Housekeeping Department

 Housekeeping Department

The housekeeping department is operational in a hotel, which is Responsible for cleanliness, maintenance, upkeep of rooms, public Areas and the surrounding. It is a 24*7*365 operation. 

Housekeeping not only prepares, clean guest room but also clean and maintains everything in a hotel so that property is fresh, attractive and opened for business.

Responsibilities of Housekeeping department 

  • Ensure a high level of cleanliness and general upkeep in all areas for which department is responsible.
  • Deal with lost and found article
  • Decorate the surrounding
  • Give guest privacy
  • Establish a welcoming atmosphere
  • Provide uniform for all staff and maintain inventory
  • Provide and maintain floral decorations, the landscape of the hotel.
  • Establish a good working relationship with other departments
  • Keep the Administrator informed of all matters that required action

Importance of housekeeping department

A hotel survives on the sales of Room, food beverages and other minor services such as laundry, health club. A major part of hotel Revenue/margin of profit comes from Room sales which contribute more than 50% of hotel Revenue.

Similarly, the effort housekeeping department makes in giving the guest a desirable room has a direct effect on guest experience in a hotel. Unless it is decorated appropriate, air odour free, spotlessly clean, the hotel may lose the gust as a potential repeat customer. Thus, Housekeeping department contributions in a big way towards overall Reputation of property.

Functions of Housekeeping department 

1. Cleaning Rooms and public areas

2. Bed making

3. laundry services

4. Pest control

5. Key control

6. Safety and security

7. Interior decoration

8. Room Maintenance

9. Guest Relations 

10. Upkeep the aesthetic appeal of the property.

The layout of the Housekeeping department

  • Executive Housekeeper is the head of housekeeping office who reports to the general manager of the hotel. The secretary assists the executive housekeeper.

(layout figure is given in next article)

  • In the laundry, all soiled linens rewashed. Generally, the volume of soiled laundry is very high in a big hotel. It is equipped with shelves, cupboard, hangers. There is an exchange counter in the laundry
  • In a linen and uniform room, the linen of hotel is stored, collected and dispersed to various floor pantries. there is also an employee exchange counter which provides uniform to staff on one to one basis I.e soiled linen for fresh. It must be cool and dry with sufficient stock of clothes.
  • There is also tailor shop who stick and mend /repair tear linen and uniform. A stitch in time saves nine so, stitching and sewing also helps controlling linen cost 
  • In a linen store, various linen required for housekeeping operations is stored.
  • The executive housekeeper is the head of housekeeping who reports to general the manager. Administrative work of the department is performed by executive housekeeper from here

  • Secretary assists executive housekeeper. 
  • Desk control room or Housekeeping control desk operates 24 hours a day. Housekeeping staffs report at the start and end the shift from there. It is the main communication centre from where coordination is maintained with various departments.lost and found section is also located there. 
  • Upholstery is textiles, spring or other materials used for decorating furniture and rendering comfortable. 
  • In the flower room, there is a sink, working Tables and various flower arrangement. Normally it is air-conditioned.

It is the easiest layout of housekeeping which shows different layout and section of the house keeping department.

Organization chart of the housekeeping department 

The organization chart shows hierarchy and Responsibilities along with authority which is who reports to whom, who is senior, what is the duty, Responsibilities e.t c. It shows organization culture and tradition. It also shows our structure i.e how we operate and functions. 

The executive housekeeper is the head of the housekeeping department with deputy Housekeeper or assistant Housekeeper below him. There are linen and uniform supervisor, desk control supervisor, floor supervisor, night supervisor, public area supervisor and horticulturist below assistant or deputy Housekeeper.

