House Keeping

Importance of House Keeping

          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.
The importance of housekeeping in hotel industry is to maintain a good hygiene and high
 standards in a very competitive market. Housekeeping is the largest department in all hotels and their basic duty is service delivery to the customers. It is very important to have a good housekeeping department for the guest comfort, safety and health.

Why should we pay attention to housekeeping at work?

Effective housekeeping can eliminate some workplace hazards and help get a job done safely and properly. Poor housekeeping can frequently contribute to accidents by hiding hazards that cause injuries. If the sight of paper, debris, clutter and spills is accepted as normal, then other more serious health and safety hazards may be taken for granted.
Housekeeping is not just cleanliness. It includes keeping work areas neat and orderly; maintaining halls and floors free of slip and trip hazards; and removing of waste materials (e.g., paper, cardboard) and other fire hazards from work areas. It also requires paying attention to important details such as the layout of the whole workplace, aisle marking, the adequacy of storage facilities, and maintenance. Good housekeeping is also a basic part of accident and fire prevention.
Effective housekeeping is an ongoing operation: it is not a hit-and-miss cleanup done occasionally. Periodic "panic" cleanups are costly and ineffective in reducing accidents.

What is the purpose of workplace housekeeping?

Poor housekeeping can be a cause of accidents, such as:
·         tripping over loose objects on floors, stairs and platforms
·         being hit by falling objects
·         slipping on greasy, wet or dirty surfaces
·         striking against projecting, poorly stacked items or misplaced material
·         cutting, puncturing, or tearing the skin of hands or other parts of the body on projecting nails, wire or steel strapping
To avoid these hazards, a workplace must "maintain" order throughout a workday. Although this effort requires a great deal of management and planning, the benefits are many.

What are some benefits of good housekeeping practices?

Effective housekeeping results in:

·         reduced handling to ease the flow of materials
·         fewer tripping and slipping accidents in clutter-free and spill-free work areas
·         decreased fire hazards
·         lower worker exposures to hazardous substances (e.g. dusts, vapours)
·         better control of tools and materials, including inventory and supplies
·         more efficient equipment cleanup and maintenance
·         better hygienic conditions leading to improved health
·         more effective use of space
·         reduced property damage by improving preventive maintenance
·         less janitorial work
·         improved morale
·         improved productivity (tools and materials will be easy to find)

How do I plan a good housekeeping program?

A good housekeeping program plans and manages the orderly storage and movement of materials from point of entry to exit. It includes a material flow plan to ensure minimal handling. The plan also ensures that work areas are not used as storage areas by having workers move materials to and from work areas as needed. Part of the plan could include investing in extra bins and more frequent disposal.
The costs of this investment could be offset by the elimination of repeated handling of the same material and more effective use of the workers' time. Often, ineffective or insufficient storage planning results in materials being handled and stored in hazardous ways. Knowing the plant layout and the movement of materials throughout the workplace can help plan work procedures.
Worker training is an essential part of any good housekeeping program. Workers need to know how to work safely with the products they use. They also need to know how to protect other workers such as by posting signs (e.g., "Wet - Slippery Floor") and reporting any unusual conditions.
Housekeeping order is "maintained" not "achieved." Cleaning and organization must be done regularly, not just at the end of the shift. Integrating housekeeping into jobs can help ensure this is done. A good housekeeping program identifies and assigns responsibilities for the following:
·         clean up during the shift
·         day-to-day cleanup
·         waste disposal
·         removal of unused materials
·         inspection to ensure cleanup is complete
Do not forget out-of-the-way places such as shelves, basements, sheds, and boiler rooms that would otherwise be overlooked. The orderly arrangement of operations, tools, equipment and supplies is an important part of a good housekeeping program.
The final addition to any housekeeping program is inspection. It is the only way to check for deficiencies in the program so that changes can be made. The documents on workplace inspection checklists provide a general guide and examples of checklists for inspecting offices and manufacturing facilities.

What are the elements of an effective housekeeping program?

