, for the floors I have bought a shark vacuum and mop. The Vacuum is cordless and only needs to be charged like once a month! I find it SUPER easy to go through and vacuum daily! The mop isn't cordless but it disinfects with just steam. Its very easy for disinfecting and you don't have to worry about chemicals on the floor. The vacuum runs about $30 and is a very good investment!! The Shark Mop is $80 but defiantly worth it if you have a lot of floor to disinfect, and it can also be used to disinfect your carpet!

By Amber (not verified)

Love the tips

By dorothy (not verified)

Thanks for these tips. Why are dry rags used and not damp/wet ones to clean the bathroom?

By Cassie (not verified)

There are 2 main reasons for NOT using water while cleaning. The first reason is that it is much less sanitary. Wet rags are a massive breeding ground for bacteria and the water just spreads the germs from one location to another. Imagine you are cleaning the shower in a hotel and guest A leaves behind her germs on the shower wall near the faucet. Using a WET rag you wipe the germs off but then the germs spread throughout the entire rag because of the water. You then wipe out the bottom of the bathtub with the same rag where you may, or may not, leave behind the germs you picked up from the shower wall. Welcome guest B to the bathtub. Dry rags with only the moisture from a disinfectant will not spread germs in the same way a wet rag will.

Reason two for never using water is that it takes at least twice as long to do the same job. If you use a wet rag you are in essence spreading water all over the entire surface you are suppose to be cleaning which does nothing but leave water spots (and possibly germs), you then have to use a dry rag to wipe up the water to avoid spotting. This means you have cleaned the same surface two times, taking twice as long. The water is, simply put, completely unnecessary and time consuming.

By jayme

The Scrubbing Bubbles site says their product needs to be rinsed or at minimum for some of their products wiped with a damp sponge or cloth...? Comments?

By Lisa (not verified)

I couldn't open your Tuesday cleaning schedule. Is there another way you can post it?

By Diane (not verified)

Try this: HERE

By jayme

I clean fully equipped cabins and have for 10 years. You are dead on with your tips!!!

By AShley (not verified)

I attempted to view your personal cleaning schedule but it's on Microsoft Office 7 and I don't have that version. Is there another way for you to post it or that I could see it?

By Patty Finkral (not verified)

HErE is the PDF.

I hope this helps :)

By jayme

My husband has always had a beard, he places a towel across the sink and when he is finished he takes the towel outside and shakes it out, then to the laundry. If he wouldn't I would suggsest waiting until the sink was dry and then wipe it out with a dry towel and take it outside.

By Katie (not verified)

i love this page! i fate cleaning the bathroom, now i feel kind excited!! thank yoou!

By misty (not verified)

I am VERY excited to try your method and suggestions.
Now I can do it and still have time for a life! Thanks so much for these ideas!!!

By Maria (not verified)

Why shouldnt I water when cleaning bathroom...i use tilex mildew cleaner in shower, and scrubbing bubbles on sinks...how do i not use water with these products?

By Cathy (not verified)

There are 2 main reasons for NOT using water while cleaning. The first reason is that it is much less sanitary. Wet rags are a massive breeding ground for bacteria and the water just spreads the germs from one location to another. Imagine you are cleaning the shower in a hotel and guest A leaves behind her germs on the shower wall near the faucet. Using a WET rag you wipe the germs off but then the germs spread throughout the entire rag because of the water. You then wipe out the bottom of the bathtub with the same rag where you may, or may not, leave behind the germs you picked up from the shower wall. Welcome guest B to the bathtub. Dry rags with only the moisture from a disinfectant will not spread germs in the same way a wet rag will.

Reason two for never using water is that it takes at least twice as long to do the same job. If you use a wet rag you are in essence spreading water all over the entire surface you are suppose to be cleaning which does nothing but leave water spots (and possibly germs), you then have to use a dry rag to wipe up the water to avoid spotting. This means you have cleaned the same surface two times, taking twice as long. The water is, simply put, completely unnecessary and time consuming.

I personally dislike using water to clean because I don't like the feel of having wet hands while I work, even if I have rubber gloves on.

If you feel like the products you use are too strong to use without water I recommend using a more mild product.

I hope this helps.

By jayme

I do know how hard a housekeeper for a hotel works. I was one for about 1 week. It was painful on my back, constant bending over the beds. Anyway, I learned the technique you discuss and thought that it was the perfect way to clean. However, the hotel head housekeeper did not use dry rags and she would clean the tub walls and toilets with the same brush. Bath walls first, then toilet, then place the brush in disinfectant. I thought that was nasty, but she uses the disinfectant which she thinks makes it okay. I know this technique works and I plan to start using it. Thanks for the pin.

By Debra Westbrook (not verified)

Love your cleaning ideas!

By Katy (not verified)

Love your article...thanks! But I cannot open your link to your "cleaning schedule." Do you have another version of it or way to open it? I am so anxious for some ideas/motivation!!

By Nicole (not verified)

If you still can't open it let me know and I'll email it to you.

Cleaning schedule

By jayme

Love this! I never thought of not using water to clean the bathroom...I guess it would be a lot easier. I also like the idea of using different rags for each fixture, that's my biggest peeve about cleaning is I feel like I'm no longer cleaning towards the end, just wiping crud all over....
definitely putting this to good use!

Quite good entry at all! I think all these information are very helpful to me. really i was looking forward to read about this. Thanks for this allocation. :lol:

balmain removalists

I love all your tips they have saved me a ton of time. One I'd like to add is if you have a vacuum with a detachable hose you can just vacuum hair off bathroom counters and even out of the shower and tub if they're dry :) I hate touching loose hair and this does the trick.

