A clean hotel or motel room should always include a nicely made bed, an overall clean look and a sparkling bathroom. Guests expect to walk into a hotel room that is neat and tidy. A thoroughly cleaned hotel or motel room has always been a must but with the emergence of the COVID-19 virus, the basics of how to clean a hotel room are no longer enough.

The pandemic created an intense need, not only for a visibly clean and dust free room, but also for a room that is completely sanitary and hygienic.  Deep cleaning and sanitizing are essential after every guest’s visit. Following this in depth 2021 guide for room cleaning in motels and hotels provides guests the most hygienic, safe and comfortable stay possible.

Housekeeping Responsibilities

A certain standard of cleanliness is always expected during a hotel stay. This always starts with good housekeeping. Guests want to walk into a clean room without any reminders of previous guest’s stays. Housekeeping is responsible for cleaning and making sure there is no evidence of previous guests, along with, cleaning, sanitizing and replenishing essential items.

Before a guest arrives, a thorough cleaning of the room is completed. Linens are changed and beds made. For guests staying more than one night, beds are turned down each day, dirty towels are replaced and complimentary items replaced.

Current precautions have limited interactions between the housekeeping staff and guests. Not all daily services are being offered. It is being asked that towels be reused unless clean towels are specifically requested. Beds are not always being turned down daily, unless requested by guests. Reducing the amount of contact housekeeping has within the guest rooms and with the guests, limits the transfer of germs.

Housekeeping Essentials

Housekeeping uses a cart that is rolled throughout the hotel. The cart is filled with all the necessary items to properly and completely clean and replenish supplies in each room.

Ideally, the top of the cart will be filled with the smaller items for guests like soaps, shampoos, lotions and other courtesy items offered.

Sheets, towels and all paper hygiene products are located on the next level of the cart. These are nicely folded and kept away from any soiled linens or garbage. The cart will also include conveniently located cleaning supplies and equipment.

Cleaning supplies should include the following:

  • Vacuum cleaner
  • Mop
  • Floor, bathroom, toilet and surface cleaners
  • Sanitizer
  • Cleaning cloths
  • Paper towels
  • Dusting cloth or tool
  • Toilet brush
  • Protective gloves
  • Garbage liners


Additional items have been added to the cart, to protect against the spread of the coronavirus, like complimentary hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes. Protective gear may be required to be worn by housekeeping like, a facial covering/mask, personal protective equipment, safety goggles and even disposable foot coverings.

Step-By-Step Guide to Clean a Hotel Room

Cleaning every inch of a hotel or motel room can seem like a daunting task. This step-by-step guide will ensure all areas are cleaned and disinfected, in turn, leaving guests with a positive experience and germ-free stay.  To help minimize leaving something untouched, a five-step cleaning procedure can be followed. The five steps are to prepare, clean, sanitize, check and reset each room or area.

Step-By-Step Checklist to Clean a Hotel/Motel Guest Room
  • Open windows to reduce the smell of cleaning chemicals and let fresh air in
  • Strip the beds and change the sheets if a new guest will be arriving. Make beds if the guest will be staying additional nights
  • Collect any garbage that has been left out like used cups, or packaging from soaps and hygiene products
  • Empty garbage
  • Dust and clean all surfaces
  • Vacuum furniture and upholstery
  • Sanitize each surface. Spray to disinfect and then let the surface stay wet for the specified length of time. Allow to air dry.
  • Sanitize other high contact surfaces like light switch, towel rack, toilet handle and doorknob
  • Clean and sanitize the floors last
  • Follow a checklist to ensure nothing was overlooked
  • Replenish complimentary guest items
  • Close all windows
Step-By-Step Checklist to Clean a Hotel/Motel Guest Bathroom
  • Open windows to let fresh air in and reduce any cleaning chemical smell
  • Collect all used towels and place in the designated soiled laundry bin away from clean linens
  • Empty garbage
  • Tidy all belongings
  • Dust
  • Clean the sink and faucet. Sanitize all surfaces.
  • Clean shower and bath area to remove soap scum and create a shiny surface that is visibly clean. Sanitize shower and bath.
  • Clean the toilet and disinfect to ensure it is germ free
  • Sanitize other high contact surfaces like light switch, towel rack, toilet handle and doorknob
  • Clean and sanitize the floor
  • Follow a checklist to ensure nothing was overlooked
  • Restock toilet paper, towels, wash cloths and other amenities
  • Close all windows
Pandemic Precautions & Hotel Cleaning

