Friday, October 2, 2009

updated housekeeping notes..for the upcoming test!--part 2

Composition, Care, and Cleaning of

Different Surfaces


Hard surfaces are found in various forms, in different areas, in all hospitality establishments. To keep the hotel property looking as fresh as it did the day it first opened, housekeeping employees involved in the care and maintenance of these hard surfaces must known the composition of these surfaces, the specific type or variant, and the optimal cleaning and maintenance procedures. Adequate training should be imparted to the staff on the care and maintenance of the surfaces, because once spoilt, these surfaces usually cannot be revived to achieve there original appeal or function. The types of hard surfaces commonly used in hotels include metals, glass, plastics, ceramics, wood, stone, etc. In addition to these housekeeping staff are also responsible for the care and cleaning of surfaces such as leather, rubber, etc.


Metals form the whole or a part of many fixtures, fittings, and items of furniture. The most commonly used metals are silver, steel, copper, brass, bronze, aluminium, and iron. These metals may be used in door and window fittings, wall panels, light fittings, sanitary ware, restaurant cutlery, cooking utensils, guestroom accessories (such as ashtrays, vases, and picture frames), and furniture (such as beds, chairs, and tables). Most metal surfaces get tarnished, scratched, or rusted unless treated or protected.


In this section, we shall discuss the various types of protective finishes on metals, which protect them from damage.


Paint may be applied to steel and wrought iron to make them look decorative. Paint also prevents exposure of the metal surface to air containing oxygen and moisture. Before painting, the metal must be cleaned to remove surface dust and any traces of rust. The paint should be applied evenly, in several coats. Any damage to the paintwork should be repaired immediately.


This is done using the process of electrolysis. In this process, protective or decorative metals such as chromium, zinc, tin, silver or gold are deposited on brass, steel, or copper. It is a very durable finish.


In this process, the base metal—usually steel or iron—is coated with a layer of zinc to avoid corrosion. This is not used as a decorative finish. Rather, galvanizing makes the article more durable. It is a treatment extensively used for buckets, dustbins, and sinks.


In this process, molten glass is applied to metal surfaces such as steel and iron, which later sets to form a transparent, tough, smooth, and easily cleaned surface. The enamel may 'craze' (crack on the surface) on wear, however.


In this process, shellac—dissolved in alcohol—is coated over brass or copper to reduce tarnishing.


This is another electrolytic treatment by which aluminium is protected from corrosion. It also acts as a decorative finish by enhancing the appearance of aluminium. Anodized aluminium is now extensively used for door and window fittings.


In this process, steel or copper is dipped into molten tin to render it corrosion resistant.


Plastics can be coated over steel and iron for colour coding (as in pipes) or for decorative purposes.


The uses as well as the cleaning procedures for commonly used metals and their been discussed below.


This soft, malleable, and ductile metal has a brilliant sheen when well polished. Small amounts of the metal in elemental form occur naturally in the earth, but most of the silver we use is extracted from silver ores. Silver is chemically unaffected by pure water, pure air, and a majority of foodstuffs, but gets scratched easily if pure. Silver is used as the plating in electroplated nickel silver, for making cutlery, utensils, vases, and decorative artefacts.


The two forms in which silver is most commonly used are sterling silver and silver plating. Sterling silver is an alloy containing 92.5 per cent silver and the rest is mainly copper. Copper is added to harden the silver and at the same time does not affect the other properties of the metal. Sterling silver is more expensive than silver-plated alloy and for this reason is seldom used in hotels. Table silver or `Silverware' is usually made of silver-plated alloy, by plating 'blanks' of nickel silver alloy. 'Nickel silver' does not contain any silver at all; it is a term for alloys that look like silver (being white metal) and made of nickel, copper, and often (but not always) brass, along with a few other metals for added strength and shine. The 'blanks' are simply pieces of cutlery made of this alloy. Indeed, that is what most so-called ‘silverware' is made of, with no actual silver being involved in the cheaper grades. However, the better quality of tableware is then plated with silver. The 'blanks' are immersed in a complex solution of silver salts and, by the process of electrolysis; silver is transferred to their surface. This results in electroplated nickel silver (EPNS).


Problems the discussion below applies to both sterling silver and plated articles, which have pure silver on the surface.

Silver pits - These are small pits that form on the surface of the article. Silver, especially cutlery, gets 'pitted' when left in contact with salt for too long. To prevent pitting, silver cruets should always be fitted with glass liners and silver spoons should not be kept in salt for long.


This is due to the action of compounds of sulphur, present in industrial atmospheres and in certain foods stuff such as egg yolk, fish, onion, certain juices, green vegetables, and pickles. If soap is not rinsed off completely after washing silver, it gets tarnished rapidly. Chemically, the tarnish is silver sulphide, which varies in colour from yellow through brown to blue-black, depending on its thickness. Tarnish cannot be removed by simple washing operations and requires specific removal procedures.


Silver needs to be cleaned and polished on a regular basis. When it gets tarnished, more complex cleaning methods have to be employed.


Wash the article in a hot solution of synthetic detergent, scrubbing with a piece of cotton cloth. Then rinse in clean boiling water in an enamelled tray. A sheet of aluminium and some soda can be placed in the tray. Once the articles are clean, drain the water away and wipe dry whilst still warm, rubbing hard with a lint-free linen cloth or chamois leather. Another way to get rid of tarnish is to soak the article for two hours in water leftover from boiling potatoes and then clean. Till a good sheen is achieved or use the polishing methods discussed below.

Store silver that is not in use wrapped in tissue paper (the acid-free variety), place in air tight containers in a dry place.


A silver dip solution is used when tarnished silver is to be cleaned. It is a pink coloured liquid based on an acid solution of a thiourea compound into which the articles are immersed completely (friction is not required) for removal of tarnish. The silver should remain in the liquid for a very short time. The articles should be washed with warm water and dried. While working with silver dip, stainless steel containers should not be used since the dip attacks steel. Enamel or plastic must be used instead. Silver dip should not be used too frequently on the silver, either, since it is harder on the silver because of a chemical reaction between the silver and the liquid that can corrode the metal. However, many establishments use silver dip frequently since it is faster than other methods.


In this method, silver articles are immersed in a hot soda solution containing a plate or a sheet of perforated aluminium for 10 minutes. The aluminium sheet or plate is commercially available for this purpose under the trade name Polivit. It is best to place it in an enamelled or galvanized iron bowl. It should be ensured that at least one silver article is in direct contact with the aluminium foil, and each article with either the foil or another article. A chemical exchange then takes place to remove the tarnish, transferring the suIphur to the aluminium. The articles are then removed, rinsed with boiling water, and dried with a lint-free linen cloth.


Afer cleaning and removing any tarnish, the silverware should be polished to restore its original shine. Silver may be polished using one of the following aids.

Proprietary preparations: These preparations are usually based on precipitated whiting and jeweler’s rouge. The polish is rubbed on the article, allowed to dry, and removed by buffing. So preparations require rinsing and drying after polishing. Silvo is an example of silver polish available in the Indian market. However, an effective liquid silver polish can be readily made in the housekeeping department. The ingredients and method are given in Table 8.1.

Plate powder: this pink powder should be mixed with just enough methylated sprit to make smooth paste. Alternatively, water may be used; but methylated spirit is preferred since it evaporates faster and the silverware is then available for polishing much more quickly. The smooth paste is rubbed thoroughly onto the silver article with a clean rag and left to dry. It is then rubbed off with rags. The article should be rinsed well in boiling water and buffed with a clean cloth. Is somewhat time-consuming, it gives good results. Plate powder too can be prepared in the department using the method given in Table 8.2

Table 8.1 Preparation of Liquid Table 8.2 Preparation of plate

silver polish powder



Shredded soap

Boiling water

Precipitated whiting



1 tbsp

1 cup

3 tbsp

1 tbsp

2 tbsp

Method of preparation: Put all the dry ingredients except soap into a bottle. Dissolve the soap in boiling water and pour over the dry ingredients in the bottle. Add ammonia and spirit into the bottle. Keep the bottle tightly capped. Shake the mixture well before using. The method of use is the same as for similar commercial proportions.



