Best Cleaning Secrets That Hotel Maids Swear By

Tired of feeling like your house is never as clean as you want? Looking to update your cleaning regimen? Here, we look at the cleaning secrets hotel maids swear by. (Turn your place into a fresh, tidy nest with the tip on page 10.)

1. Prioritize bedding and towels

Big white soft pillows on a white luxury cozy bed
Sheets | Theerawan Bangpran/iStock/Getty Images
  • Tip: Sheets and pillowcases should be washed weekly. Towels should be washed every three to four uses.

Bedsheets and pillows collect dead skin, bacteria, pathogens, and even dust mites. And towels create ideal conditions for bacteria. As Apartment Therapy reveals, “Even when only used for just a few days, many towels test positive for microbes such as mold, yeast, and E. coli.” Few things have such close contact with bodies as bedding and towels. Wash them often — just like a well-run hotel.

Next: The sneakiest places for germs

2. Sanitize all dials, buttons, and switches

Hotel remote control
  • Tip: Remove batteries and unplug appliances. Use a cleaning brush or Q-tip to get in between buttons and switches with a light mixture of water and rubbing alcohol.

Identify every control in the room, including remotes, light switches, appliance dials, and electronic buttons. In a hotel, hundreds of hands have touched these controls. In fact, the remote control is usually the dirtiest thing in the room, reports the Huffington Post. In your home, these instruments are often the nastiest, too.

Next: Use the environment to your advantage.

3. Air it all out

Women jumping on bed in room
Open windows for added freshness. | Adie Bush/Getty Images
  • Tip: Open the windows to let dust out and fresh air in.

Hotel maids know airflow helps a room “breathe” and provides ventilation as you disturb dust and utilize cleaners with chemicals. Indoor air pollution is a real issue, so the Environmental Protection Agency advises opening windows for five minutes a day, even when it’s cold outside. Plus, the natural light will allow you to see dirty surfaces better.

Next: Don’t trash this item; clean with it.

4. Add a toothbrush to your arsenal

Cleaning shower or bathroom grout with a scrub brush
Cleaning grout with a small scrub brush | Eike Leppert/iStock/Getty Images
  • Tip: A toothbrush can clean nooks and crannies that sponges and rags can’t reach.

“I have several small brushes to get into those tiny cracks in the bathroom,” Stickney tells Good Housekeeping.

Next: It’s okay to get violent with this chore.

5. Give drapes a good whack

Clean curtains thanks to a hotel maid | DSP/iStock/Getty Images
  • Tip: Whack drapes with a hand towel in between deep cleanings, then vacuum the fallen dust all the floor.

Stickney explains the drape attachment on your vacuum doesn’t get all the nooks and crannies where dust can hide.

Next: Don’t fear extra suction.

6. Vacuum the seemingly odd areas

Vacuuming a modern sofa
Clean that couch. | FotoDuets/Getty Images
  • Tip: Use your vacuum’s handheld attachment to clean furniture, duvets, headboards, and throw pillows.

Hotel cleaners know neglected furniture and accents can get dingy fast. According to eHotelier, it’s a clear indicator of an unsanitary hotel room (and a dirty home). Don’t forget to vacuum these heavily used items.

Next: Forget the feather duster.

7. Know the best way to dust

Dust cleaner
Dusting | DutchScenery/Getty Images
  • Tip: Forgo the feather duster; use a 100% cotton T-shirt instead.

Your old T-shirts, or really any cotton item, can dust just as effectively as a store-bought duster. Agustin Canongo, the Director of Housekeeping at Loews Vanderbilt Hotel in Nashville tells Good Housekeeping that microfiber sheets are also great for picking up dust.

Next: Clean up your cleaning products.

8. Keep all your tools together

House cleaning product variety
Cleaning supplies | Tatomm/iStock/Getty Images
  • Tip: Invest in a small caddie or plastic bin to keep things in order.

You don’t need to have a big rolling cart like the pros to keep all your cleaning supplies organized and accessible. Store all your cleaners and brushes in a caddie under your kitchen or bathroom sink.

Next: The big secret about your fitted sheets.

9. The secret tags in your bedsheets

Luxury hotel suite
Luxury hotel suite | Fred DuFour/AFP/Getty Images
  • Tip: Tags are on the bottom left side of king sheets; they’re on the bottom right side of queen sheets.

Most people know when it comes to putting fitted sheets on beds, “tags always go on the bottom,” explains Emma Anderson, Best Western’s 2014 Housekeeper of the Year. But you can save time rearranging by knowing the tags’ locations on king and queen sheets.

