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Cleaning procedures during Covid 19 at ASURE Harbour View Motel, Tauranga

General Principles

Good hand hygiene is essential to minimise transmission of infectious droplets.

Always wear disposable gloves when cleaning. When finished, place used gloves in a rubbish bin. Wash your hands immediately after handling these items. Face masks are required when working with another staff member or if you are in public areas. Staff at reception will wear a mask.

Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, making sure you dry them thoroughly. We have also provided hand sanitiser (containing at least 60 percent alcohol) if soap and water are not available and if your hands are not visibly dirty. If using hand sanitiser, cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.

When cleaning thoroughly and efficiently it is good to remember two general principles.

  • Top to bottom: start cleaning surfaces higher up and work your way to the floor. This method ensures that any particulates or debris fall to the floor which will be cleaned last.
  • Clean to dirty: start by cleaning surfaces and objects that are cleaner and work your way to cleaning dirtier items (eg, leaving toilets until last) this is to avoid incidental contamination. Avoid going from an area that has not been cleaned to an area that has been cleaned. This avoids dirtying the cleaned area and will ensure you aren’t cross-contaminating items or surfaces.

Our cleaning product is a 2-in-1 product (containing both cleaning and disinfectant properties) to increase efficiency.

Keep the windows open for ventilation.

If we suspect a guest who has stayed may be infected or came from an area which is in Lockdown Level ¾, the room will be left over for a night or two before a ‘deep’ clean is done. This is to protect ourselves, staff and future guests.

Cleaning order

  1. Remove all linen (bedding, towels, cushion covers and other fabrics) for washing, take to laundry room. Use a washing machine and detergent to wash thoroughly with the warmest temperature recommended on the item’s label.
  2. Remove all table-top appliances. Crockery and cutlery wash in soapy, hot water. Clean all table-top appliances (eg, jug/kettle, toaster). Clean all household items, such as dishes, cups, glasses, eating utensils thoroughly. Use dishwasher if necessary.
  3. Clean inside and outside of all built-in appliances (eg, refrigerator, microwave oven)
  4. Clean all ‘high-touch’ surfaces, such as counters, cupboards, night stands, table tops, doorknobs, light switches and window sills/blinds. Clean mirrors, windows, TV, and phone in the guest room with the glass cleaner.
  5. Spot-clean any marks on soft furnishings or carpets.
  6. Clean bathroom fixtures, showers and toilets with a separate set of cleaning equipment (use several cloths to avoid cross contamination) using disinfectant or bleach solution. Spray shower walls with cleaner, and wipe them down with a rag, rinse with water and wipe dry. Use a new rag to wipe the vanity surface first and then wipe the sink bowl. Spray glass cleaner on the mirrors and wipe with a new rag. Replace rubbish bags, toilet paper, towels, and other amenities provided.  Toilets should be last item in bathroom to clean.
  7. Remove gloves, wash hands with soap and water and dry thoroughly with clean towel or paper towel.
  8. Make beds with fresh clean sheets and pillowcases, replace blankets, throws and cushions neatly.
  9. Vacuum carpet and wash floors. Steam cleaning of carpets and rugs is not required daily.
  10. For hard floor surfaces, clean the floor with the prepared disinfectant or bleach solution, starting from one end of the motel unit to the other (from the far side of the room working your way to the exit/door).
  11. Spray the room with air freshener.
  12. At the end of cleaning, remove facemasks, gloves and other contaminated items in a lined container before disposing of them with other household/general waste. Wash your hands immediately after handling these items.

GOOD ATTITUDES KEY TO EFFECTIVE CLEANING

Clean rooms and paid staff can be a troublesome dichotomy.

On the one hand, perhaps nothing is more important to a hotel or motel guest than being impressed with its cleanliness. Even a manager's winning smile is not likely to counter the impression of a room that has been slackly cleaned.

On the other hand, finding housekeeping staff who can consistently be relied upon to do professional job is a lot easier said than done.  The key here for establishments that care about quality would be to identify staff with integrity, loyalty and a good work ethic in support of building a motivated team for the long term.

Worrying confessions,

The online confessions of former cleaner Allison Rupp, who worked at Yellowstone National Park's historic Old Faithful Inn, should have managers on the alert:

"My daily list of 15 rooms (out of 325 in the hotel) consisted of DOs (due out) and Os (occupied), which in housekeeping lingo meant the guests were scheduled to check out or were staying another night. I cut corners everywhere I could. Instead of vacuuming, I found that just picking up the larger crumbs from the carpet would do. Rather than scrub the tub with hot water, sometimes it was just a spray-and-wipe kind of day.

"After several weeks on the job, I discovered that the staff leader who inspected the rooms couldn't tell the difference between a clean sink and one that was simply dry, so I would often just run a rag over the wet spots."

Rupp wrote that she often just flushed the toilet rather than cleaning it. Given her examples of the disgusting mess left by some guests, you could almost sympathise. Outsourcing the in-house work to a cleaning company is not necessarily going to help as the same slapdash mentality could apply and might well be harder for hotel or motel management to correct.

Rupp's slack approach to her job is almost certain to be quite widespread. This kind of psychology places a great deal of responsibility on the housekeeping manager of the housekeeping staff or whoever is in charge of making sure the quality standards are followed.

Team Attitude

Team attitude essential New Zealand housekeeping managers contacted by AMG all agreed that the most essential skill they required was to make everyone of their cleaners feel a valued part of the team. Creating an enjoyable work atmosphere can go a long way to countering slack attitudes and achieving a good result.

Guests not only like their hotel rooms to be squeaky clean but smell fresh as well. That can be problematic if the previous guest has been a smoker, or in the case of a motel unit, cooked up a spicy or fishy dish where the odour lingers long after the guest or guests have gone. Someone in the inspection team needs a sensitive nose.

However, using harsh, smelly chemicals can create other the problems. Most accommodation providers practise environmental responsibility these days and surveys demonstrate that the majority of guests are in favour of sustainable methods. It is a good idea to supply gentler cleansers to employees, both for their happiness and wellbeing, and those of the guests. Recent studies suggest that chemical cleansers can have a negative impact on people's health. Stocking all-natural green products means everyone is likely to benefit from a safer and healthier environment, with the improvement of indoor air quality, a reduction in allergens and chemical gases and less exposure to toxic.

At ASURE Harbour View Motel our Housekeepers/Cleaners know that they are an important part of the hosting team and that they contribute a vital function in ensuring that every guest has a happy, relaxed and enjoyable stay at our lovingly renovated motel.

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