Precipitated whiting

Jeweller's rouge

8 parts

1 part

Method of preparation: Mix together both the powders and store in a tin. This powder can be mixed with methylated spirits and applied on Silver when polishing is required. The method of polishing is as discussed for commercial plate powder


A long-term silver polish forms a very thin, colourless, transparent, and impervious film that is chemically boned to the silver. The film does not have any odour, taste, or other detectable properties. This thin film can get removed by abrasion, however, so aftercare is essential.


A burnishing machine consists of a revolving drum with a safety shield. In this revolving drum, highly polished steel balls are immersed in a detergent solution with the silver articles. The machine rotates and the friction from the steel balls polishes the silver. These articles are then rinsed in hot water and dried. The burnishing machine is used for polishing large quantities of silver articles. Care should be taken to keep the ball bearings covered with water when not in use, since they rust rapidly otherwise.


Steel is an alloy of iron. The alloy contains mainly iron and carbon; other materials are found in small quantities. It is used in the form of pressed chrome steel for the manufacture of baths, sinks, and so on; stainless steel is used in making cutlery, protective paneling, sanitary ware, furniture, trays, and cooking utensils. Steel is sometimes galvanized or enamelled to prevent corrosion. If an enamelled steel surface gets stained, it can be washed with a mild liquid abrasive.


These are the forms most likely to be encountered in a hotel property.


Steel is coated with chromium for manufacturing taps, bath handles, shower fittings, and so on. These can become spotted with water marks or get greased, but they do not tarnish. Water spots and grease can be easily cleaned away.


This is steel to which 8-25 per cent of chromium has been added, making it corrosion-resistant. Stainless steel is tough, durable, and can take a mirror-polished finish. It is used in making cutlery, sinks, WCs, and so on. For spoons and Forks, steel containing 18 per cent chromium and 8 per cent nickel is generally used. However, even stainless steel can be harmed by silver-dip solutions, acidic solutions, alkaline bleaches, salt-vinegar mixtures, and excessive heat. An important source of possible corrosion for wet stainless steel is contact with galvanized articles or aluminium ones. In this process, a zinc or aluminium corrosion product is deposited on the steel by electro-chemical action.


Steel may be coated with zinc (galvanized) to prevent tarnishing, This kind of steel is used for making buckets.

Steel may also be nylon- or plastic-coated for furniture legs or painted in different colours for identification purposes. Anodized, tin-plated, and lacquered steels are also used as they do not corrode.


Stainless steel is washed in a hot solution of synthetic detergent using a soft nylon scrubber, rinsed with clean water, and immediately dried thoroughly with a linen cloth. The use of harsh abrasives should be avoided as they may scratch the surface.

Chrome steel and galvanized steel are wiped or washed with synthetic detergent solution, stains removed with soft steel-wool, the articles rinsed with clean water, and buffed with a linen cloth.

For cleaning greasy stains, sodium bicarbonate can be used on all types of steel, Steel occasionally needs polishing to remove scratches and stubborn water spots, A proprietary polish for hard metals or a spray polish may be used for the purpose,


This metal with an orange-brown tinge has a light sheen of its own. It is used for wall paneling and counter tops in bars and restaurants; bowls, vases, and urns in lobbies and guestrooms; and utensils in the kitchen. Copper is even used in cutlery and serving dishes in some ethnic Indian restaurants. Copper cookware should be lined with tin or nickel for protection, as the copper may react adversely with some foods. Such utensils should be re-lined or discarded as soon as signs of wear are seen in the inner lining. Copper may also be lacquered to avoid tarnishing.


Copper is washed in warm water and then rubbed with a mixture of salt, fine sand, and vinegar, using rags, to clean. It is then, rinsed in warm water and dried with a flannel cloth. A thin coat of vegetable oils applied to the surface to retard further tarnish. In case of heavily tarnished copper, a weak ammonia solution will remove the greenish deposits on the surface. If the lacquer has come off at certain places, the rest may, be removed with acetone before reapplication. Copper can also be polished with a proprietary polish. Unlacquered, copper requires frequent polishing to avoid the greenish deposit of tarnish forming on the surface. A long-term hard-metal polish can be used for this purpose.


This is a golden-brown alloy of copper and zinc. It is used in making door and window fittings, stair rods and railings, foot rails in bars, taps, ashtrays, and ornaments. Brass tarnishes and scratches easily. To avoid this, brass fixtures are usually lacquered.


To clean brass articles, remove surface dirt with a duster and rub the articles with a paste made of white flour, salt, and vinegar in equal parts. This will remove mild tarnish. Make sure to rub away all the mixture. Alternatively, a mixture of 30 ml oxalic acid and 300 ml soda solution will also remove tarnish. Corroded brass should be treated with spirit of salt (hydrochloric acid) and then rinsed thoroughly. In very bad cases, if possible, soak the brass article for 12 hours in washing soda solution (approximately 30 g), then rinse and polish. Never use a tamarind-salt mixture to clean brass (although many consider it traditional) as the surface may become damaged. Polish with Brasso or Kiwi Kleen Brass, using damp rags or cotton. A long-term hard –metal polish can also be used on brass.


This s is a brown alloy of eopper and tin. It is used primarily in making works of art and medals. It does not tarnish easily.


To clean a bronze article, wash well with water and then apply a mixture of one part muriatic acid and two parts water with a piece of flannel. Allow the solution to dry and then polish the bronze well with vegetable oil.


This silvery, lightweight metal is highly malleable and ductile. It is used to make light fittings, insulation wires, window frames, venetian blinds, furniture items, door and window fittings, saucepans, and other utensils. Aluminium is not tarnished by air. It is, however, damaged by soda and other alkalis as well as stained by acids. Aluminium may therefore be anodized to prevent damage to the surface. It also, scratches and bends easily.


To clean aluminium, wash in a hot solution of synthetic detergent, using soft steel-wool to scrub. Use mild abrasives only in the case of difficult stains. Discolouration in saucepans can be removed by boiling a solution of water and lemon juice in them, rinsing, and then drying. Alternatively add 15 ml borax to 500 ml of the washing solution. In case of aluminium showpieces, some liquid wax polish may be applied to maintain the gloss.


This silver-white metal of great strength is used in making furniture, buckets, dustbins, and cookware. Iron can be forged or cast. Wrought iron is iron that has been forged, that is, it has been shaped by heating in fire and then hammering while hot. Cast iron is a hard alloy of iron, carbon, and silicon that has been cast in a mould. Non-enamelled cast iron is flame- and oven-proof.


Utensils made of cast iron need to be seasoned before first use to prevent rusting. Before seasoning, the article has to be washed in mild soap and water, then thoroughly dried. Seasoning is done by rubbing the inside surface with vegetable oil and heating in a slow oven for about two hours Enameled cast iron utensils do not need seasoning and are easier to clean. If handled carelessly, however, the enamel may chip away. If the utensils are put under cold water immediately after use, while still hot, the enamel may again flack off. Therefore, before cleaning, allow the utensil to cool gradually.

CLEANING PROCEDURE Unprotected iron should be washed only when necessary and then thoroughly dried. Galvanized iron needs regular washing and thorough draying. Rust can be removed from galvanized items with fine steel-wool dampened with oxalic acid. Do not store iron in damp areas. Before long-term storage, coat with oil or black lead (graphite).


