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Introduction to Housekeeping

Every house, whether private, like yours, or commercial like offices, shops, hotels, hospitals, clubs, etc., needs to be kept clean and tidy, so that it looks inviting to all. This is where housekeeping comes in. Cleaning and maintenance services can be spotted very easily anywhere.

The basic concept of housekeeping has started from keeping a domestic house clean and has gradually come to maintaining high standards of cleanliness and maintenance at commercial levels. Besides this, housekeeping should also contribute to the saving in costs of labour, cleaning material and equipment, furnishings and the like in every type of establishment.

Housekeeping Definition

Housekeeping in simple words means maintaining a house or a business property on a daily or long term basis or looking after its cleanliness, tidiness, upkeep and smooth running. In case of hotels, the housekeeping duties involve maintaining the hotel to the best possible state in terms of cleanliness, and keeping it at highly desirable ambience.

Areas of HouseKeeping

In commercial establishments, the housekeeping services are done by a team of specialized people according to different areas. Here is a detailed list of areas which need housekeeping.

  1. Rooms and corridors: – ceiling and wall paint, wall paper, fans, air-conditioners, electrical switches and sockets, wiring, windows, doors, glass panes, bed, bed-making, carpets, locks, keys, etc.
  2. Toilets: – taps, sinks, water closet, geysers, water supply, electrical sockets and switches, supply of towels, toilet paper, toiletries (soap, shampoo, etc.)
  3. Linen: – linen (table napkin, tablecloth) towels, bed sheets, bed covers, blankets, garments of guests, staff uniforms, etc
  4. Furniture and furnishings: – furniture, curtains, table lamps, tube lights, chandeliers, bulbs, sofas, dining tables and chairs, etc.
  5. Gardens: – Plants, pots, lawn (grass), flowers, trees, bushes, hedges, etc.
  6. Public areas: – stair case, corridors, lobby, conference/ seminar room, waiting halls, recreation room, parking area, clubs, swimming pool, offices, common toilets etc.

Housekeeping in Commercial Establishments

In most commercial organizations, the responsibility of housekeeping is assigned to a person called a housekeeper. She or he is responsible for upkeep and maintenance of the premises. Depending on the size and type of organization, there may or may not be a separate section meant to look after various aspects of housekeeping. A small shop may depute a single person to look after these aspects. Yet bigger offices, commercial establishments, guest houses, hotels, hospitals, hostels, clubs usually organize a group of people to look after their housekeeping. These groups of people constitute a housekeeping department. Some establishments may also seek outside help and make use of certain agencies which specialize in such kind of work.

Wherever there is separate housekeeping department a proper organisational structure is necessary with different kinds of people responsible for different tasks and some people to supervise them. Let us now discuss the duties and responsibilities of each of them individually.

Housekeeper: the housekeeper is the overall in-charge of the housekeeping department. He or she directly controls all the personnel as well as all aspects of housekeeping. She/ he is responsible for the cleanliness, beautification and maintenance of the premises.

Assistant housekeeper: he or she is responsible for all the aspects similar to that of the housekeeper. In case the organization works round-the-clock, there maybe more than one assistant housekeeper to work in different shifts. Housekeepers / assistant housekeepers are in turn assisted by the following members. These members also have workers to assist them.

Control desk supervisor: this person communicates with the staff and coordinates with various departments of the organization. He becomes the centre point of all messages, complaints etc., and also keeps records of what work has been assigned to whom and maintains the general follow-up of the same.

Linen store keeper: he/she is responsible for storage, issue, cleanliness and maintenance of linen. (Napkins, tablecloths, bed sheets, bed covers, pillow covers, blankets, curtains and uniforms )

Floor supervisor: for multistoried buildings, each floor is attended by a floor supervisor. He/ she is responsible for the cleanliness and maintenance of the assigned floor which includes rooms, corridors, restrooms, stair case, etc., for jobs like changing or repairing lights, switches, etc.

Public area supervisor: he/she is responsible for cleanliness and maintenance of waiting halls, lobby, conference/seminar room, recreation rooms, parking area, clubs, offices, etc.

Cloak room in-charge: he/she is responsible for the maintenance and service of common toilets.

Horticulturist: he/ she is responsible for all the floral and plant decoration as well as the upkeep of gardens in the premises.