  • Also, linen and uniform supervisor supervises tailors, upholsters and attendants.
  • Floor supervisor supervises room attendant and houseman.
  • Public area supervisor supervises houseman and cloakroom attendant. Houseman lifts heavy objects.
  • Horticulturist supervisor gardener and head gardener

Note:- the above theory is just to understand organization chart. You see there who reports to whom and who is the boss of the department. Always remember executive housekeeper is the head and below him, there are assistant Housekeeper and deputy Housekeeper who supervises different supervisor. those supervisors are six (floor, night, public area, horticulturist, desk control, linen and uniform). Their duties and responsibilities are given below;

Attributes required for the Housekeeping staff

No matter how luxurious the decoration or how aesthetic the guestroom may be, grumpy, poorly trained and unhelpful staff can destroy potential customer satisfaction. Some personal attributes of Housekeeping are. -

1. Pleasant personality:- 

It is the result of good grooming and good presentation in front of guests. He/she should be turned out in well iron clean uniforms, aftershaves and perfumes should not be too strong. minimum jewellery and light make up are for female staff. Unclean manner like chewing gum, the scratch of facial hair in front of guest should be avoided

2. Physical fitness:-

Housekeeping us a 24*7*365 operation and staff need to work a long hour on feet. similarly, most works are manual and have to lift heavy equipment also. Physical fitness is a must to cope with the nature of this work.

3. Personal hygiene:-

Housekeeping staff should take bath daily, their hair must be well Combed, nail clean. Their mouth should be free of offensive odour and any infection should be reported.

4. Eye for detail:- 

Housekeeping department must keep eye on the whole property for care and maintenance. Similarly, they are also eyes and ear of establishments.

5. Adaptability:-

Housekeeping staffs should be willing to try out and experiment with different ideas.

6. Honesty:-

Housekeeping staff have direct access to the guestroom. They also deal with.various kind of tempting guest amenities. So they should be honest 

7. Good memory:-

This is an essential asset in Housekeeping personnel. They should be able to identify regular guest, their preferences and choice.

8. Loyalty:-

The employer should be loyal to their company. A situation should never arise where employees use guest as their sounding board

9. Punctually:-

If an employee is continually late for duty, it shows a lack of interest in work and lack of respect for Management and his job

10. Calmness:-

Housekeeping personnel should remain calm in various kind of emergency

11. Tact and diplomacy:-

Some guest makes unusual complaints and demands. Sometimes guest demand services that override Management policies. It requires a lot of tact and diplomacy to handle such guests.

Inter- departmental coordination 

No individual Departments in any hotel can work in isolation. It is not only the Housekeeping department in a hotel working towards the satisfaction of the guest. The friction between the department should be minimum or not at all. The co-ordination of the Housekeeping department with other departments are:- 

1. Co-ordination with the front office:-

Room is a chief concern to the front office and Housekeeping department. It is important to continuously exchange information on room status, list of arrival, VIP arrival of the day, expected arrival and departure for a day in advance. If the guest departed before the expected departure date front office should inform Housekeeping. The front office is not allowed to assign room until the room has been cleaned, inspected and released by the Housekeeping department. This two department should co-ordinate mainly for exchanging information about rooms 

2. co-ordination with Maintenance department:-

The maintenance department is mainly responsible for the provision of engineering facilities that comfort guest and increase the efficiency of staff. The maintenance department also provides training to save energy, resource in the hotel from being wasted 

3. Co-ordination with security department:-

Co-ordination is mainly concerned with the prevention of fire, thefts, loss property, scanty baggage. Security department also give training sessions for handling the emergency for staff 

4. Co-ordination with the food and beverage department:-

The friction should not arise over matters such as waiters not collecting trays from guest room or room service staff leaving soiled trays in the corridor, causing extra work through careless spills on carpet. Both restaurant and kitchen staff require a clean uniform for which they need the Housekeeping department.

5. Co-ordination with purchase department:-

Housekeeping should convey their requirements to purchase by two way of advance notice through purchase requisition form.

6. Co-ordination with sales and marketing:-

Two things are certain in the hotel business, no matter how many guests a sale person brings in the door if Housekeeping doesn't perform his role effectively the guest will not be coming back again and no matter how well the room is if the salesperson does not bring a potential guest to the hotel, occupancy rate will fall.

7. Co-ordination with store and laundry:-

Co-ordination with stores ensures availability of day to day necessities all the time required. Similarly, Housekeeping should co-ordinate laundry to ensure timely supply of linen.

