Cleaning Agents Used in Hotel Housekeeping

Shining and dazzling atmosphere of any hotel represents its cleanliness and hygiene which is very much essential to draw the attention of potential guest. Generally it is the duty of all hotel staffs or departments to maintain cleanliness in the hotel but the housekeeping department are generally responsible for bringing sparkling and hygienic tone in the hotel.

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The regular cleaning process is done in order to remove dust and dirt with the help of cloth, brush, vacuum cleaner. But sometimes dust or dirt could be or stubborn which make it immovable. To get the best result of cleaning, the cleaning agents are the most effective tools of cleaning process. Cleaning agents are very useful in removing stubborn dirt. cleaning agen hotel

There are some common cleaning agents that are used in cleaning process in every hotel are as follows:


In all over the world water is commonly used for cleaning purpose as it is easy to handle and free to use. Water has the ability to remove any sort of dust and gives the final touch in cleaning. But in most cases pure water is not enough to remove some stubborn dust or dirt. Other cleaning agents also should be used along it for proper cleaning. Generally, for cleaning purposes water is categorized into two types:

  • 1: Soft water
  • 2: Hard water

Soft water is widely approached for providing best cleaning results. But hard water does not always good for cleaning as it contains chemicals or mineral salts (ex- calcium, magnesium etc).

To get the full benefit of water during cleaning process the housekeeping staff must take the following recommendations:

  • After rinsing dirty water must be replaced with fresh water otherwise it will give a reverse effect by leaving the film of dirt.
  • Always use warm water if you will use soap in water for cleaning. Warm water is being able to liquefy soap or detergent more quickly than cold water as well as to remove dirty soap suds.
  • Try to apply soft water for normal cleaning.
  • Before mixing other cleaning agents with water, check which one go best for particular material.
  • Hard water has to tendency to remain in the cloth or any materials. Therefore, try to avoid it and if you will use it then after applying check carefully the applied area.
  • Surface should be wet properly before washing.

Liquid agents

Now a day in hotels or in the housekeeping departments multipurpose cleaning agents are getting popularity which also saves money. Liquid agents could be adulterate with water or even it could be apply directly in dry cloth. Some of well known and widely used cleaning agents are given below:

  • Ammonia: Ammonia is a chemical strong compound of one nitrogen atom and three hydrogen atoms. Ammonia can easily integrated into water and highly soluble for cleaning. If it is applied in dry situation then it may not bring any results in cleaning. In order to get proper cleaning ammonia should be used in liquid form along with other chemicals. It can reduce the hardness of water and can easily remove lubricant. But ammonia should be kept away from bleach as combination of these two can produce a very hazardous gas.
  • Methylated spirits: Methylated spirits basically resultant from methanol which is used in manufacturing area. This cleaning agent is also called as methy, even alcohol or wood alcohol as it is considered as a category of alcohol. Housekeeping department use this along with other effective substances Methylated spirits as they are very helpful in removing grease stains, ink etc. It should be applied with special care otherwise it’s lethal and combustible state can affect severely.
  • Paraffin: this cleaning liquid agent is widely used in hotels for creating a moisture proof layer on surfaces. Paraffin is a colorless and odorless liquid but also can remove lubricant soils.
  • Turpentine: turpentine is used in cleaning process as a thinner. To make paints glazy and clean, turpentine is best. Like paraffin turpentine is also colorless but has strong odor and very much flammable. Therefore cautions must be taken before using it. Many hotels avoid this cleaning agent due to its strong agent.
  • Vinegar: though vinegar is used as food safeguard in most of the hotels but it also has the capability to clean chores and remove light bath soil.
  • Hydrochloric acid: Hydrochloric acid is also applied for bathroom cleaning but it can be very harmful if proper caution has not taken.
  • Carbon tetrachloride: is used for removing stains or cleaning grease.


In previous days, soap was only option for cleaning hotel’s cloths or materials. Now a day’s detergents are getting popularity for cleaning purposes due to easy application and swift ability for swing dirt and dust. Pure water often is being unable to clean strong grease or organic soiling. Moreover it is harmless for skin. Detergents go well with both soft and hard water. Detergents are basically available in various objects such as powder, solid soap, soap flakes etc. and also in liquid form. But detergents do not work without water, it has to use with water during cleaning process. Detergent contains various elements (surfactants, alkaline salts, bleaches, foam boosters, germicides and perfumes) which make it stronger and useful for bringing best output.

However, before using or selecting a detergent the housekeeping staff should go after some procedures to get perfect cleaning and to make the materials safe. Such as:  

  • Detergents should be carefully soluble in water.
  • As detergents are costly, thus right amount of detergents should be used which is also good for cleaning.
  • Detergents are more effective over a wide range of temperatures. Therefore apply it on good temperature.
  • Detergents don’t work properly until physical power is applied to the mixture.


Abrasives are cleaning substances including, rotten stone, whiting, powdered pumice, volcanic ash, powdered tin oxide, alumina, sand,  saw dust, wheat bran, emery paper, filtered chalks, steel wool, nylon mesh, coconut fibers etc. which are usually applied on various materials for making it smooth and polish. Different abrasives could be applicable for different use based on the materials to be cleaned and the type of dirt to be removed. To get perfect cleaning right abrasives should be applied with right amount.

For example, for removing stains and dust of plain wood, stone and cement floors; silver, sand, steel wool and glass paper are applied. Moreover, pumice powder is applied on sinks and bath tubes to clean soils whereas emery powder or paper provides best result in removing steel’s tarnish. Powdered chalk is an excellent mild abrasive for cleaning white paint and gilder’s whiting is suitable for silver polishing.

Before using proper care must be taken that they do not create any damage to the surface that is being cleaned. Many abrasives are made of strong alkalis, which are effective for cleaning or polishing but these are also harmful.

Washing soda

Washing soda can work as water softener. Though these cleaning agents are getting less useful these days in hotels due to vast use of detergents but it has the ability to clean drain pipes, or stone surfaces. Washing soda could be harmful for some specific surfaces such as wood, paint, fabrics, and brushes or even for skin.


Polishes are used in hotels as last option for cleaning purposes which are used on various surfaces such as floors, furniture, leather and even metals. Polishes provide a protective and shining covering to the surface in the property along with proper cleanliness. Polishes could be classified into three areas. Such as:

  1. Spirit based
  2. Oil based
  3. Water based

Each of the categories is applicable in different materials. For example oil based polishes work great on stained, wax polishes or painted wood, cork or wood waste, enameled tiles and lacquered metals, linoleum and synthetic flooring with an oil or resinous base and leather and leather substitutes. To make clean and shiny floor including sealed, thermoplastic or rubber flooring water based polishes are suitable. Spirit based polishes are best applicable in metal mirrors, window panes and Bakelite.

Like other cleaning agents, polishes also require some precautions which should be followed by the housekeeper which are as follows:

  • Polishes should be used systematically as they are expensive.
  • The surface should be completely cleaned before polishing.
  • To make long lasting and safe the hotel surfaces, right amount of polish is necessary as extra polish can reduce the life of the surface.
  • Rub off polishes carefully to prevent surface from being slippery and sticky.
  • To maintain the original shine of the hotel property, polishes should be applied carefully as surfaces are already provided with permanent or semi-permanent polishes. Especially wax polishes must not used in such surfaces.
  • The housekeeper should prefer multipurpose polishes while buying polishes as polishes are very expensive.
  • Some polishes must be prohibited from using on particular surfaces, such as wax polishes from French floors and metal polishes from chromium plated and lacquered metals.



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