Skilled workers: skilled workers like plumbers, electricians, carpenters, painters are needed to do minor repairs. There may be a separate department for maintenance and engineering work and the housekeeping can coordinate with it to do these jobs.

These services are to be rendered with the highest degree of efficiency. Besides this efficiency, housekeeping should also contribute to the saving in costs of labour, cleaning material and equipment, furnishings and the like in every type of establishment.

Housekeeping Manager

The Housekeeping Manager has the overall accountability and responsibility for the housekeeping and laundry department, ensuring high levels of presentation, cleanliness, maintenance and passenger services in all passenger, crew and public areas.

Objectives of Hotel Housekeeping

The main objectives of hotel housekeeping are −

To maintain overall cleanliness of the entire hotel at all times.

  • To perform cleanliness duties most efficiently and effectively.
  • To use good quality, safe cleaning equipment and chemicals.
  • To manage laundry and linen.
  • To control pests.
  • To keep up the hotel with classy interior decoration.
  • To take care of the furniture, fittings, and fixtures of the entire hotel.

To understand the expanse or scope of housekeeping, it is better to understand the divisions of hotel a hotel, first.

Divisions of a Hotel

There are various divisions (or departments) of a hotel. They are given below.

Front Office

It is responsible for guest check-in and check-out, mail and information services, and concierge services such as tour booking, reserving theatre and restaurants, providing airport taxi service, etc.

Food and Beverage

Food and Beverage department is responsible for preparing menus, foods, and managing inventory of food and beverage items. It includes food and beverage preparation and service for restaurant, lounge, coffee shops, bars, parties, and room service.

Uniformed Service Department

It includes parking and door attendants, drivers, porters, and bell attendants.


Housekeeping includes the duties of keeping the areas of the hotel clean, tidy, hygienic, and pleasant. It also performs the duties pertaining to decoration of hotel premises.

Sales and Marketing

All sales, services, advertising, promotions, and public relations are taken care of by this team.


Security manager and security workers work to keep the property safe and secured from external hazards.


It conducts all financial activities like producing bills and receiving payments, computing employees’ compensations and delivering payments. They also carry out the activities such as compiling monthly and annual income statements, depositing and securing cash, and controlling and monitoring assets.


The Maintenance department is responsible for the maintenance of the property. It takes care of repairing furniture and fixtures, and painting the required area. When the hotel is small, these works are contracted from an outside agency.

Engineering and Technology

It is responsible for keeping all of its equipment operational. The duties include maintaining telephone, hotel management software, internet etc. It is also responsible for implementing any new changes required such as upgrading the software and hardware.

Human Resource Department

Human Resource department is responsible for interviewing and recruiting qualified staff to be placed at appropriate positions. They also conduct exit interviews for the employees who wish to quit the work. HRD works to set wages and salaries based on regional market rates and ensures that the hotel business meets safety and health administration standards.

In all these departments, the efforts of housekeeping department are overt. They are directly visible to the guests even before they try food or avail other amenities. Housekeeping creates the first impression about the hotel in the guests’ minds. Hence this department can be said as the heart of the hotel business.

Housekeeping Department Layout in Hotel

The layout of the housekeeping department depends on the total number of Guestrooms, Outlets, and Required Staff. The following areas of the department are the most prominent ones −

Office of the Executive Housekeeper − The administrative work of the department is carried out here.

Housekeeping Control Desk − It is accessible and operational 24 hours a day. The housekeeping staff reports at the start and end of the shift here. There are notice boards, storage shelves, registers, lost and found cupboard, and key-hanger matrix.

Laundry Area − Washing, ironing, dry cleaning, folding of linen and staff uniform takes place here.

Linen Room − Here, the linen of the hotel such as bed-sheets, towels, pillow cases, etc., are stored, collected, and carried to the required places in the hotel.

Uniform Room − The staff uniforms are collected, stored, and distributed from here.

Tailor Room − Here, stitching and repairing of linen and uniforms takes place.

Housekeeping Stores − It is a storage area where the cleaning equipment and items, and guest supplies are securely stored.

Flower Room − It is an air-conditioned room with worktables, sink and water supply, cupboards to store vases and stones, and a counter.

Lost and found − stores all the items left by the guests. It directly communicates with the front office desk, as there the guests tend to first enquire about their lost articles.

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