This is a grey alloy of tin with lead or other metals. It was used in making old fashioned tankards and goblets. It tarnishes easily and should be cleaned frequently as the tarnish is difficult to remove. Pewter is often lacquered to protect it from tarnishing.


To clean, wash pewter in a warm solution of synthetic detergent and rub well while drying. Any grease on the surface may be removed by wiping with methylated spirit before washing. Polish pewter with a proprietary metal polish.


Glass is a transparent, lustrous, and brittle material made from silica or sand. A mixture of pure, fine sand, soda or potash, and other ingredients is carefully measured out. This is called “Batch” The batch is fed into a furnace and heated to an extremely high temperature, above 13000 C, where it fuses into molten glass. From the furnace, the molten glass is led away for shaping. After shaping, the glass is cooled by a process called “annealing”, in which the glass travels on a conveyer belt through an annealing oven. In the annealing oven, after the initial re-heating, the glass gradually cools as it passes through. Glass is used in making doors, windows, furniture, vases, lighting fixtures, mirrors, partitions, tableware, kitchenware, and bottles.


Glass can be classified in various ways according to its, constitution, specific properties, use, and form.


The exact materials from which a type of glass is manufactured can alter its properties, and hence the uses it may be put to. Some of these commonly seen in a hotel property are described in Table. 8.3


Soda-lime glass

Lead crystal or lead glass

Borosilicate glass




Sand, soda ash, and limestone

Inexpensive, ordinary glass

For inexpensive, flat or hollow glassware—tumblers, plates, cups, saucers, ashtrays, bottles, shelves, windows, pictures, and mirrors.

Sand, lead oxide, and potash

An attractive glass, with fine luster (due to the lead oxide added) and brilliance; softer than soda-lime glass, and can be cut easily

For expensive hollow glassware —bowls, drinking glasses, and vases.

Sand and borax

Hard, heat-resistant (since borax cuts down the rate of expansion when glass is heated).

For ovenware, flameproof glass cookware.

In addition to the types of glass mentioned in Table 8.3, silvered glass for mirrors is made by coating one side of a glass panel with silver, or sometimes copper, followed by a coat of paint and a layer of enamel. This backing should not be damaged while cleaning. Silvered glass may In addition to the types of glass mentioned in table 8.3,silvered glass for mirrors is made by coating one side of glass panel with silver or sometimes copper, followed by a coat of paint and a layer of enamel. This backing should not be damaged while cleaning. Silvered glass may be used as large tiles or smaller mosaic pieces or as reflective sheets. Silvered glass should not be soaked in water to clean, but wiped with a damp cloth or a cloth soaked in methylated spirits, which evaporate quickly, before they can damage the backing.


Another way to classify some of the commonly used types of glass according to form and function, which depend on the way the glass is made. These are listed in Figure 8.1


Flat glass is usually soda-lime glass and is used in making windows, tabletops, and shelves. Flat glass does not allow ultraviolet rays to pass through. Flat glass can be of two types.


Sheet glass is drawn continuously from the molten mass and passed through an annealing tower, after which it can be cut to the desired lengths. The faster the sheet is drawn, the thinner the glass will be. Sometimes there are flaws in the sheet, so that a certain amount of distortion occurs. This type of glass needs to be polished after annealing. Thus, it is used as ordinary window and picture glass.

Organization Chart

Fig. 8.1 Types of glass, classified according to use

FLOAT GLASS This type of glass does not require polishing after annealing. It provides clear, undistorted transparencies and is used in shop window, mirrors, and protective covering for furniture.


Glass can be manufactured as a textile fiber, which may be used for making curtains and fire blankets. Fiberglass may also be manufactured as rigid sheets of plastic or other material with glass filaments embedded for strength. These sheets can be molded and are used for sanitary ware, furniture, and wall panels. Fiberglass is fire-proof, impermeable, and resistant to damage by pests, sunlight, or air.


This is a type actually derived from sheet or float glass. It is textured on one side, so that some light passes through and some is blocked or distorted, so that the material is not entirely transparent. The pattern is produced when molten glass is made to flow from the furnace between embossed rollers. Obscured glass is used in making bathroom windows and for screening areas where privacy or diffused light are desired.


This is produced by blowing, moulding, and pressing molten glass into the desired shapes. Casts or moulds of wood or iron are often used for shaping the glass. The moulds may be patterned, giving an imitation 'cut-glass' effect, which is very even and smooth-edged, unlike the real thing. Blown glass shapes may be less regular and call for more skill in the person using a pipe to literally 'blow' the glass bubble into shape before it solidifies.

SAFETY GLASS this is another kind of glass that is made from sheet or float glass in various ways.


Wire is incorporated in obscured glass during the rolling process. If broken, the glass pieces will be held in place by the wire until knocked out of the 'frame' for repair.


This consists of two thin sheets of glass with transparent plastic sandwiched between them. If a laminated glass sheet breaks, the glass pieces will adhere to the plastic layer.


This is made by heating the glass sheet to a temperature just below softening point and then cooling the surface rapidly. As a result, a skin is formed, which, if the glass breaks, will cause the pieces to shatter into tiny, harmless fragments that will be less likely to fall out of its frame as their weight is easily supported


This safety glass is made by the combination of the above mentioned two methods of laminating and toughening, this combination creates a glass five times tougher than other safety glasses.


This is produced by hand-cutting shaped glass articles using abrasive copper wheels that rotate at a very high speed. The 'cuts' have a matt surface in the beginning from being ground. But become highly reflective when polished. Cut glass is polished by treating the entire article with acid. Hand-cut lead crystal glass has prismatic grooves that emit rainbow-colored reflections. This glass is expensive and used for chandeliers, decanters, vases, and quality table glassware. Glass can also be decorated by the somewhat similar process of etching. In this process, the article is coated with a protective wax and a pattern is cut into the wax with a steel needle. On immersing the article in an acid bath, the acid eats into the unprotected patterned areas.


The discussion that follows takes into account most of the glass objects you are likely to find on a hotel property.


Even slight marks and smudges show prominently on glass surfaces. Therefore glass surfaces, especially flat sheets, require frequent cleaning. Dusting should be done daily with a lint-free cloth. Damp dusting needs to be done whenever necessary. Light soiling and greasy fingerprints should be wiped away with a solution of vinegar and water (1:1) or a solution of 9 ml liquid ammonia in approximately 1 litre of warm water. Glass cleaners applied with a sponge also clean glass effectively. For cleaning larger surfaces, a small window squeegee may be used. Stubborn marks on mirrors—such as toothpaste deposits, hair-spray, and make-up—should be removed by wiping with a cloth moistened with methylated spirit. Newsprint contains an effective solvent, therefore newspaper can be used to remove marks from windows too. Use a lint-free cloth to dry the glass surface afterwards.


Textured or engraved glassware should be cleaned whenever necessary, using a soft nylon brush. Abrasives should be avoided. Discoloured or stained bottles and vases can be cleaned using a mixture of crushed eggshells, synthetic detergent, and warm water. For jars and bottles, a mixture of construction sand and water can also be used to remove discoloration. Alternatively, clean by filling them one-fourth full with a mixture of vinegar and water (1:1) and add a few potato pieces, gently shaking till the marks disappear. To remove lime deposits from hard water in water jugs, vases, and tumblers, soak the items in distilled water for an hour, scrub with a nylon scrubber and synthetic detergent solution, and rinse with water. Dry the articles with a lint-free cloth.


Cut-glass chandeliers are delicate, expensive, and therefore used mainly in lobbies, banquet halls, and VIP suites. Cleaning chandeliers is a time-consuming, laborious process; but it should be done with utmost care since parts from a chandelier, once broken, may not be easy to replace. For cleaning purposes, chandeliers are taken down, dismantled piece by piece, and dipped into a warm solution of synthetic detergent. Each piece is then gently cleaned with a nylon scrubber and rinsed in clean warm water. A second rinsing is done in a mixture of one teaspoon liquid ammonia in 2 1/2 liters of water. This results in a brilliant sparkle. Alternatively, surgical spirit can also be used for the final wipe.