8. Co-ordination with human resource department:-

Co-ordination is required for recruitment of staff, managing their salaries, bonus, issuing identity card, transfer, promotion, organizing training sessions.

Staffing Guide in Housekeeping

proper staffing is the most in any hotel. 

  • We always need 1 Executive Housekeeper for a hotel with 300 room property. 
  • We need 2 assistant Housekeeping manager which we need 1 per morning and 1 per evening.
  • Floor supervisor is needed 2 per 60 room for the morning shift, 1 for the evening shift.
  • Linen uniform room supervisor we need 1
  • Room attendant 1 per 16 room

Now if I have a hotel with 300 rooms and standard time to clean each room is 20 minutes ( my attendant's efficiency)

At 100 % occupancy, room to clean tomorrow will be 300 * 1 = 300

Our GRA works 8 hours day and take 20 minutes to complete 1 room 

In 8 hours there are 60*8 = 480 minutes 

So 480/20 will be number of room cleans by 1 GRA in 1 day which will be 24 rooms

Now to complete 300 room if 1 GRA Attends 24 room, 300/24 = 12 GRA are needed.

We can schedule 12 + 3 GRA = 15 The next day, +3 is my rule of thumb for smooth operation. 

Let's take another example,

If my hotel total room is 200 and it is at 50% occupancy. My employee works 8 hours a day and takes 30 minutes to clean 1 room.

For the next day, room to clean will be 100

My employee works 8 hour = 8 * 60 = 480 minutes.

His efficiency is 30 minutes so in 480 minutes, he can clean 480/30 of room 

It will be 16 rooms a day.

For cleaning 100 room, 100/16 = 6. 25

Assuming round figure and rule of thumb, 6 + 2 = 8 full-time staff can finish. 

Please refer my other articles for more about housekeeping department and various departments.

Housekeeping Terminologies 

Amenity:- service item offered to the guest or placed in the guest room for comfort and convenience of guests

EPABX:- Electronic private automatic branch exchange operators

King size bed:- the largest bed with a size of 78 inches * 80 inches.

MICE:- Meetings, incentives, conventions, exhibition

Hat checker:- He provides service in a top hotel of the cold region where he labelled Different guests hats, overcoat and store them return there to the guest when a guest leaves the property.

Upholstery:- Textiles, springs and other materials used for decorating furniture.

W.C - water cistern. It is a reservoir to hold the right amount of water required to flush toilet

GRA:- Guestroom attendant

Occupied Room:- A guest is currently registered to the room 

Complimentary Room:- The room is occupied but the guest is not to be charged for it

On - change Room:- the guest has departed but the room has not been cleaned and readied for sale

Do not disturb:- the guest has requested not to be disturbed

Scanty Baggage:- The guest with light luggage that could be carried away easily

Skipper:- The guest have left the hotel without settling his account

Not cleared:- The guest has settled his account and left the hotel but the front office have failed to update room status.

Checked and ready:- The room has been cleaned and inspected and is ready for arriving guest

Out of order:- The room needs maintenance work or extensive cleaning so cannot be assigned to the guest.

LockoutRoom:- The room has been locked so that guest cannot re-enter until given clearance by hotel official 

Luggage in:- Guest luggage is in the room but the bed has not been slept in

Did not check out:- The guest has settled his account but left without informing the front office

Late check out:- The guest has requested and is allowed to check out later than hotel standard check out time

Check out:- The guest has settled his account, return the room keys and left the hotel

Vacant Room:- The room in which no guest has slept the previous night and not yet occupied.

No - Luggage:- The guest is staying in the room but without luggage

Double - locked Room:- A room which has been double locked. No other key can open this door except Grandmaster key or the emergency key.

MITRE:- The corner fold of bed sheet while making the bed

Turn - down Service:- A special service provided by Housekeeping department in which room attendant enters guestroom in the early evening and restock supplies, tidy the room and turn down covers on the bed.

CRIB:- Cot for babies which is provided to guest on requested.

