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How to Find a Clean and Healthy Hotel


Occasional news stories on hotel cleanliness — or lack thereof — reveal that even top dollar doesn’t always buy a clean and healthy home away from home.


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To avoid the gross-out factor — and perhaps to skip contracting an illness — on your honeymoon or business trip, you might consider calling ahead for more than the nightly rates. Here are a few probing questions to ask:


Does the establishment’s housekeeping director/manager know what he or she is doing?


You can be more polite than that, but consider this: While cleaning is generally considered a low-education job, it involves applied microbiology and judicious use of pesticides and cleaning chemicals. It’s not enough for a manager merely to understand these subjects; she must have the leadership skills to train and motivate a team of people to clean your potential room properly. So how does he or she get the expertise required?


Good old-fashioned education. Organizations, such as the International Executive Housekeepers Association (IEHA) and the American Hotel and Lodging Educational Institute (AHLEI), provide access to education and resources in the art of housekeeping.


IEHA programs include 330 hours of intense study on subjects such as pest control, laundry and linen, housekeeping techniques and continuous improvement. Ideally, the housekeeping director/manager should be a Registered Executive Housekeeper or REH for which a bachelor degree is necessary, or a Certified Executive Housekeeper or CEH.


AHLEI, associated with the American Hotel and Lodging Association (AH&LA), offers the Certified Hospitality Housekeeping Executive (CHHE) designation which provides training and validation in human resource and housekeeping operations expertise.


Glassware - A Touchstone?


As a barometer of the quality of hotel cleaning and hygiene, ask the question: How does the housekeeping department ensure sanitary glassware and coffee mugs?


Doing Your Part - Greening Hotels

If you want to help ensure your stay is both green and healthy, do your part:

  • During your hotel stay, let management know that you want to participate in a linen and towel reuse program.
  • When you leave the room, turn off the AC/heat, lights, and television.
  • Open the drapes during the winter to let the sun naturally heat the room, and close the drapes in the summer to keep the room cool.
  • Use public transportation in your destination city, and walk where sensible and safe. Use the hotel van instead of renting a car whenever possible.
  • Only take maps or brochures necessary for your trip.
  • If you don’t use them, leave the little bottles of shampoo.
  • Look for recycling bins throughout the hotel and dispose of items appropriately.
  • Check out using the hotel’s electronic program available on the TV, via email, or PDA.

A recent news exposé videotaped hotel housekeepers violating health codes. They were cleaning the drinking glasses with toxic window cleaner right in the room — or not really cleaning them at all.

Answers to look for: While individually wrapped, disposable cups lack romance, they’re a pretty good bet for clean and healthy. Alternatively, the housekeeping staff should be able to identify employees who daily gather dirty goblets, glasses and mugs, cart them to the dishwasher and furnish the rooms with a fresh, sanitary supply.

Bonus question: Do they use triple sheeting?

Not extremely widely employed, triple sheeting uses one bottom sheet, one top sheet under the blanket and one top sheet over the blanket. Sandwiching the blanket or comforter gives it extra protection from human contact and allows for more frequent laundering of bedding than use of a large, bulky bedspread.

How to Find a Clean and Healthy Hotel:  Created on November 21st, 2007.  Last Modified on January 21st, 2014


About IEHA


The International Executive Housekeepers Association (IEHA) is a 3,200-plus member organization for housekeeping management. Executive housekeepers are managers that direct housekeeping programs in commercial, industrial or institutional facilities, including upscale hotels, hospitals, schools, and other public places. The non-profit was founded in 1930 in New York City, and is now located in Westerville, Ohio, a suburb of the state’s capitol.