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For hotel housekeepers, cleaning is much more than a chore: It's a career. In just one shift, they can clean more rooms than the average person cleans in a month. That's why, when it comes to stocking up on cleaning supplies, they know best. We talked to hotel housekeepers from across the country (and from five-star hotels with the most discerning guests) to see which products they can't live without.
Here is the short list of the best cleaning products, according to professional hotel housekeepers:
- 1. Comet (2-pack), $9, Amazon
"Comet is the best because you can apply it to the shower, toilet and sink, then walk away and let it go to work," said Miguel Casimiro, director of housekeeping at Kimpton Hotel Palomar in Washington DC for the past 13 years. "After a few minutes, come back and easily clean the bathroom while knowing it's disinfected and truly clean." Casimiro added that equipping his housekeepers with Comet cuts down on the amount of cleaners they need to carry.
- 2. Spic and Span, $12, Amazon
"When you're flipping a high volume of rooms, efficiency is key," said Casimiro. He recommends Spic and Span, since it's so versatile. "It's not a harsh chemical and has multiple applications from polishing metal to cleaning glass, carpet stains, walls and wallpaper." According to its website, Spic and Span can also be used for exterior surfaces like brick, garage doors and concrete.
- 3. Murphy Oil Soap, $7, Amazon
Gioanna Villabrille, director of the housekeeping and health center at The Little Nell in Aspen, is also a fan of Comet and Spic and Span. But when it comes to cleaning hardwood floors and some of the luxury hotel's most delicate surfaces, she relies on Murphy Oil Soap. "We use it for all the wood throughout the hotel — in the rooms, hallways, living rooms, everywhere," said Villabrille. She added that Murphy Oil Soap is famous in the housekeeping circle for being used to clean pews in cathedrals around the world.
- 4. Clorox Urine Remover (2-pack), $14, Amazon
"I live by this product." That's how Rosy Garcia describes her relationship with Clorox Urine Remover. Garcia, director of style (the hotel's name for housekeeping) at Renaissance New York Midtown said she chooses it because it's a great disinfectant, and the hydrogen peroxide comes in handy for stain removal. It can be used on hard surfaces like toilets and urinals, and soft surfaces like carpet and upholstery.
- 5. Distilled White Vinegar, $26, Amazon
Bertha Gomez's go-to cleaning product is "good old-fashioned white distilled vinegar." The hotel housekeeper at Hard Rock Hotel San Diego (since it opened more than a decade ago) especially likes using it on mirrors and metal. "It doesn't leave streaks like other cleaners and dissolves sticky residue quickly and easily." This 30 percent pure vinegar available on Amazon has nearly 500 reviews and a 4.7-star rating. It's expensive, but it claims to be six times stronger than regular vinegar.
6. Mr. Clean Magic Eraser, $9, Amazon
"The MagicEraser is one of the best inventions since the Post-it note," said Matt Schafer, director of housekeeping at Gild Hall, a Thompson Hotel in New York City. "It doesn’t harm our walls and works extremely well on scuff marks." Gomez is also a fan of Mr. Clean's handheld tool. "It takes off grease easily and you can use it on anything — except furniture because it can scratch and remove paint." On Amazon, the Mr. Clean MagicEraser has 4.2 stars from more than 1,000 reviews and is the No. 1 best-seller in the "Household Surfaces Scouring Pads & Sticks" category.
- 7. Extension Pole, $26, Amazon
After 28 years, Alma Beasenburg has worked in housekeeping long enough to know the toll it can take on one's back. That's why the housekeeper at InterContinental San Francisco recommends investing in an extension pole for accessing those hard to reach spots without overstretching. This pole with 4.1 stars and 650 reviews on Amazon extends up to 6 feet and can attach to microfiber mop heads, dusters, window squeegees, brushes and more.
- 8. Dyson Cordless Vacuum, $249, Amazon
Nikita Taylor, housekeeping manager at Intercontinental Mark Hopkins in San Francisco, said the cord, or lack of, can make or break a vacuum. In her three years of serious vacuuming she's grown to love the Dyson cordless models. "They're convenient and easy. I don't have to worry about where to plug them in." Taylor's pick is the newer V10 Motorhead model ($400) which has up to 60 minutes of run time. But if you're on a budget, the $249 V6 Motorhead model, which has up to 20 minutes of run time, has 4.1 stars and nearly 4,000 reviews on Amazon.
- 9. Steam Iron, $40, Amazon
Got a stubborn stain in your carpet? Iron it out. That's just one hack Ernesto Hughes, director of housekeeping at Westin Nashville, has discovered in his 19 years of housekeeping. "My favorite cleaning tool is a steam iron and a white washcloth," Hughes said. "I place the dry, white washcloth over the stain. Then I 'iron' the washcloth with the steam iron. Voilà! The stain transfers from the carpet to the washcloth!" Hughes didn't say which model he uses, but this best-selling steam iron on Amazon has 4.2 stars and more than 5,000 reviews.
- 10. Pumice Cleaning Stone, $8, Amazon
When Alicia Smith is on the job at Kimpton Hotel Monaco Portland she always keeps her pumice stone nearby. "It's an effective, green alternative to cleaning chemicals," explained Smith who has worked in housekeeping for nearly a decade. "All it needs is a little water to do the job." Smith has found success using it to remove hard water marks and even hair dye. This particular pumice cleaning stone, with a convenient handle, has nearly 2,000 reviews and 4.6 stars on Amazon.
- 11. Long-Handled Lint Roller, $26, Amazon
Several housekeepers we talked to referenced loving their long-handled lint rollers for cleaning floors. "It's perfect because it has a long, easy to grip handle, and without it, we'd receive a lot of complaints about hair in the bathroom," said Casimiro who uses this tape lint roller from the hospitality supplier, American Hotel Registry. With a 4-star rating and more than 200 reviews, this is one of the best-reviewed long-handled lint rollers on Amazon.
- 12. MagicFiber Microfiber Cleaning Cloths, $9, Amazon
Even the pros are plagued by streaks and perhaps even worse, fingerprints. That's why when he's cleaning windows and mirrors, Schafer uses microfiber cloths which he also considers to be one of the greatest inventions since the Post-it note. These cloths, available on Amazon, have more than 11,000 reviews and a 4.7-star rating. They're even soft enough to use for cleaning eyeglasses, computer screens and camera lenses.