Stayover:- The guest is not checking out today and will remain at least one more night

Deep cleaning:- intensive or specialized cleaning undertaken in a guest room or public areas 

Duties and Responsibilities of housekeeping personnel  

1. Executive Housekeeper :

Executive Housekeeper reports to the general manager. He is responsible and accountable for the total cleanliness and supervises all Housekeeping employee.

Duties and Responsibilities

  • Organize, supervise and coordinate work of Housekeeping personnel
  • Ensure safety environment and comfortable for the guest
  • Assign and counsel employee on various duties
  • Motivate staff
  • Ensure provision of safety at work, proper uniform and hygiene
  • Deal with guest complaints
  • Hire new employees, warn employees when hotel policies are violated
  • Deal with lost and found properties
  • Prepare a budget for the Housekeeping department
  • Check cleanliness of the entire hotel
  • To maintain inventory control and cost control procedures
  • Responsible for all keys in his department
  • Draw up duty rosters 
  • Assure proper communication within the department
  • Search constantly for and test new techniques and product
  • Provide budget to Management and undertake budget control.

2. Assistant Housekeeping manager :

Assistant Housekeeper executive assists in managing and directing of day to day operations of all Housekeeping department. An assistant Housekeeper reports to executive Housekeeper and supervises floor, night, public area, linen room supervisor.

Duties and Responsibilities:-

  • Maintain communication, coordination with other departments
  • Conduct shift briefing
  • Inspect VIP rooms and ensure that staff have followed the procedure
  • Represent department in absence of executive housekeeper
  • Ensure Housekeeping policies, systems and procedures are followed
  • Ensure lost and found procedures are followed
  • Check all incoming supplies
  • To motivate staff
  • Check out of order room
  • Assist executive housekeeper in forecasting and budgeting
  • Prepare staff s schedules and duty roster
  • Ensure how outsource works are done by contractors.

3. Floor Supervisor/Night supervisor/public area supervisor/linen supervisor/public area supervisor/Desk control supervisor

They work under the Assistant housekeeping manager and are supervisors. They are critical persons in Housekeeping operations.


It will be difficult to keep in mind all functions, duties and responsibilities of these supervisors individually so, we will go through an easy way

1. Lead train and motivate his team to provide service as per standard

2. Ensure Housekeeping policies, system and procedures are followed by their staff

3. Ensure standard operating procedures are followed by all staff

4. Maintain discipline and conduct staff appraisals

5. Train staff under them to achieve maximum efficiency from them

6. Ensure staff are properly groomed and in good hygiene

7. Inspect and supervise their respective areas

( These 7 points will be valid for all supervisors in the Housekeeping department. now we will add 2/3 easy points )

1. Floor supervisor:-

  • Maintain floor pantry 
  • Inspect room complete by guestroom attendant
  • Issue floor keys to room attendants
  • Check scanty baggage

2. Night supervisor:- 

  • Prepare night report
  • Follow up special requirements left by the evening shift
  • Ensure the safety and hygiene of staff at night

3. Public Area supervisor:-

  • Inspect all public areas
  • Check safety system in public areas
  • Ensure party halls are kept ready and attractive all the time
  • Remove any items from public areas that require repair, washing, mending.

4. Linen and uniform Room supervisor

  • Assign daily works to tailor
  • Check the condition of linen, uniform and take action for damage one
  • Check the laundered item before dry cleaning
  • Maintain Register of linen movement

5. Desk control supervisor 

  • Maintain Register kept at the control desk
  • Receive special requests from guest
  • Attend all phone calls at the control desk
  • Take proper custody of key 
  • Handle lost and found articles.

( We should always remember those seven duties and responsibilities which is valid for all supervisors and even for managers and add some points more) 

4. Guestroom attendant : 

Guestroom attendants report to the floor supervisor. Generally, the hotel employs one-room maid 12-16 rooms. Nowadays, most hotels use the term ' attendant ' rather than 'maid ' since Men have entered this arena earlier dominated by women.