Another method, which is more efficient, uses an upholstery shampooing machine. The machine sprays a detergent solution through a fine nozzle with enough pressure to clean each prism. The dripping wash water is collected in a catch basin installed below the chandelier.


Application of glass polish or spray-on furniture polish for polishing glass is effective but expensive. Polishing glass with damp chamois leather or simulated skins also gives good results, and is cheaper. The daily polishing after a cleaning may be done with just a lint-free cloth, however.


Plastics are resinous synthetic polymers that have the following qualities, advantageous and disadvantageous:

· They are light in weight.

· They are quiet in use.

· They are resistant to most chemicals.

· They are non-conductors of electricity.

· They are easy to clean.

· They are largely non-absorbent, except thermoplastics, which absorb grease,

· They are resistant to moths and other pests.

· They are available in attractive colours.

· They are on the whole reasonably priced.

· They can be scratched if harsh abrasives are used on them.

· They have a tendency to discolour and crack.

· They produce toxic fumes on burning.

· They attract dust due to static electricity.

· They are non-biodegradable.

Plastics have become one of the most widely used groups of surfaces in homes and commercial establishments—including hotels—today. In -the hospitality industry alone, they are used in making furniture, wall coverings, floor coverings, cleaning equipment, protective coatings, and utensils.


Plastics may be of two types according to their properties—thermosetting plastics and thermoplastics.


These are hard plastics that are moulded by heat and pressure and do not usually soften when they are reheated. Examples of thermosetting plastics are melamine, phenolics, and laminates.


This group of plastics is used in making tableware, trays, laminated worktops, wall panels, and shelves.


These are used in making buckets, trays, telephones, door handles, electrical fittings, and laminates. Phenolic plastics are not affected even by boiling in water, so that they are suitable for making kitchenware.


Melamine, phenolics, and other plastic resins are together used to produce plastic laminates. Laminates are manufactured by subjecting layers of paper impregnated with plastic resins, such as phenolics or melamine, to high temperature and great pressure. A texture may also be introduced in laminates. Plastic laminates may be stuck directly to wall surfaces, to plywood, or to other supporting material. They may also be used for making wall panels, countertops, and furniture.


These are soft plastics that soften when exposed to heat and harden again when cool. Most of the plastic materials used in hotels fall under this group. Some thermoplastics are extremely heat-sensitive while others may withstand higher temperatures. Thermoplastic plastics include acrylics, acetal resins, cellulose acetate .and nitrate (as nitrocellulose esters), polyamides, polyesters, polyethylenes, polypropylenes, polystyrenes, polyurethane foams, polytetrafluoro ethylene (PTFE, otherwise known by the trademark Teflon), polyvinyl chloride (PVC) derivatives, acrylonitriles, and some other plastics produced as synthetic fibers. Properties and uses of several common thermoplastics are given in Table 8.4.


Name/ group




Lightweight; strong; scratch easily; damaged by very hot liquids

Sanitaryware, trays, telephones, furniture, and protective panels

Actual resins

Resist boiling, chipping, and scratching

Knife handles

Cellulose acetate and nitrates


Brush handles, door handles, light fittings, and lamp shades


Withstand sterilization temperatures (especially nylon)

Kitchenware, knife handles, bristles of brushes, curtain fittings, and abrasive pads


Lightweight, water resistant, and resist colour change

Trays, lampshades, and, when reinforced with glass fibers, sinks, furniture, and seamless



Can be manufactured as pliable or rigid; rigid form withstands boiling

Rigid form used in manufacture of sanitaryware,

kitchenware, trays, and lamp shades


Withstand sterilization; may be manufactured as pliable or rigid

Pliable form used in manufacture of matting; rigid form used for dustbins, buckets, and



Polyurethane foams

Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE or Teflon)

Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) products, commonly referred to as 'vinyl’s'


Synthetic fibers

Manufactured in three forms—crystal type is clear, glossy, and brittle; toughened varieties are less brittle; and expanded polystyrene has a cellular structure that is light, absorbent, and has excellent insulating properties. Expanded polystyrene is difficult to clean because even slight pressure may cause damage

Pliable; withstands boiling and dry-cleaning fluids

Tough and low-friction; sensitive to high temperatures

May be manufactured in pliable or rigid form; used extensively in hotels

Tough; withstand high temperatures

Polyamides, polyesters, and acrylics can be produced as fibers or long filaments and woven into textiles. They have great strength and durability and they are easy to clean and quick to dry because of their poor absorbency

Crystal type used for domestic equipment and utensils, toughened polystyrene used for refrigerator linings and fan blades; expanded polystyrene used for ceiling tiles, packaging and disposable utensils (Styrofoam)

Manufacture of mattresses, cushions, carpet underlays, sponges, and mops

Used in kitchenware. It is bonded to iron and aluminium to give a smooth, non-stick surface

Pliable form used in upholstery fabrics, wall coverings, and curtains; rigid form used for curtain tracks, plumbing fittings, floor coverings in sheet and tile form, and suspended ceilings, used to coat wallpaper and wood to render them washable, and used as a rust inhibitor on wire kitchenware articles

Tableware and outer casing of vacuum cleaners

Used extensively in carpets, curtains, upholstery, bedding and uniforms.


Plastic surfaces are easy to clean and maintain. Dally damp-dusting should be done since plastic attracts dust due to 'static electricity. Light spoilage can be removed by Wiping with a warm solution of synthetic detergent, followed by rinsing and air drying. Never rub plastics with a dry cloth, as this increases their static electricity and makes them attract more dust. Textured surfaces need mild scrubbing with a soft brush. Stains should be removed by rubbing with a cloth soaked in ethylated spirit. Small soiled items may occasionally be soaked in a mild solution of hypochlorite bleach. Where plastics come into contact with food, such as it refrigerators, a solution of 9 ml sodium bicarbonate to 300 ml water (and not synthetic detergents) should be used for cleaning. The surface should then be rinsed thoroughly with clean warm water. Synthetic detergents are avoidable since foods may absorb their odour.

Given below are some precautions that will help in the maintenance of plastics:

· Do not expose to direct heat, such as from cigarette butts, hot plates, and so on.

· Do not use harsh abrasives.

· Do not buff with a dry cloth.

· Do not apply strong acids or alkalis.

· Do not drag heavy objects over plastic surfaces.

· Do not allow them to suffer heavy impacts, as this can damage some plastics.


Ceramics are made from sand and clay. Different proportions and types of clay are mixed with other ingredients to produce various kinds of ceramics (see Figure 8.2). After mixing the ingredients and shaping, the clay is fired at a high temperature to render it hard. The article is then glazed and fired for a second time. If a glaze or sealer is not applied, these articles remain highly porous. Ceramics are used for making sanitary fittings, drain pipes, vases, floor tiles, wall tiles and finishes, cooking utensils, and crockery. Ceramics should be handled with care since they are prone to cracking and chipping. Ceramic plates used in hotels usually have rolled edges to avoid the problem of chipping at the rim. Sanities handles (where the entire article, with its handle, is molded together as one piece rather than being attached just before firing, which can result in cracks) are preferred for jugs and cups in hotels since these are not as easily broken.


As Figure 8.2 shows, there can be quite a lot of variation in the ceramic's final qualities, depending on the proportion of ingredients and the manufacturing process.


This thick, heavy, and highly porous material is moulded out of clay and baked. It is used in making jugs, bowls, vases, and ashtrays. Earthenware should be handled with care, as it chips and breaks easily. This type of ceramic may also be glazed or vitrified.