Next: The right way to vacuum for ultimate cleanliness

10. The ultimate vacuuming trick

Woman cleaning with vacuum cleaner while baby sitting on floo
Woman cleaning with vacuum cleaner while baby sitting on floor |
  • Tip: Instead of starting at the furthest corner and working your way to the door, first hit the spots with the most foot traffic, then go to the corner and work your way out.

A true trick of the trade is vacuuming a room strategically. By beginning with the highly trafficked areas, you’ll “hit the most walked-on spots twice,” Anderson says.

Next: Do this or you’ll leave dust behind.

11. Don’t forget to de-clutter

Clutter | Yukikaefb/iStock/Getty Images
  • Tip: Clear off every surface and space.

Hotel housekeeping manager Maria Stickney tells Good Housekeeping, “This removes the temptation of just wiping around these items or picking them up and immediately placing them back down on a wet surface, which can leave ring marks.” Also, consider emptying trash cans first.

Next: Crucial details

12. Identify tricky spots ahead of time

Woman cleaning oven
Female hand with yellow protective gloves cleaning oven |
  • Tip: Recognize the areas that will be hardest to clean, so you can prioritize them.

The racks in your oven, the screws at the bottom of the toilet, that corner by the door… Whatever your problem spots are, schedule your cleaning regimen around them.

Next: Get your money’s worth.

13. Let the products sink in

Cleaning glass or shower with a spray bottle
Glass cleaner | Natali_Mis/iStock/Getty Images
  • Tip: Cleaning products are most effective if you let them do their jobs, especially in the bathroom.

It’s human nature to complete tedious chores fast. But, in your bathroom, let cleaning products sink in for several minutes. Tackle the cabinet while you wait on the toilet; clean the mirror while you wait on the sink, and so on.

Next: The ultimate cleaning product

14. Just add water

Baking soda vinegar cleaning
Essentials that help cleaning supplies| eskaylim/iStock/Getty Images
  • Tip: A DIY blend of white vinegar and water will clean most things.

You don’t have to buy expensive products to clean well. Make a solution that’s one part white vinegar and three parts water. “It cleans well and even clears cloudiness from residue left behind by other cleaners,” Canongo tells Good Housekeeping.

Next: Keep your energy up with an entertaining hack.

15. Use a cup as a makeshift speaker to play motivating music

Water glasses in bathroom
Just add an iPhone | Dzmitrock87/Getty Images
  • Tip: Rest your phone inside an empty water glass for amplified tunes.

Few things are more motivating than some fun music. When your cleaning energy starts to wane, try this makeshift speaker hack.

Next: Prep your floors the right way.

16. Before you mop …

cleaning the floor with a old mop, mopping
Janitor’s mop | Voyagerix/iStock/Getty Images
  • Tip: Sweep or vacuum the floor first.

This will help clean up excess dust, hair, and any other gunk that may become difficult to clean once the mop and solution get the floor wet.

Next: Devise a plan while cleaning your floors.

17. Check out your exits before mopping

Cleaning tools on parquet floor
Cleaning tools | tommaso79/iStock/Getty7Images
  • Tip: Start mopping from the opposite side of the room and work your way towards the door.

Stickney explains that this way you won’t step on newly-cleaned sections of the floor.

Next: How to get your priorities straight

18. Prioritize your rooms

House cleaning product
House cleaning products |
  • Tip: Save the bathroom for last.

You may despise cleaning the bathroom and think getting that out of the way first is best, but consider saving the commode for last. “It’s best to start in the bedroom (rather than the bathroom) to minimize bacterial transfer,” Stickney tells Good Housekeeping.

Next: You may just create more work with this item.

19. Know what items make cleaning more difficult

Man cleaning tile wall
Cleaning with a yellow cloth | Di_photo/iStock/Getty Images
  • Tip: Terrycloth and polyester rags make cleaning more difficult.

Good Housekeeping advises against using these kinds of rags when dusting. These products actually create more dust and will only make it more difficult to clean later.

Next: The ultimate reward for cleaning

20. Remember, you’ll be healthier!

Woman Vacuuming a beige carpet
Vacuuming | didesign021/iStock/Getty Images

Tip: Cleaning your house involves many added health benefits.

The harder your housework, the more calories you’ll burn. Mopping for 30 minutes can burn about 153 calories, depending on your weight and age,” explains. Removing environmental allergens by dusting and vacuuming can improve your respiratory health. And keeping cluttered spaces organized can help you concentrate and improve your brain’s processing capacity, according to Journal of Neuroscience.