COVID-19 precautions have been implemented to better protect the hotel staff and guests from contracting and spreading the virus. These additional precautions include the following:

  • Sanitizing main areas of the hotel including the lobby and dining area
  • Placing sanitizer stations throughout the hotel
  • Using “hospital-grade” disinfectants in cleaning
  • Sanitizing “high-touch” areas regularly such as light switches, elevator call buttons and doorknobs
  • Offering contact free check-in when possible
  • Using electrostatic sprayers and UV technology to disinfect
  • Paying special attention to towels, sheets, floors and bathroom to help stop the spread of germs.
Regular Deep Cleaning


  • Wash pillow protectors
  • Vacuum mattress and launder any covers and protectors

Three Months

  • Deep clean carpets with a steam cleaner
  • Deep clean upholstered furniture and curtains
  • Polish floors and tiles

Six Months

  • Rotate mattress if recommended by label
  • Wash pillows
Other Hotel Cleaning Protocols and Guidelines
  • Make sure amenities are readily available and supplies aren’t running low. Reorder cleaning supplies, paper products, linens and complimentary items when necessary.
  • A fresh and clean supply of bed sheets and clean towels need to always be available in the laundry or linen room.
  • Gather the right cleaning supplies and be sure housekeeping carts are stocked
  • Read the safety guidelines for cleaning chemicals so nothing harmful is mixed. Alsco’s Perfect Mix System ensures employees are safely using the right chemicals for the job.
  • Wash hands regularly for at least 20 seconds. Wear gloves when cleaning. Dispose immediately after each room is cleaned.
  • Wear protective equipment for the safety of guests and cleaning staff
  • Take out all the garbage to reduce the spread of germs. Do not let garbage sit out exposed between room cleanings.
  • Collect all dirty linens and keep away from any clean linens that will be placed in rooms.
  • Wash linens on highest heat possible to keep in line with recommended laundering instructions or have a laundry service handle bed sheets and linens.
  • Wash all dishes with hot water and antibacterial soap
  • Always clean top to bottom meaning highest surfaces first ending with the floors

Download the above checklist here.

Commit to Higher Levels of Cleaning

Cleaning hotel and motel rooms can easily be a streamlined process by implementing a five-step cleaning process and following a detailed checklist. These guidelines discussed present a higher level of cleanliness and these higher levels of cleaning lead to higher guest satisfaction and safety.

Introducing a new cleaning process, that keeps guests safe and satisfied, takes time and effort. Alsco’s services can efficiently provide the means necessary to have a clean hotel top to bottom. Alsco offers various cleaning chemicals, laundry services for linens and bedsheets, washroom supplies, sanitizing stations, hotel staff uniforms, a special disinfectant service and gloves and masks.


https://www.osha.gov/sites/default/files/publications/OSHA4097.pdf. Occupational Safety and Health Administration.  (October 2020).

https://www.unicef.org/indonesia/coronavirus/cleaning-and-hygiene-tips-during-covid-19. Unicef.

https://www.laborandemploymentlawcounsel.com/2020/05/more-laundry-keeping-uniforms-clean-in-the-time-of-covid/. Seyfarth. (May 2020).

https://www.ahla.com/sites/default/files/SafeStayGuidelinesV6_062521.pdf. American Hotel & Lodging Association. (June 2021).

https://einsteinmed.org/download/?token=kTZFEKU/b68xqjl4OI1mEr5W8/VTaT7o9YBTQmcjgPI.  Albert Einstein’s College of Medicine. (September 2018).

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/prevention.html. Center for Disease Control and Prevention. (June 2021).