Organization Chart

Fig. 8.2 Various types of ceramics


These contain a large amount of fine white clay called ball clay this makes them thick and opaque. A glaze is applied on the surface as this clay structure is highly porous.


This is also known as vitreous china. It is very hard and heavy because of its higher flint content. Compound to other earthenware, this is fired at a higher temperature, so that consistent and complete fusion taken place. Vitrified articles are thus stronger, heavier, less easily chipped, and more expensive than other kinds of earthenware.


Made From fine clay baked, this, type of earthenware is usually left unglazed. Terracotta articles are naturally brownish red in colour. The material is used for pottery, ashtrays, vases, and ornamental building materials.


This is similar to earthenware but has, a higher stone content. It is also fired at a higher temperature than earthenware, resulting in a stronger material. Since the material is impervious, glazing is not required. Many stoneware articles are flame and oven-proof.


This is made From kaolin (china clay and china stone or feldspar. Unlike bone china, however, it does not contain calcinated bone. Porcelain has a translucent body and a transparent glaze. It is all extremely hard and strong ceramic. Since it is extremely expensive, it is not in much use in hotel establishments. Porcelain can, however, be used to make cups, saucers, and other types of crockery.


This is different from porcelain in that it contains bone ash. It also has less Feldspar and more china clay than porcelain. The addition of bone makes the clay easier to work and gives it strength. Bone china is fired at very high temperatures, winking it very thin but strong and impervious because of the complete fusion that takes place. Harsh abrasives should he avoided as designs are often applied to the Outer surface of this material. Bone china is used to make fine cups, saucers, and other types of crockery.


Ceramics should be handled with care during cleaning since they are easily cracked and chipped. Extremely hot or too cold water should be avoided. A warm, neutral synthetic detergent solution should be used for cleaning ceramics. The articles must be rinsed thoroughly rind dried with a lint-free duster. Status may be removed by rubbing with it damp cloth to which sodium bicarbonate has been applied.


Wood is hard, compact, fibrous, and porous. Good wood makes for a rich, warm and beautiful surface. It is an extremely versatile surface material, with its varied colours and different grain patterns, and is used throughout hotel establishments. Being a porous material, wood absorbs water as well as dust. It is also prone to fungal attacks and pests infestations.


This categorization is based on the origin as well as the treatment that wood has undergone before use. Wood is used in hotels in various forms, listed in Figure 8.3.


Depending on its strength and resilience, it may be hard or soft wood. Irrespective of the kind of wood, it is important to keep in mind that all of them are absorbent and will require different surface-protection treatments, depending on their use



These are obtained from broad-leaved, deciduous trees. The most popular hardwoods are teak, oak, ash, beech, birch, walnut, and rosewood. They are very strong and heavy, and thus can stand a good amount of wear and tear. Hardwoods have a more refined grain and shorter fibers than softwoods. Because of these properties, hardwoods do not dent or splinter easily and are preferred in the construction of floors, walls, furniture, and furnishings. Hardwoods are expensive, however, and are nowadays more often used as a veneer on other wood products.


These are obtained from coniferous trees.. Commonly used -softwoods are pine, fir, cedar, and rubber wood. Compared to hardwoods, softwoods are lighter in weight, cheaper, more prone to wear and tear, indentations, grooves, and splintering. The colours of softwoods vary with individual tree species, but in general they are lighter in colour than most hardwoods. Softwoods do not have much visual appeal and are therefore in out-of-view areas as far as possible in most traditional places. They are also used in the construction of sub-floors, ceilings, joists, and furniture.


A variety of wood boards are available at significantly cheaper rates than solid wood planks. These are much lighter than solid wood and most have undergone treatments such as termite-proofing and waterproofing.


This is a type of thin, flexible board made of compressed and processed wood-pulp fibre. It is smooth on one side and has a mesh-like texture on the reverse. Hardboard is used to make door panels, picture backings, cupboard and wardrobe backings, bases of drawers, and as a base for floor tiles.

Organization Chart

Fig. 8.3 Various forms of wood in common use


This type of board is manufactured by gluing together many thin sheets of hardwood, which are termed plies The bonding is done in such a way that the grain of each ply is perpendicular to the grain of the sheets adjacent to it. Plywood is very strong, yet can be shaped during manufacture. Since it does not have good visual appeal compared to solid wood, however, it is often veneered with hardwood or laminate. Plywood is used to make tables, desks, shelves, countertops, and cupboards.


Each blackboard is made up of plywood veneers laid over a core of wood strips. The inner strips of wood may be upto 3 cm in thickness, making the board strong and durable. Blackboard is used for making- worktops, tabletops, and shelves.


This type of board is manufactured from compressed wood chips and synthetic resin. It is strong and heavy. Like plywood, this too is often veneered or laminated. Chipboard is used for making closets, cabinets, drawers, wardrobes, and worktops.


Cane and wicker are included in this class. Cane is derived from the hollow, jointed stems of giant reeds and grasses (such as bamboo) or the solid stems of slender palms (such as rattan). Wicker is typically derived from the shoots (osiers) of willow plants. Both materials are used in making woven items such as bread-baskets, flower baskets, mats, trays, stools, sofas, chairs, tables, and beds. Cane and wicker products are usually cheaper than solid wood.


This is a martial obtained form the outer, light-brown bark of the cork oak. The bark is ground into large granules, mixed with synthetic resin, pressed into sheets at high temperature and pressure, and then cut into tiles or strips of varying widths. It is possible to achieve colour variations by the application of different pressures and temperatures. Cork has a warm and restful appearance. It also has excellent acoustic properties. The disadvantages of cork are that it is extremely porous; it easily dents, burns, and stains; and granules may come loose. Because of the high porosity of natural cork, it is now marketed with various types of coatings. The different varieties are waxed cork, resin-reinforced waxed cork, and vinyl-coated cork. Cork is used make bathmats (though these are not typically used in hotels as they can not be cleaned often), notice boards, floor coverings and wall coverings.


Wood surfaces often require extra protection since they are mostly porous and absorb moisture. They also tend to get stained and scratched. The most common treatments are listed below, followed by a section on the maintenance and cleaning requirements for various types of wood, regardless of protection.


This is the comb material secreted by bees. It is applied to solid wood furniture and floors. To be effective as a protective finish, several coats of it need to be applied. It should be allowed to dry and rubbed in well to get a good gloss.


This is a clear, pale solution of a resinous substance such as amber, copal, or shellac dissolved in oil, turpentine, or alcohol. Either natural or synthetic resins may be used to make varnish. On drying, varnish forms a hard and transparent film on the wood surface. The finish may be glossy or matt. Varnish is most commonly applied on wooden floors, furniture, and doors.

LACQUER Shellac or cellulose lacquer is a durable finish applied to solid wood furniture. The finish may be glossy or matt. It is damaged by water, heat, and solvents.


Tung oil or linseed oil.


Polyurethane may be applied as a matt or glossy finish to wood. Two to three coats are usually needed, rubbing with fine glass paper before each coat. After applying polyurethane, the wood should be polished with beeswax to smooth down the polyurethane finish. In case of new wood, polyurethane should be applied after the application of shellac or a cellulose sealer.


This is a solution of shellac and methylated spirit. It is applied on small furniture items made of solid wood. However, this finish is easily damaged by water, heat, and solvents.


Essentially, paint is made up of a pigment dissolved in an organic binder. The function of paint may be to provide protection or decoration or both. The unique property of paint is that it also lends colour along with protection to the wood surface. Paints are available for various effects, such as glossy, matt, silk, and pearl. This finish, however, is damaged by abrasives and heat.