Duties and responsibilities 

1. Clean and tidy guest rooms as per the standard policy of the hotel.

2. Change guestroom and bath linen

3. Make guestroom beds

4. Replenish guest supplies

5. Provide turn down service

6. Reply to guest supplies

7. Replenish maids cart with guest supply, cleaning agents 

8. To report various guest to Reportable

5. House person:- 

They perform heavy physical work assigned like carpet, windows cleaning, furniture carrying 

Duties and responsibilities

1. Clean carpets 

2. Shift bed and other heavy furniture

3. Clean the swimming pools

4. Clear out garbage 

5. Clean fire fighting equipment

6. Clean all work, door and window

7. Wash wall

8. Clean garden and garden path

9. Take heavy cleaning, deep cleaning.

Principles of cleaning 

The guest who comes to stay at a hotel expect it to be as clean as their homes. It creates guest satisfaction, Reputation. The whole Housekeeping team should know the importance of efficient cleaning. Efficient cleaning Results when certain principles are followed:-

1. Sweeping the area before mopping

2. Allowing the dust to settle down

3. Dusting before vacuuming

4. Disinfecting the area immediately after cleaning

5. Using correct Equipment

6. use the appropriate amount of disinfectant solutions

7. Control of energy

8. Use of quality products

9. Clean either in the clockwise or anti-clockwise direction.

Cleaning Agents

Cleaning agents are chemicals which assist in cleaning. It includes wide ranges of chemicals, water which is required for stain removals, cleaning. The water alone will not be an efficient cleaner so we need different cleaning agents. Most cleaning agents we combined with water and used.

1. Water:- It is regarded as the universal cleaning agent. It is a simple cleaning agent. Water is hard and soft. Hard water does not produce lather with soap easily and can be boiled to remove hardness.

2. Soap:- soaps are made from a combination of animal fats and caustic soda in various flavours. Soaps are usually three kinds - Bath soaps, washing soaps, liquid soaps

3. Detergents:- These are made from various chemicals and composed active ingredients builders and additives. When used with water they lose and remove dirt. A good detergent should have good wetting power, good emulsifying power and good suspending power. Emulsifying power is to break up grease and enable dirt to be loosened. Similarly, different types of detergent are- Neutral detergent, soapy detergent, synthetic detergent, biological detergent, mild alkali and strong alkali detergent.

4. Abrasives:- These are chemicals that depend upon scratching properties to clean dirt and grit. They are used to remove very stubborn stains on various surfaces. Types of abrasive are Hard abrasives- It includes sandpaper, steel wool, pumice. Their scale of hardness is from 6 to 9. They are not used alone in cleaning agents. Fine abrasives, Medium abrasive.

5. Bleach and Disinfectants:- Disinfectant brings a varying range of microbial control. It brings germs control. They have a strong smell so should not be used everywhere in the hotel. different types of disinfectant used in the hotel are:- phenols, Halogens, Natural pine oil. Sodium hypo chloride is a powerful bleach used for stain removal. It is poisonous 

6. Caustic soda:- It is used to clean drains. It is used with hot water and should not be brought in contact with the hand.

7. Scouring powder:- This is used to remove stubborn food deposited in pots, aluminium pans.

8. Acids:- strong acid includes sulphuric acid, Nitric acid. They have a low pH value weak acid is citric acid in lemon and acetic acid in vinegar.

9. Polishes:- polishes are mainly four types, Metal polishes, Furniture polishes, Floor polishes and leather polish. Polishes produce shine and should be chosen according to the materials.

Cleaning Equipment

Efficient cleaning and maintenance of the house keeping department depend upon high-quality cleaning equipment and correct procedure to use them. Both mechanical and manual equipment is used in the Housekeeping department. 

A. Manual Equipment:- It includes all type of Equipment that helps in cleaning by using the operation of employees.

Brushes:- It is used to remove dirt from the hard floor and soft floor. The brush has three parts; Bristles, Headstock and Handle. Bristle may be animal or man-made origins. Softer bristles are used for smooth and hard surface. Bristle is the main component of the brush to clean. Brushes are mainly Hard, soft and scrubbing types. Hard brushes are used in rough surface and cleaning of the carpet.

