Dirty Little Secrets: Confessions Of A Hotel Housekeeper

by SharonKurheg

Most of us don’t have a whole lot of interaction with hotel housekeepers. A quick “hello” as you pass by in the morning, maybe a note on the pillow to ask for extra washcloths or to let them know the bulb on the standing lamp in the corner burned out, a tip left on the pillow (not sure how much to tip? This should help) and that’s usually about it.

Welp, several years back (granted, pre-pandemic), Trivago.com interviewed a housekeeper who worked at a 5-star hotel, to get a better idea of what her job was like. The interaction was shared on the now-closed HuffPost Contributor platform and is a very interesting glimpse into the world of the people who clean our rooms before, during and after our hotel stays.

Here are a few excerpts from the interview:

How many rooms in total do you clean in a day?

It can range between 10-15 checked-out rooms and about another ten basic cleans when a guest is still staying in the room. For a room where a guest has checked out, it usually takes 45 minutes for a standard room, a suite or VIP room always takes longer. For guests that are still staying in the room, it takes about 10-15 minutes.

Is there anything that you don’t clean in the rooms?

When I have time I will clean everything, but sometimes it’s so busy and management still expects everything to be cleaned just as fast as on a day that isn’t as busy. If this is the case, I usually won’t vacuum, and will just do a fast clean, like rinse the bath instead of scrubbing, or dusting over surfaces quickly. The remote control is something I would say doesn’t get a proper clean; I just go over it with the same cloth I use for the bedside table.

What is the pay like? Do you struggle to get by on your income?

Especially in the U.S., it is a huge struggle and more so if you have a family. It is almost impossible, similar to what you would earn at a fast-food restaurant. That’s why tipping is important for us.

Some other questions in the interview include:

  • How often are pillows replaced? What about the bedding?
  • What do you really think about how guests behave?
  • Do you ever have a nap in one of the rooms?
  • What is the strangest thing you ever found in a hotel room?

Click here to read the full interview

My thoughts on the article…

  • I never really had an idea of how much housekeeping staff have to do in the course of a day. But I suppose if you add up the number of rooms and how many full cleans vs. touch-ups to rooms that are occupied, it does add up.
  • I didn’t expect to read what housekeepers sometimes do in guest rooms. I mean, I shouldn’t be – the door is closed, and who would know? – but it still wasn’t something I had ever considered.
  • Re: the pillows. Ew. I’m glad I bring my own.
  • I was NOT surprised that some people are pigs and/or are rude.
  • I already knew that hotel housekeepers’ pay was awful – that’s why we never feel bad about tipping (and tipping well). But that’s on par with anyone in the service industry (we use this as a guide.)

Want to learn more? We reported about another forum a while back about what hotel workers have to say about their jobs and what they sometimes do. I’ll give you fair warning, though – it’s not the kind of stuff you want to think about (at the end of the post, I said I wanted to take a shower).

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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary

1 comment

Dave December 30, 2023 - 1:49 pm

Not surprised in this world


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