While all the finishes above render varying degrees of protection to a wood surface, regular cleaning and care are still needed to ensure optimum performance and long life. This includes taking into account certain maintenance issues with wood, which may require small repairs. That said, wood remains a very versatile and fairly resilient surface for its aesthetic appeal and price.


Wood, being porous, deteriorates in contact with an excess of water. Therefore, the least possible amount of water should be used for cleaning wood. Always dry-dust the surface first with an impregnated mop, or vacuum-clean. Then remove excess soiling by damp-dusting in case of small articles and light damp-mopping for larger surfaces. Wooden floor surfaces need to be buffed with a floor polisher two times a week. Spills and stains should be removed immediately from wood surfaces so that they are not absorbed into the surface (See Table 8.5).

Cork should only be dusted or vacuumed daily.





Ink stains


Heat marks

Cigarette burns


To remove white rings and spots caused by water, wipe the marks with a soft cloth impregnated with a little methylated spirit. If this method is not successful, mix equal quantities of methylated spirits, p ire turpentine, and linseed oil; shake the mixture well; and rub it over the marks very gently with fine wire-wool

Apply domestic bleach with fine wire-wool and immediately wipe with a clean cloth. If this fails, apply a little vinegar with fine wire-wool, rubbing in the direction of the grain; leave for an hour; wipe with methylated spirit to remove all traces of the acid; and leave the surface to dry.

Wipe immediately. Rub with olive oil. if the stain persists, mix cigarette ash in the olive oil and rub lightly in a circular motion.

Rub with equal quantities of raw linseed oil and pure turpentine.

On unpolished wood, a slight burn may be removed by sanding with fine glass paper. For wax finishes, rub the mark hard with turpentine, following the direction of the grain.

Surface scratches may be removed by applying a mixture of equal quantities of methylated spirit, pure turpentine, and linseed oil. The mixture should be shaken well and applied with a soft cloth.

Cane and wicker also need to be vacuumed daily as dust may get entrapped and deposited in the nooks of the weave. They should then be wiped once a week with a solution of warm water and baking soda or borax, followed by a wiping with cold saline solution (1 tablespoon salt in 1 litre water). The last wipe with saline stiffens, bleaches, and removes stains from the strands. The items should then be left to dry in open air.


A variety of natural stones are used as hard surfaces in hotel establishments. The popular ones are marble, sandstone, granite, quartzite, and slate. Stones are used mainly as floor finishes and external wall surfaces. Other areas where they may be found are tabletops, countertops and tops of vanity units, furniture, decorative idols, and ashtrays. Stones such as marble are often used as flooring and on walls in luxury bathrooms and foyers.


Some natural stones commonly used in hotels are as follows.


This is metamorphosed and crystallized limestone. It is available in many colours and patterns—white, black, grey, green, brown, and pink. It can be given a glossy or a matt finish.


This sedimentary rock is composed of compressed sand.


This is a granular, crystalline stone composed of quartz, feldspar, and mica.


This is a compact granular stone made up of silica.


This is a grey or blue-grey stone formed when layers of mud and silt build up and solidify over millions of years. These layers allow slate to be easily made into slabs.


The properties and uses of stone are considered in greater detail in interior decoration (chapter 24). While the maintenance and care of stones will also be dealt with in greater detail in interior decoration (chapter 24), here are the basics on cleaning stone surfaces and objects.

Stone surfaces may be cleaned using synthetic detergent and hot water. Stains may be removed using fine abrasives. For large areas, a wet-pickup vacuum cleaner may be used. Use of acids and strong alkalis should be avoided, as they may cause pits on the surface.


Leather is made from the skins of various animals—including sheep, goats, pigs, and cattle—by tanning or a similar process. It is one of the most durable and versatile of all natural materials. The skins are treated in various ways to give different varieties of leather, ranging from the soft, flexible types such as suede and kid to the tougher types such as hide and sturdy varieties of pigskin (see Table 8.6). Leather can be dyed in a variety of colours and is used for belts, shoes, gloves, purses, wallets, luggage, upholstery, desk tops, and book bindings. Leather is expensive and should be kept supple to prevent cracking. Leather also picks up oil and grease readily. General cleaning of leather involves daily dusting or suction cleaning. In case of soiling, wipe the leather with a soft cloth wrung out of warm water and mild synthetic detergent. Follow with a damp-dusting with clean water and then dry thoroughly. Occasionally leather may be polished with a good furniture polish cream to keep it supple. Solvents should not be used on leather as they will stiffen it.


Rubber is a group of natural or synthetic substances characterized by elasticity, water repellence, and electrical resistance.


Natural rubber is obtained from the milky white fluid called latex found in many plants. In the manufacture of rubber articles, the crude rubber is treated with compounding ingredients in several mixing machines. The mixture is then applied mechanically to a base or is shaped. The coated or shaped mixture is placed in moulds and vulcanized.






Shoes and belts

If heavily soiled, sponge with soap and water, then apply a proprietary white cleaner.

Calf and similar shiny-

surfaced leathers

Shoes and handbags

Good quality wax polish cream may be used, but do not apply too lavishly.

Chamois ('wash' leather)

and simulated sheepskins

Gloves, cleaning windows and

glassware, and silver polishing

If heavily soiled, rinse in warm water and

then knead in warm soapy water. When

clean, immerse in fresh soapy water, squeeze gently, pull into shape, and hang up without rinsing. The leather should be rumpled between the hands when still slightly wet to soften it. Never squeeze if it is dry and stiff, or it may crack.

Crocodile, alligator,

lizard, and snakeskin

Shoes and handbags

Remove dust with a soft brush and apply

neutral shoe cream.

Kid (a light-coloured

leather, produced from the skin of young goats)

Gloves, shoes, and fancy articles

Remove dust and mud with a soft brush,

then apply neutral shoe cream and buff.

Patent leather (has a

fine varnished surface)

Shoes, handbags, and belts

Dust thoroughly with a velvet pad; then, if

necessary, clean with a cream or paste polish and rub well.

Suede (a soft and flexible leather obtained from

sheepskin, specially

treated on the flesh side to give the typical nubby

/napped finish)

Shoes, gloves, belts, coats, and


Follow manufacturers' ibstructions. Generally speaking, brush the leather with a rubber brush or pad to raise the nap. Do not brush when wet. Spots caused by water can be removed when dry by vigorous rubbing with a rubber brush.


Handbags and shoes

If soiled, rub with a cloth dipped in carbon

tetrachloride. Occasionally apply a little white shoe cream and rub well.

Morocco (a leather

made from goatskin, it

is particularly soft and


Book bindings and desk tops

Dust daily. Occasionally wash with a

solution of mild soap in tepid water. Use

a soft brush to remove any ingrained dirt,

if necessary. Rinse, dry, and polish Wth a

soft, dry cloth.


Footwear, apparel, upholstery

Vacuum clean. Periodically clean with a

diluted carpet shampoo solution.


Not all rubber is vulcanized (or 'cured'), however. Vulcanization is not a necessary step in rubber processing or manufacture, but is often used to impart strength to the final product. Also, there are other processes of making synthetic rubber or treating rubber for a different finish. Depending on the process of manufacture, rubber can be of the following types.

CRUDE RUBBER Uncured rubber is used to make crepe rubber, which is used in insulating blankets and so on.

VULCANIZED RUBBER Rubber products are vulcanized at high temperatures and pressures in the presence of vulcanizing agents such as sulphur, selenium, and tellurium. The proportion of sulphur varies from 1:40 in soft-rubber goods to as much as 1:1 in hard rubber. Cold vulcanization is used for soft, thin rubber goods such as gloves, mattress protectors, and other sheets. Vulcanized rubber is also used in making conveyor belts, rollers for mop-wringers, rainwear, shower curtains, and diving gear.

