A bed and breakfast is one of the few professions where the owner is usually the head custodian. But when guests leave at 11 and new ones are arriving at 3, the art of cleaning has to be done swiftly. Of course there are hundreds of ways to keep an inn clean, but for now consider ten simple tips that could afford you the time to do something more fun.
• B&Bs are usually large homes, so this idea seems so simple it’s frightening. The next time you’re hauling the vacuum from room to room, avoid having to unplug and re-plug the vacuum by using an ingenious device. It’s called an extension cord.
• Sometimes you’ll be emptying trash cans and forget that the spare bags are still downstairs. Save time (and roundtrips) by hiding a few extra trash bags in the bottom of your trash cans.
• I’m guilty of stacking up dishes in the sink until they start crowding the ceiling. Many innkeepers have a habit I think I’ll follow: Load the dishwasher instead of the sink. Keeps things clean and saves a step. And while you’re loading the dishwasher, drop your cleaning sponge into the top rack and give ‘er a spin.
• If your coffee maker has only filtered coffee, chances are hard water minerals have built up in the system which can affect the taste of the jake. But if you run a pot that’s half vinegar and half water through the system, the solution can dissolve the build-up. If it stilllooks suspicious, run it through again.
• I’ve gotten in the habit of cleaning a room in order: Bed, bathtub, sink, toilet, carpet. But some forward thinkers suggest a more thorough and analytical approach starts at one wall and moves clockwise around the room to cover ceilings, lights, windows, and woodwork along with the aforementioned bed, bathtub, sink, and carpet.
• This is a new one on me: Using baby wipes on surface areas such as countertops and behind the toilet.
• Dryer sheets can be used for a lot of things and someone, somewhere, figured out that a damp dryer sheet is dandy for cleaning soap scum from shower doors and walls.
• Because I’m about 30 years away from false teeth, I had no idea denture cleaning tablets would be good for anything other than getting rid of blueberry stains. Guess what? Throw a few in your toilet and watch them bubble away stains. Vinegar (remember the thing you used to clean your coffeemaker?) can also be poured into the bowl to loosen hard mineral stains. Use a few cups for minor stains, an entire bowl left overnight for tougher jobs.
• Whenever I clean, I have music playing. It tends to take my mind off the task at hand which usually isn’t very much fun. If I put on Kraftwerk’s LP version of Autobahn I can clean the entire house.
• Finally, if your usual approach is a quick clean up, chances are things have imperceptibly gotten a bit out of hand. To start with a clean slate, do yourself a favor and hire professional cleaners to come in and focus on everything. They know where to look, they know how to do it, it saves you the time and labor of doing it yourself, and it’s a business expense.
In other words, a clean sweep.