Cleaning expert. Top tips from a hotel cleaner

Cleaning toilets is a job we all have to face, but most of us only have to clean our own. For Leonie working at a hotel in Munich, cleaning lots of toilets, bathrooms and rooms is a daily task. We caught up with her on her daily cleaning round and asked her to share some tips on how she brings those bathrooms up into a shine.

“Cleanliness is very important for us. We are a small and friendly hotel, but our guests expect spotless rooms and bathrooms – and that is what I am responsible for delivering.”

Tip 1: Importance of drying thoroughly after you wash

We were talking in one of the smaller rooms, a double with a compact en-suite bathroom. I asked her how long it would typically take to clean a bathroom like this.

“To clean one of these smaller bathrooms I need about 10 to 15 minutes for the whole thing. I start with the toilet, scrub it and use the cleaner. Then I go round the walls and basins with anti-calc cream – using this sponge with hot water. After that I have to dry the walls and surfaces. I usually use a paper towel for this, and maybe rub some more cream in as I go, if the stain is very persistent. Drying is very important. If you don’t dry properly you get stains and smears left behind. Everything has to be kept separate. So I use the red bucket for the toilet and then the water in the blue one for the rest of the bathroom. Also, you must change the water between every room. And change gloves. You have to remove the gloves when you are finished with the toilet and move on to cleaning the room. “

Tip 2: Toothbrush is a top tool in removing limescale and mildew

Leonie was speaking to me surrounded by an extensive assortment of cleaning equipment and I asked her what some of them were and which were most useful to her.

“The anti-calc cleaner is really useful for nearly all of the bathroom. It’s called liquid scouring milk [looking at the bottle] and it’s what I use to scrub out any stains to the white tiling. It’s really good at shifting the brown burn-like stains that get in between the tiles or around the base of the shower cubicle. I use it with a toothbrush, scrubbing hard along the lines in between the tiles [doing it as she tells me] and getting at all the limescale and mildew. The toothbrush is also something I use for everything. It’s very good for getting the small stains out.”

Tip 3: Maintaining seals and filling is very important to keeping your bathroom clean

The bathroom certainly was clean! Everything looked brand new and there was not a trace of the mould or limescale deposits that you usually find hiding in the corners of even the most diligent householder’s loo. I asked Leonie how she kept the place so spotless.

“It’s really important to maintain the bathroom; especially to fill any gaps in between the tiles or where the shower cubicle fits against the wall. So we often use a bit of filler or reapply the silicon seal. Once these seals get damaged or have holes in, they will always get dirty and grimy.”

Whatever the problem, there’s a way to fix it

Leonie was finishing up now and needless to say, with all the conversation, it had taken her considerably longer than the 15 minutes she had estimated. But before I let her go, I asked if there were any particular stories of dirty guests and how she dealt with them.

“It’s really part of the job, so you can’t get angry. The worst is when people bring food into the rooms or smoke. Sometimes we’ve had noodles and sauce spilt on the carpet in the room. For that you can’t really do anything and sometimes we have to replace a little piece of the carpet. Last week a lady must have been dying her hair. The bathroom had red stains all over it, in the basin and around the walls. I had to spend a long time scrubbing that out with the toothbrush! But you can’t really complain to the guests. They will do what they want and we have to accept that. Like I say, it’s part of the job.”

Small is beautiful

Leonie, originally from Greece has been living in Germany for 3 years and been working in the hotel all that time. Because it’s a small hotel, she has to do nearly everything. Getting up early and making the breakfast, working on the reception and welcoming the guests, and of course cleaning out the rooms.

“I prefer working in a small hotel. Although you have more to do and it’s maybe harder to work in this smaller space, overall, it’s much nicer working in a hotel like this where the guests know who you are and we are just a small team working for them. It’s more personal.“

Insider tips from the expert Hotel cleaner tells how she keeps her luxury establishment spick and span.

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