FOAM RUBBER This is manufactured directly from latex by using emulsified compounding ingredients. The mix is then whipped mechanically in a frothing machine to make up atom containing millions of air bubbles. This foam. Is poured into moulds and vulcanized by high heat to make such articles as mattresses and seat cushions.

SYNTHETIC RUBBER This is produced from unsaturated hydrocarbons by the process of polymerization. Of relevance to the housekeeping department are the synthetic foam rubbers used mainly for upholstery, mattresses, and pillows.


Rubber, especially the vulcanized variety is a fairly sturdy material. However, given below are also a few precautions to be taken while cleaning and using rubber articles.


Clean rubber with a neutral detergent solution and rinse with water. Rubber is a hygienic material and is not prone to mould growth or pest infestations. However, it is sensitive to grease, strong alkalis, and excessive heat. Hot water should not be used in cleaning since the rubber will soften.

Chapter 6


No individual department in any hotel can work in insulations. A willingness to cooperate and coordinate with the assistance of efficient methods of communication is essential if the establishment is to run smoothly. The house keeping department is just 1 of the department in a hotel working towards the satisfaction of the guests and each department is dependent on others for information and/or services if its work is to be accomplished efficiently frictions between departments must be kept to a minimum and these should be close inter department liaison.

Coordination with Front Office

Rooms are of chief concern to the front office and house keeping departments. It is important for the departments to continuously exchange information on room status. The front office must provide lists for expected arrivals and departures for the day in advance, and notify housekeeping of actual arrivals and departures as and when they occur. The font office is not allowed to assign guestrooms until the rooms have been cleaned, and released by the housekeeping department.

Each night, a front office assistant produces an ‘occupancy report’, also called the ‘night report’. This report lists rooms occupied that night and indicates guests who are expected to check out the following day. The executive housekeeper procures and consults this list early the next morning and schedules the occupied rooms for cleaning. As guests check out, the front office notifies housekeeping. Housekeeping ensures that these are given top priority in servicing, so that clean rooms are available for sale. If a guest checks out before the stated departure date, the front office must inform housekeeping that the room is no longer a stay over, but is now a check-out. To ensure efficient rooming of guests, both housekeeping and the front office must inform each other of changes in a room’s status. Knowing whether a room is occupied, vacant, on change, out of order (000), under repair, or similar, is important for proper room’s management.

A flow of information in the reverse direction is also necessary, especially by way of the ‘room status report’ or the ‘housekeeping status report’. At the end of a shift, the housekeeping department prepares the housekeeping status report, which indicates the physical count as seen by housekeeping, which is to be tallied by the reception board. This report indicates the current housekeeping status of each room. The front office must be informed about the rooms that are ready for occupation and those which are out of order or under repair. The room status report is compared with the front office’s occupancy report, and discrepancies are brought to the attention of the front office manager.

A room status discrepancy is a situation in which the housekeeping department’s description of a room’s status differs from the room status information being used by the front office to assign guestrooms. As unoccupied rooms are cleaned and inspected, the floor supervisors call the housekeeping desk attendant, who in turn informs the front office of room ready. The front office then updates the room’s status to ‘vacant and ready’. Promptly informing the front office of the housekeeping status of rooms is a tremendous aid in getting guests who arrive early registered, especially during high-occupancy or sold-out periods.

Keeping room status information up to date requires close coordination between the front desk and house keeping. The 2 common system used for tracking current room status are the manual Whitney room-rack system and the computerized room status system. The front desk may use a Whitney room rack to track the status of rooms. In this system, a room-rack slip containing the guest’s name and other relevant information is prepared during the registration process. This slip is placed in the room-rack slot corresponding to the assigned room number.

The presence of a room-rack slip in the slot indicates that the room is occupied when the guest check out the rack slip is removed and the room’s status now indicates on charge which means the room is in neat of housekeeping service before it can be registered to an arriving guest. Housekeeping meanwhile attends to the occupied room and notifies the front desk which updates the status to ‘vacant and ready’

In a computerized room status system as soon as a guest checks out the front desk enter the departure into the computer. This information is received by housekeeping via the computer terminal located in the housekeeping department. When housekeeping is done with the cleaning and inspection of the room, it enters this information into its departmental terminal. These information is received on the front office computer terminal and its puts the room on sale. This system works best when the computer system is directly connected to the guestroom telephone system. With such a neat work supervisors can inspect room cleaned by attendants and if their found ready for occupancy, enter a code on the guestroom telephone to change the room status to clean and ready in the hotels computer system within seconds, the updated room status is displayed on the screen of a front desk computer terminal. Sharing information on occupancy levels helps forecast occupancy for the year and makes it easier to draw a budget, establish per stalk levels, and estimate required staff strength. It also helps to gear renovations and spring cleaning to low occupancy periods, thereby preventing loss of revenue. The housekeeping department also receives other important information from the front office, which requires special attention.

VIPs in the house: - This information is essential so that the staff can take a little extra care and keener precautions in cleaning and supervising VIPs rooms.

Groups in the house: - The group rooming list must be provided before the group’s arrival as groups tend to move together in terms of arrival, departure, sightseeing tours, and meals. Their rooms need to be readied together in view of strict time parameters. It is also important to intimate room changes, so that items left behind by guests may be handed over extras retrieved and laundry delivered. Group rooming lists enable the department to organize their work and have the group’s rooms ready on time. This is particularly crucial when the turnover is high ends rooms are experienced back to back occupancy.

Crew in the house: - Under normal circumstances airline cruse are allotted a given set of rooms on a particular floor. However, sometimes the arrival of a crew and the departure of another crew from the same airline many overlap. In such circumstance, it is important for the allotted rooms to be cleaned within a shot period of time. Also, because of odd timings for international flights, this crew rooms may display a ‘do not disturb’ {DND} card at times when other guests are normally out which the housekeeping schedule must take into account.

Flowers: - Sometimes the management extends its compliments to a guest with a special gesture of a flower arrangement in a room as recognition of the importance of a person. This requirement of flower arrangements for creating guest is conveyed to housekeeping by the front office on a daily basis apart from the above communications. The front off needs to depend on housekeeping for the provision of c lean uniforms to its staff.

Coordination with Maintenance Department

The maintenance department is responsible for the provision of engineering facilities that contribute to the comfort of guests and increase the efficiency of staff. The housekeeping department depends on maintenance to keep things in order. While caring out their scheduled work, housekeeping employees may find some deficiencies in the hotel facilities, such as faulty electrical plugs, dripping faucets, leaking pipes, or malfunctioning air conditioning units or WC cisterns. The housekeeping department often takes the fast steps in maintenance function for which the maintenance department is ultimately responsible. However this deficiencies and faults should be immediately reported to maintenance. A need for urgent repairs is reported to maintenance over telephone and these requests are usually dealt with promptly if the rapport between the 2 departments is good. There are areas heads under which maintenance work is done.

Electrical work:- Air conditioning and heating, fused bulbs, lights and lamps that are not functioning, defective plugs and plug points, shot circuits, and faulty geysers, refrigerators and mini bars fall under this category.

Boiler work: - This is necessary to maintain a supply of hot water to guest rooms.

Mechanical work: - This entails repair or replacement of any faulty equipment, such as vacuum cleaners, ice cube machines and so on.

Plumbing work: - This deals with faulty faucets, showers, draining systems, water closets, and so on.

Civil work: - Any masonry work comes under this head.

Carpentry Work: - Broken or shaky furniture, mirrors and cupboards in less than peak condition, and fresh wood work are all part of this to look at it any other way, in terms of frequency, urgency, and complexity of the job, there are 3 levels of maintenance work.