Brooms:- Brooms bristles are made of grass, corn or coconut fibre. The brush should never be left standing on their bristles which will bend its shape. Also, a soft brush should not be used on a wet surface. 

Mops:- Dry mops and wet mops are used in hospitality operations. Mop consists of handles. Mop head is made of cotton, sponge. Damp mops are four types - Kentucky, Foss, sponge and squeegee.

Cloths:- various clothes are used extensively in wet and dry cleaning by Housekeeping staff. Clothes are colour coded for their correct use. Types of cloth used are Dusters, glass cloth, floor cloths, wet cloths, polishing cloths.

Containers:- we use various types of containers in the Housekeeping department which are:- Buckets, Dustbins, Hand caddies,

B. Mechanical Equipment:-

Mechanical Equipment is powered by electricity or gas. Incorrect usage of this may result in a safety hazard. Some mechanical equipment are:-

Vacuum cleaners:- vacuum cleaners remove debris, soil, or water by suction. All vacuum cleaners operating principle is the same. Vacuum cleaners are dry and wet.

Scarifying, Buffing and scrubbing machines which are general purpose floor cleaner machines. They add shine to the floor and removes dirt, dust. Their bristles are powered by an electric motor.

Scarifying machines:- scarifying is the process by which heavy grease, mud, thick deposit are removed from the surface of floors

Cleaning of an occupied room 

Material Required:- A well-stacked room Attendants cart.

Procedure:- I have divided the process into subdivision and steps so that it will be easy to understand.


  • Knock on the door with knuckles and announce 'Housekeeping'. Do not use any other articles such as keys. Do not disturb the guest if Do not disturb card is displayed on the door knob. 
  • If the guest response, open the door slightly and ask if he may want the room to be served. If the guest is willing, proceed to clean the room but don't make much noise. If the guest doesn't want service, ask would he like in an alternative time and marked it note. 
  • If the guest doesn't answer, wait for some time and knock again announcing Housekeeping. In case there is no response from guest use your floor master key and open door slightly calling Housekeeping. In case no response from guest enters and make sure the guest is not in the bathroom or deeply asleep. Otherwise, proceed to clean If a guest is in the bathroom just go out without disturbing the guest. 
  • If you woke up guest, apologize to the guest, explain the reason for entry and you shall come back later
  • Open the door wide and position your cart in front of the door with shelves facing the door.


  • Ventilate the to by opening windows, drawing the curtain 
  • Remove any soil room service trays 

  • Switched on the electric appliance to make sure it is working
  • Empty waste paper, ashtrays and sanitary bins


Always clean from higher to lower level. The room is occupied hence dusting will work .dust the door, cabinets, TV rack, luggage rack, clean mirror lampshades, vacuum the carpet and dry mop the floor.


Restock the bedroom supplies and places them as per hotel policies Teas, coffees, sugar, mineral water are restocked and cups, glass swiped  


Put on protective gloves and carry Housekeeping caddies for cleaning bathroom. The guest room is occupied so deep cleaning is not necessary just dry shower wetness change bath linen, hand towel and face towels. Check for toilet rolls. Also, dry bathtub and vanity areas and restock all inventory, flush the toilet  

Have the last check and make sure the room is tidy. Never throw anything and don't touch guest valuable and money. Just put a scattered article in the same place after cleaning.

Priorities while cleaning a guestroom

A guestroom Attendant may have to serve anywhere between 13 and 18 bedrooms in a day. The standard is 16. Some rooms may be occupied, some may be vacant and in some room, there may be VIP of the house. Similarly, some occupants request early make - up and some hung make my room card on the door knob. They should be dealt with accordingly and we should know who to give priority.

The priority of daily cleaning of guestroom by guestroom attendant is -

  • Guestroom whose occupants requested for early make - up
  •  VIP Rooms
  • Check out Rooms blocked for arrivals
  • Check - out rooms
  • Occupied room with please make my room signs hung up
  • Stayover 
  • Rooms that have DND card in the morning.

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