Dust and Dirt Removal

            In some jobs, enclosures and exhaust ventilation systems may fail to collect dust, dirt and chips adequately. Vacuum cleaners are suitable for removing light dust and dirt. Industrial models have special fittings for cleaning walls, ceilings, ledges, machinery, and other hard-to-reach places where dust and dirt may accumulate.
Special-purpose vacuums are useful for removing hazardous substances. For example, vacuum cleaners fitted with HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filters may be used to capture fine particles of asbestos or fibre glass.
           Dampening (wetting) floors or using sweeping compounds before sweeping reduces the amount of airborne dust. The dust and grime that collect in places like shelves, piping, conduits, light fixtures, reflectors, windows, cupboards and lockers may require manual cleaning.
Compressed air should not be used for removing dust, dirt or chips from equipment or work surfaces.
Employee Facilities
Employee facilities need to be adequate, clean and well maintained. Lockers are necessary for storing employees' personal belongings. Washroom facilities require cleaning once or more each shift. They also need to have a good supply of soap, towels plus disinfectants, if needed.
If workers are using hazardous materials, employee facilities should provide special precautions such as showers, washing facilities and change rooms. Some facilities may require two locker rooms with showers between. Using such double locker rooms allows workers to shower off workplace contaminants and prevents them from contaminating their "street clothes" by keeping their work clothes separated from the clothing that they wear home.
Smoking, eating or drinking in the work area should be prohibited where toxic materials are handled. The eating area should be separate from the work area and should be cleaned properly each shift.


        Poor floor conditions are a leading cause of accidents so cleaning up spilled oil and other liquids at once is important. Allowing chips, shavings and dust to accumulate can also cause accidents. Trapping chips, shavings and dust before they reach the floor or cleaning them up regularly can prevent their accumulation. Areas that cannot be cleaned continuously, such as entrance ways, should have anti-slip flooring. Keeping floors in good order also means replacing any worn, ripped, or damaged flooring that poses a tripping hazard.

      Surfaces Walls: 

        Light-coloured walls reflect light while dirty or dark-coloured walls absorb light. Contrasting colours warn of physical hazards and mark obstructions such as pillars. Paint can highlight railings, guards and other safety equipment, but should never be used as a substitute for guarding. The program should outline the regulations and standards for colours.

       Maintain Light Fixtures

           Dirty light fixtures reduce essential light levels. Clean light fixtures can improve lighting efficiency significantly.

       Aisles and Stairways

             Aisles should be wide enough to accommodate people and vehicles comfortably and safely. Aisle space allows for the movement of people, products and materials. Warning signs and mirrors can improve sight-lines in blind corners. Arranging aisles properly encourages people to use them so that they do not take shortcuts through hazardous areas.
            Keeping aisles and stairways clear is important. They should not be used for temporary "overflow" or "bottleneck" storage. Stairways and aisles also require adequate lighting.

       Spill Control

          The best way to control spills is to stop them before they happen. Regularly cleaning and maintaining machines and equipment is one way. Another is to use drip pans and guards where possible spills might occur. When spills do occur, it is important to clean them up immediately. Absorbent materials are useful for wiping up greasy, oily or other liquid spills. Used absorbents must be disposed of properly and safely.

      Tools and Equipment

            Tool housekeeping is very important, whether in the tool room, on the rack, in the yard, or on the bench. Tools require suitable fixtures with marked locations to provide orderly arrangement, both in the tool room and near the work bench. Returning them promptly after use reduces the chance of being misplaced or lost. Workers should regularly inspect, clean and repair all tools and take any damaged or worn tools out of service.


            The maintenance of buildings and equipment may be the most important element of good housekeeping. Maintenance involves keeping buildings, equipment and machinery in safe, efficient working order and in good repair. This includes maintaining sanitary facilities and regularly painting and cleaning walls. Broken windows, damaged doors, defective plumbing and broken floor surfaces can make a workplace look neglected; these conditions can cause accidents and affect work practices. So it is important to replace or fix broken or damaged items as quickly as possible. A good maintenance program provides for the inspection, maintenance, upkeep and repair of tools, equipment, machines and processes.

      Waste Disposal

             The regular collection, grading and sorting of scrap contribute to good housekeeping practices. It also makes it possible to separate materials that can be recycled from those going to waste disposal facilities.
             Allowing material to build up on the floor wastes time and energy since additional time is required for cleaning it up. Placing scrap containers near where the waste is produced encourages orderly waste disposal and makes collection easier. All waste receptacles should be clearly labelled (e.g., recyclable glass, plastic, scrap metal, etc.).
              Good organization of stored materials is essential for overcoming material storage problems whether on a temporary or permanent basis. There will also be fewer strain injuries if the amount of handling is reduced, especially if less manual materials handling is required. The location of the stockpiles should not interfere with work but they should still be readily available when required. Stored materials should allow at least one metre (or about three feet) of clear space under sprinkler heads.
              Stacking cartons and drums on a firm foundation and cross tying them, where necessary, reduces the chance of their movement. Stored materials should not obstruct aisles, stairs, exits, fire equipment, emergency eyewash fountains, emergency showers, or first aid stations. All storage areas should be clearly marked.
             Flammable, combustible, toxic and other hazardous materials should be stored in approved containers in designated areas that are appropriate for the different hazards that they pose. Storage of materials should meet all requirements specified in the fire codes and the regulations of environmental and occupational health and safety agencies in your jurisdiction.