Routine maintenance: - This involves maintenance activities that relate to the general upkeep of the hotel. They occur on a regular basis, daily or weekly, and require minimal training or skills. These activities don’t call for the making out of a formal work order, and no records are maintained for them. Most of these routine maintenance activates are carried out by housekeeping. Proper care of many surfaces and materials by housekeeping personnel is the first step in the overall maintenance programmer for the property. Examples of such activities are the replacement of fuse light bulbs, polishing of furniture, cleaning of windows and floors and so on.

Preventive maintenance: - This is a systematic approach to maintenance in which situations are identified and corrected on a regular basis to control and keep larger problems from occurring. It involves inspections, minor corrections and initiation of work orders.

Inspections: - During the normal course of their duties, housekeeping personnel carry out inspections of most areas. Room attendants and supervisors regularly check for leaking faucets, chipped caulking around bathroom fixtures, fuse bulbs, A.C., malfunctions, and so on.

Minor connection: - Problem of a greater magnitude is avoided if minor repairs are attended to promptly. If communication between housekeeping and maintenance is efficient, minor repairs will be rectified by the maintenance department even as the room attendant is cleaning the guest room.

Initiation of work orders: - Preventive maintenance sometimes identifies problem that are beyond the limited scope of minor corrections. The necessary work is then referred to the maintenance department through a formal work order system. The chief maintenance officer or the chief engineer then schedules the maintenance work to be done.

Scheduled maintenance: - This involves maintenance work initiated by a work order. Work orders are key element in the communication and coordination between housekeeping and maintenance.

The procedure for scheduled maintenance is described in this section. The moment a housekeeping personnel detects a problem that requires attention from maintenance, she calls the housekeeping control desk, stating the nature of the problem, the kind of assistance required, and the location where it is required. The control desk fills out a work order form (see exhibit 2.1) in triplicate, each copy being 9 of different color. One copy is sent to the executive housekeeper and two copies to maintenance. The chief engineer keeps one of these copies and gives the other to the tradesperson’s completed work order is sent to the executive housekeeper within an appropriate period of time, housekeeping issues another work order, which signals maintenance to provide a status report on the requested repair.

Nowadays, many hotels install a computerized maintenance management system (CMMS) to catapult them from the strategy colloquially called ‘bust n fix’ to one of proactive maintenance.

Engineering and maintenance departments in most hotels keep records of all equipment operated by housekeeping personnel. Equipment data cards contain basic information about these pieces of equipment. The purpose is to provide documentation of all maintenance activity on a given piece of equipment.

On the part of the housekeeping department, its personnel should cooperate with maintenance department by getting room doors unlocked promptly when repairs are being done. Housekeeping should also have maintenance rooms already stripped when redecoration is to take place and should have furniture to be removed for repair appropriately labeled.

Exhibit 2.1 Sample work order form



Time……….Date………. Check (X) indicates unsatisfactory condition

By………………………... Explain Check in Remarks section.

Location…………………. Bedroom- Foyer- Closet

Problem…………............ () Walls () Woodwork () Doors

…………………………… () Ceiling () Television () Light

…………………………… () Floors () AC unit () Blinds

Assigned To…………….. () Windows () Drapes

Date Compl……………… Remarks…………………………

Time Spent……………… …………………………………….

Completed By…………… Bathroom

Remarks……………....... () Faucets () Drains () Shower

……………………………. () Lights () Wallpaper () Paints

……………………………. () Tiles () Glass () Door

…………………………..... () Accessories () Window

……………………………. REMARKS………………………..

Coordination with Security Department

The coordination here is mainly concerned with the prevention of fire and thefts and the safekeeping of keys and lost property. There are so many security hazards on the floors that this liaison is particularly important, and the housekeeper cooperates by endeavoring to see that housekeeping staff aware of the hazards. Housekeeping personnel should also report anything of a suspicious nature immediately to the security staff. A hotel guestroom should be the most private of places and the hotel staff must ensure their guests’ security and privacy. However, a guest may take advantage of this privacy and may be engaged in certain illegal activities such as gambling, smuggling and so on. Housekeeping personnel have to be alert to this risk and seek the security departments’ intervention if necessary. The security department is responsible for conducting training session on handling emergency situations for the staff. For example, they conduct fire drills to train staff to gear up in a fire emergency.

Coordination with Food and Beverage Department

The food and beverage (F&B) department consists of both the service staff as well as the kitchen staff. The coordination of housekeeping with the restaurants and banquet halls is mainly concerned with the provision of linen and uniforms. The linen room supervisor, under the supervision of the executive housekeeper, needs to have sufficient stock of clean napery to meet the demands of the F&B department’s restaurant and banquet functions. On his/her part, the restaurant manager should ensure the time set for the exchange of linen is expected; that linen is not lost or misused ; and that intimation of forthcoming banquet functions is conveyed to housekeeping well in advance. Besides extra/special linen, housekeeping may also have to arrange for flower decorations for banquets.

Coordination between the 2 departments becomes particularly necessary in the case of room service, so that friction does not arise over matters such as waiters not collecting trays from guestrooms or room service staff leaving soiled trays in the corridors or causing extra work through careless spills on the carpet.

In many hotels, housekeeping department also looks after pest control in restaurants, kitchens, and stores attached to them. Special cleaning of these areas calls for coordination with the housekeeping department. Both restaurant and kitchen staff require clean uniforms on a daily basis, for which too they need to communicate with housekeeping. Provision of staff meals for housekeeping personnel, on the other hand, is the responsibility of the kitchen staff.

Coordination with Stores

Coordination with stores ensures the availability of day to day necessities of housekeeping. Larger hotels have a store attached to the housekeeping department that stocks linen, supplies, and so on. Smaller hotels may stock them in the general store, except for linen, which is sent to the housekeeping department on purchase. Communication with stores is by way of a requisition form, which housekeeping sends to store when it requires certain items. The format shown in Exhibit 2.2 may be used.

Exhibit 2.2 Sample stores requisition form

Hotel Snowflakes


Items required on…………. Item indented on………….

S. no


folio no.


Of item


Stock in hand

Quantity indented

Quantity issued



Coordination with Personnel Department

Housekeeping coordinates with the personnel department for recruitment of housekeeping staff; managing their salaries and wages; addressing indiscipline; following through grievance procedures; issuing identity cards for employees; running induction programmers; maintaining locker facilities; completing income tax formalities; effecting transfers, promotions, appraisals and exit formalities; procuring trainees; and organizing training sessions.

Coordination with Purchase Department

The purchase department procures out of stock item for housekeeping, such as guest supplies and amenities, stationery, linen, cleaning materials and equipment, and so on. Housekeeping should convey their requirements to purchase by way of advance notice in the form of a purchase requisition {Exhibit 2.3}

Exhibit 2.3 Sample purchase requisition form

Hotel Greenwoods Continental










In stock


Signature of HOD:………… Approved by: Finance controller:…………

Coordination with Sales and Marketing

The sales and marketing department informs housekeeping of the occupancy forecast for entire year, which is broken up mouth wise. This enables housekeeping to budget for the necessary expenses. An important contribution to housekeeping staff to hotel sales is ensuring that repeat business is obtained by providing the level of cleanliness and service that meets are exceeds guest expectations. The sales and marketing team also have to depend on housekeeping for their uniforms. Two things are certain in hotel business: no matter how many guests a sales person brings in the door, if housekeeping doers not execute its function with excellence, the guests will not be coming back. Vice versa, no matter how well-kept the room, if the sales staffs don’t bring potential guests to the hotel, occupancy falls.

Coordination with Laundry

This applies when the laundry is under the supervision and control of a laundry manager. Without clean linen, the room attendants simply cannot operate. During periods of full occupancy, the housekeeper should stick to the schedule for the laundry. In return, the laundry should provide an acceptable standard of service with regard to laundering. Housekeeping also needs to coordinate with the laundry with regard to housekeeping employees’ uniforms and those of other departments as well.

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