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 professional cleansers from across the country (including some from five-star hotels with the most discerning guests) to see which products they can't live without.
Best cleaning products, according to experts
"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 Royal Sonesta Washington DC. "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.
"When you're flipping a high volume of rooms, efficiency is key," said Casimiro. He recommended 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.
Gioanna Villabrille, director of the housekeeping and health center at The Little Nell in Aspen, says that 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," Villabrille said.
She added that Murphy Oil Soap is famous in the housekeeping circle for being used to clean pews in cathedrals around the world.
"I live by this product." That's how Rosy Garcia described her relationship with Clorox Urine Remover. Garcia, director of style (the hotel's name for housekeeping) at Renaissance New York Midtown Hotel, 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, along with soft surfaces like carpet and upholstery.
Bertha Gomez's go-to cleaning product is "good old-fashioned white distilled vinegar." The hotel housekeeper at Hard Rock Hotel San Diego especially likes using it on mirrors and metal. "It doesn't leave streaks like other cleaners and dissolves sticky residue quickly and easily."
"The Magic Eraser 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." On Amazon, the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser has a 4.6-star average from more than 2,100 verified ratings.
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 recommended investing in an extension pole for accessing those hard-to-reach spots without overstretching. With a 4.5-star average from almost 3,000 verified ratings on Amazon, this pole extends up to six feet and can attach to microfiber mop heads, dusters, window squeegees, brushes and more.
Nikita Taylor, housekeeping manager at InterContinental Mark Hopkins San Francisco, said the cord, or lack thereof, can make or break a vacuum. But in her 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."
Got a stubborn stain in your carpet? Iron it out. That's just one hack Ernesto Hughes, director of housekeeping at The Westin Nashville, has discovered in his 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. Voila! The stain transfers from the carpet to the washcloth!"
Hughes didn't say which model he uses, but this bestselling steam iron on Amazon has a 4.6-star average and more than 4,600 ratings.
When Alicia Smith is on the job at Royal Sonesta Portland Downtown, she always keeps her pumice stone nearby. "It's an effective, green alternative to cleaning chemicals," Smith explained. "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 over 18,000 ratings and 4.5 stars on 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. Without it, we'd receive a lot of complaints about hair in the bathroom," said Casimiro, who uses this tape lint roller from hospitality supplier American Hotel Register Company.
Even the pros are plagued by streaks and 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 48,000 ratings and a 4.7-star average. They're even soft enough to use for cleaning eyeglasses, computer screens and camera lenses.
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