Who doesn’t love to stay at a fancy hotel? But how many of us know what really goes on at hotels, behind the scenes. On this AMA on Reddit, a hotel housekeeper answered questions about her job, and the responses may make you rethink your next stay.
1. On being asked about standard guest etiquette before check-out:
Well, as it’s my job to clean, I don’t really expect the guest to do anything. Maybe try to put all your garbage into the garbage can, or at least near it, if that is too full. It’s a little tiresome to have to make five trips out to my cart, to round up all of the garbage BEFORE I can strip linens from a room.
2. On interactions with hotel guests:
When people leave me tips or notes, it always brightens my day. Most times when I do interact with guests, they just ask me questions about the weather (since it’s ever-changing here and a lot of people aren’t used to it), or where places are. I did have a man who had recently come home from his tour of duty in Afghanistan, tell me a little about his time there while I cleaned his room, which I didn’t mind. Otherwise, most people are strictly business.
3. On how much semen they encounter during a workday:
Well, since semen dries clear, I don’t really know if I’m encountering it. Which is why I wear gloves when I strip linens. I have only ever found used condoms once or twice, and they were in the garbage can, where they belong. But I can only imagine. Although I try not to.
4. On walking in on people doing “strange” activities:
The procedure is to knock at least three times in a row, announce yourself, and then knock again before opening a room, to avoid this. But I have walked in on people sleeping, and once walked in on a woman nursing her baby. My best advice is to lock your door and place the “Do Not Disturb” sign out. I have absolutely no access if the deadbolt is on, and cannot knock if the DND sign is out.
5. On what do guests usually leave behind:
People leave underwear behind A LOT. We catalog all items left behind, for at least a year, in case guests call back and ask for them. Someone once left behind a stack of about 100 business cards, old IDs, library cards, and more, in a rubber band once. Don’t know if he ever called for them.
6. On being asked if they get paid enough:
I get above minimum wage, receive the occasional tip, and have a bonus based on how many rooms I clean in a pay period. So yes, it’s decent money.
7. On the most bizarre thing they’ve ever seen:
We have a frequent business guest who has a penis pump, and he left it out of its case in various places in the room. I’ve encountered it on the desk, next to the bed, and on the bathroom counter. Not necessarily bizarre, but unpleasant nonetheless.
8. On what they hate about their job:
I hate cleaning pee off the toilets. It’s the most frustrating thing. You have to be 18 to check into the hotel, how old do you have to be to aim for the toilet bowl? That’s what I always wonder when I’m wiping pee off the side of the bowl, off the floor, off the back of the tank.
9. On guests requesting to not clean the rooms:
Yes, often. A lot of people will arrange with the front desk to have their room left uncleaned for their entire stay, and in that case, their room is left off of our assignment lists until they check out or request service.
10. On the most embarrassing situation they had to face:
I went to a stay-over room to clean, knocked on the door and announced that I was housekeeping, waited about 10 seconds, then knocked and announced again. I opened the door and a woman clutching a T-shirt to her bare chest came running towards me, screeching that she was nursing. I felt awful for a while. But this is a perfect example of why you should lock your door or place the DND sign. I won’t knock if the DND sign is out, and I can’t access your room if it is locked.
11. On the worst thing they had to clean:
The worst thing I’ve had to physically clean was after someone vomited on the bathroom floor, tried to clean it themselves with a towel, and gave up and just covered the towel with another towel. No good.
12. On the most disgusting thing they’ve seen:
I often clean up hairballs, urine, blood, vomit, etc from bathrooms. But that’s kind of a given. The most disgusting thing I’ve seen, happened on a slow day, when a few co-workers and I lifted mattresses off the bases to vacuum under them, and found a very moldy soda bottle that seemed to be used as a spittoon for chewing tobacco.
13. On cleaning up after someone smokes in the room:
If I can smell smoke in a room, I have a special spray (we call it smoke spray, don’t know the technical name) that is stronger than the normal air freshener. All I do is spray the armchair, curtains, and spray a few mists into the air. Takes the smell right out.
14. On being asked how often they clean the beds:
I replace everything but the quilt, every time I clean. The quilt is only washed when stains appear on it. I also dust the headboards daily.
15. On how often are the bedspreads washed:
I only throw them down to laundry when there are visible stains on them. It happens pretty often, people eat in bed or pop a zit and leave a bloodstain. But they are not replaced between every guest.
Well, hopefully, this answers some of your questions too.