By Sherri (not verified)

YES, this is a great plan! I have a central vac system and I use my hose to clean up all sorts of hair/ dirt, etc before actually cleaning.... Speeds things up a lot!

By jayme

i like to use paper towels when i do the toilet, then i can just throw it away!! (i use the paper towel i use on the mirrors. Another great bathroom cleaner is Lysol bathroom cleaner. Another tip is if one has tiled walls to dry them after a shower. this really helps the grout stay nice!!

By Barbara (not verified)

I would like to add a fabulous disinfectant is white vinegar. If the bathroom surfaces, not the toilet, are not visible dirty, try using white vinegar on them to cut down on the cleaning product used. Also in my hotel management days I instructed my housekeepers to use black and white newspaper on all the mirrors and faucets. This creates a fog free mirror and super shiny chrome. again using the white vinegar in a spray bottle

By Anessa (not verified)

What do you like about your bamboo flooring and keeping it clean? Also, you mentioned tile can be difficult to keep clean because of the grout. We are educating ourselves on products as we are building a home in the nex year or two. We love the look of hard woods, but the home we just sold had them throughout the main floor and I found them noisy. What are your thoughts? Thanks for this blog!

By Robyn (not verified)

Bamboo is a great alternative to wood because it is easy to clean and it costs much less. However, it scratches and dents very easily. My personal favorite flooring option is wood but it can be expensive. I haven't experienced noisy wood floors personally, but rugs are an option for softening the sound. I love tile for showers and bathroom counters but they can be a nightmare for a kitchen floor or other high traffic areas if you have light colored grout. They can also make the house feel cold (which is a good option if you live in the south).  My mother has black slate floors that look awesome, the grout is black and the entire floor is sealed so it is easy to clean. I know a lot of people are using synthetic wood floors now too which are very durable, rather inexpensive, and easy to clean.

Good luck!

By jayme

A few months go my dad had surgery and I stayed at his house for few days. While there I was looking for things to clean his bathroom. When he saw what I was doing, he took me to his laundry room where he had a whole bunch of old white tshirts and white towels ( clean of course). We grabbed two products and he told me to do exactly what you said to do.

Once I was done, he asked me to take the towels directly to the washer and wash them in hot water with detergent and clorox. The towels and t-shirts came out white and clean looking. Then i put them back in a basket he kept all his rags. He said not to fold them because they are in the laundry room, no one sees them and they are confined to the basket

On a side note, all his towels on all his bathrooms are white also He says that way he can always use bleach on them and they look crisp and clean. I am slowly replacing all our towels with white ones and stole quite a few of my husbands white cotton undershirts.

By Rozette (not verified)

I admit. I had to read over this post three times. Can cleaning the bathroom really be so simple?! I am psyched! Thank you for sharing this. Now I'm curious about your other quick cleaning methods. I'm a stay-at-home mom who works part-time as a substitute teacher. There are days my bad hip is out, and the house cleaning as to be simple. We have a 5 bed/3 bath split level, and I hate spending all day cleaning! Many, many thanks!

By Amanda M (not verified)

I honestly didn't read all the comments and replies because there is so many but we have a dog that is simply not potty trained and he urinates throughout our house and we have tile throughout the whole place. The bathroom is the worst because of the grout. Do you have any input on what to use and how to clean it up to avoid the messes again and the smell. I cannot get the smell out of the bathroom and the potty training has gotten much better so the urinating should lessen if not stop all together.

By Amanda (not verified)

In this case I would use a different system. The no water plan is for regular messes that occur from regular wear; dog urine is not 'regular'.

Use HOT soapy water and a scrub brush; using plenty of 'elbow grease' scrub the affected area (especially the grout). Clean the soap up with clean hot water. If the smell persits you may have to mix some Pet stain remover into your water and scrub with that.

Be glad you have tile.... carpet is a much bigger problem,

happy puppy training!

 

Kirby K-283297 Stain Remover, Pet Odor 22 Ounce Spray 12/Case

By jayme

So, correct me if im wrong, but if your using a disinfectant and spray over the entire surface your cleaning, shouldn't that kill the germs that are there. Then once you wipe over them your not really spreading any germs because they would be gone. Therefore, using a wet rag isn't really spreading the germs around.

By Jessi (not verified)

As long as your are 100% sure you are getting disinfectant on every bit of your wet rag you will probably be killing the germs. However, germs travel through water so unless you are using very small rags or a large amount of disinfectant you can be pretty sure you are NOT killing all of the germs on your rag. The point of this post is not to say you CAN'T or NEVER should use water. But using a dry rag will result in a more sanitary bathroom in a much shorter amount of time.

By jayme

You just changed my life! Thank You!

By Chanika McCombs (not verified)

You mentioned somewhere wiping up hair in the bathroom with a dry rag. How do you get rid of the hair then? Throw out the whole rag, shake it out or something else? Or did I misunderstand?

By Joan Eppehimer (not verified)

I like to spray the hair with a bit of window cleaner, wipe as much hair as I can with a dry rag, wrap up the rag and put it in the dirty clothes basket. (Keep using the same rag until you notice you are losing more hairs than you are picking up) Yes, I use a lot of rags... luckily I am the only one in the family who loses a lot of hair.

By jayme

I've worked as a housekeeper in a big hotel so this makes total sense! I didn't dislike my work at all, the routine really helped. But cleaning my own house is just different: it takes me much longer and my motivation is much less. lol!

By Anna (not verified)

What about cleaning kitchens? I don't see anything on the list about cleaning kitchens. I'd love some tips/advice on a clean kitchen. Thanks!

By michelle (not verified)

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