       Know about Cleaning Solutions

You don’t need a degree in chemistry to clean and maintain floors, carpet and fabric.And you don’t need to know how to build a car in order to drive one. However, when the car breaks down, it’s nice to know a little bit about how it works so you can get it fixed. The same is true when it comes to cleaning solutions. It helps to know a little about them so they can be used safely and efficiently and effectively.

One of the basics to understanding how cleaning solutions work is to understand“pH”. pH stands for the Power of hydrogen or is a range of numbers expressing the relative acidity or alkalinity of a solution. When talking about cleaning chemicals you often hear terms like “Neutral Cleaner” or “Alkaline” or an “Acid Based Cleaner”.

The pH scale is numbered from 0 to 14. Pure water is rated as 7 on the pH scale. It is Neutral…it is neither acidic nor alkaline. Any solution that measures higher than 7 on the pH scale is considered to be ALKALINE. Most cleaning solutions that you use on the job and at home are on the alkaline side of the scale. Conversely, any solution that is lower than 7 on the pH scale is ACID. The farther you get away from 7 (Neutral) on the scale the more aggressive the cleaning solution is and the more care must be taken when using it. Solutions whose pH is above 12 (Alkaline) or below 3 (Acid) should be handled and stored with caution, as they are corrosive to many materials like fabric, plastic, metal as well as Flesh.

It is important to note that the pH scale as a “multiplier of 10. If a cleaning solution has a rating of 8, that means it is 10 times more alkaline than pure water which has a rating of 7 (Neutral) on the scale. A cleaning product that is rated an 9 is 10 times more alkaline than one rated a 8…that makes it 100 times more alkaline than pure water that is rated a 7. When you use this multiplying effect a solution rated 14 on the pH scale is 10,000,000 more alkaline than water. The same multiplying principle holds true going down the scale on the acid side.

      What does all this have to do with cleaning? 

               Most soils tend to be oily or greasy. Oil and grease has coated dust and particulate soil (grit) and is trapping them on a surface and making it difficult to clean. These oily soils tend to be acid. In order to break them down a cleaning solution that is on the alkaline side of the scale is used. In the simplest terms, the alkalinity “neutralizes” the acidic soil allowing it to be
      rinsed away.

Most cleaning products will fall between 8.5 and 11 on the pH scale. A “neutral Cleaner” used for daily hard surface floor care is actually less alkaline than some common personal care items like hair shampoo or hand soap and is a lot less aggressive than dish soap or laundry detergents. Neutral cleaners use a number of other chemical elements such as surfactants—Surface Active Agents—that break down the surface tension of liquids in order to work at removing dirt. 

When cleaning products whose pH is higher than 11 is used you will begin to see deterioration of floor finish and the finish eventually will be removed entirely. Using bleach or strong disinfectants is a common cause of dull or milky looking floors and sometimes will cause the floors to “powder” and be slippery. Using chemicals with high alkalinity to clean carpet and fabric will deteriorate the fabric and carpet fibers. Carpet that is not thoroughly rinsed and neutralized can develop a brown haze making it appear dirty. High alkalinity will remove stain-blocking agents that are put into carpet fibers at the time of manufacturing.

When using chemical cleaning products it is important to follow the manufacturer’s directions.

      It takes “TACT” to clean!

 Allow the solution to have “Dwell Time”. Give it time to loosen up the soil. This is important when stripping a floor to allow the solution time to soften up the old floor finish so it is easier to remove. When cleaning carpet or fabric, pre-spotting is important. Pre-spotting allows the chemical to begin to emulsify oil and grease, again, making cleaning easier and more effective.

 There are no miracle cleaners so don’t believe all those TV infomercials. It still requires mechanical action—Elbow Grease—to clean. Often machines and innovative products make it easier.

 Chemical concentration is important. Mix according to the directions. Too little won’t work but too much is not better either. Too much chemical can leave a residue, that is sticky and causes re-soiling. The proper amount of water in a solution is necessary to carry the soil in suspension so it can be rinsed away.

 Temperature is an important factor in cleaning. Increased temperature increases chemical activity allowing the cleaning solution to work faster. Boiling hot is not needed or safe, but avoid ice cold if you can. Today’s cleaning solutions are designed to work well at lower temperatures.

       Finally, two notes about cleaning chemicals and safety:

 It is always better to be too cautious rather than risk serious injury or damage to property. Personnel should be trained on the proper use and disposal of cleaning solutions. Appropriate safety gear ~ Gloves, shoes, aprons, eye/face protection should be used when recommended.

 Don’t play chemist by mixing chemicals. Violent chemical reactions can occur and lethal fumes can be created. Some chemicals will negate each other. Disinfectants can cause some cleaners not to work well and the disinfecting agents can be neutralized.  

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