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Hotel Housekeeping Standard Operating Procedures - Unilever Professional India

Hotel Housekeeping Standard Operating Procedures

It takes hard work and dedication to keep hotels clean all day, every day. Your rewards are happy guests and top reviews. 

SOPs help ensure that your staff uphold the standards that make your hotel a clean, pleasant place to stay.

Hotel housekeeping SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures) are step-by-step instructions on effectively completing various housekeeping tasks. Everything from uniform standards to toilet cleaning can have an accompanying SOP.

Establishing roles, responsibilities, and procedures means your staff know what is expected of them and ensures consistent standards across the hotel workforce. 

With this guide, you can create SOPs that help your cleaning crews perform their jobs to the best of their abilities. 

Why do you need SOPs


Maintaining high, consistent standards of cleanliness across rooms that serve multiple functions can be demanding.

Complaints about cleanliness and a few bad reviews can hurt your business. SOPs provide a clear understanding of expected standards. 

Well-constructed SOPs help your staff maintain exacting standards throughout the establishment. 

By eliminating the opportunity for misinterpretation, your housekeeping team can focus on excelling within their defined role.


Health and safety are crucial for maintaining a happy, productive workforce. Housekeeping tasks include handling toxic chemicals, working on slippery surfaces and carrying heavy loads. Having SOPs that detail the safe way to complete dangerous tasks reduces the risk of injury to your staff.

Safety SOPs also keep your guests safe. The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted how quickly viruses could spread in indoor spaces. Guests now expect an even higher standard of hygiene. With guidance on what disinfectants to use, how often different areas need cleaning and when to refill handwash stations, staff can effectively clean the hotel and reduce the risk of guests falling ill. 


Housekeeping SOPs help staff at every level maintain the same standard, whether they are just onboarding or have been working at the hotel for years.

If any staff member is unsure of their responsibilities, they can refer to the relevant SOP. When updates are posted, managers can inform the workforce and make them accountable for implementing new procedures or adjusting cleaning methods.


Accountability is key to ensuring that your hotel remains compliant with regulations. Hotels must follow health and safety laws. High scores for sanitation are a fantastic way to demonstrate to guests the standards of your hotel. They show that you care for their well-being.

Performance management

SOPs make it easier for you to track your housekeeping staff’s performance. Their duties and expectations are clearly defined, meaning they are accountable for meeting those standards.

Checklists mean you can identify any discrepancies in cleaning. For instance, if a housekeeping team member claims they have washed the towels for their rooms, but a guest complains about dirty towels, a clear trail helps you resolve the situation.

SOPs help you identify where staff are working well and highlight any areas of weakness. This transparency means you can effectively target training for the whole workforce, certain teams or even individual staff members.

SOP Guides - Unilever Professional

The areas of importance for your housekeeping SOPs

Housekeeping SOPs cover a comprehensive range of tasks, which mostly fall into the following categories:

Attendance Management

Part of running a hotel means ensuring you have enough staff for all the housekeeping jobs. Creating SOPs for attendance management reduces the risk of the hotel being short-staffed at any time. 

These procedures cover the following:

  • Shift times, including arrival times, lunch breaks and overtime provisions.
  • Holidays, including restrictions on when housekeeping staff can take leave, how many staff can be on leave at once and procedures for booking time off.
  • Sick leave, including self-certification procedures for sickness and when a doctor’s note is needed.

Areas of Responsibility

SOPs should outline the roles and responsibilities expected of your housekeepers. These SOPs help your team focus on tasks and help managers identify where extra support is needed.

In the event of an investigation, having clearly defined roles means only those required are involved, leaving the rest of the workforce free to continue their duties. For emergencies, knowing who is first-aid trained and what everyone’s responsibilities are reduce the risk of confusion in a high-stress situation.

Waste Management

All businesses must comply with waste management regulations to avoid fines and reputational damage.

High standards need to be maintained across your hotel. Cleaning materials left in rooms, bin bags in hallways and odours from organic waste paint a bad impression on your establishment and can lead to guest complaints and bad reviews.

SOPs for waste management establish who is responsible for disposal and what can go in specific bins. Everyone working together will help keep your hotel clear of waste and reduce the risk of contamination.

Code of Conduct

SOPs that define the code of conduct and staff expectations eliminate confusion and ensure that every housekeeper knows what management expects of them. 

These include wearing the correct uniform, restrictions on piercings or makeup, ID cards, and procedures for wearing and disposing of protective equipment like masks and gloves.

By ensuring staff know the hotel standards and code of conduct, managers can apply this to performance reviews and provide additional training to those who might need extra support.

Training resources

SOPs standardise training for new hires and existing team members.

Housekeeping involves using toxic chemicals. Training procedures mean that staff know how to correctly handle, use and dispose of these chemicals, reducing the risk of injury to housekeepers or guests.

Creating these procedures also makes it easier to inform staff of training updates, and checklists ensure that all staff complete their required training.

Safety procedures

One of your most important jobs as a hotel manager is keeping your staff safe. That’s why safety SOPs are a crucial resource.

Establishing procedures for safety reduces the risk of injury on the job. Whether your housekeepers need to dilute chemicals or lift heavy objects, an SOP means safely carrying out these potentially dangerous tasks.

These SOPs also protect guests. Stringent cleaning procedures and using the right chemicals in the right areas reduce the risk of guests falling ill. 

Creating your own SOPs

SOPs tell your staff exactly how to complete tasks to the standards that the hotel management expects. 

Not all SOPs are created in the same format. For instance, a simple process like dusting a room requires a step-by-step SOP. This style of SOP isn’t suitable for more complex tasks like operating a washing machine.

Well-constructed SOPs make your job easier; staff clearly understand what they need to do, reducing the time spent training them and dealing with questions. The three main types of SOP are:

Step-by-step instructions: This format is perfect for simple tasks. A numbered or bullet-point list lays out the steps needed to complete straightforward tasks. Good step-by-step instructions have short, clear sentences that are easy to follow.

They aren’t effective in all cases, so they should only be created for straightforward processes. 

Hierarchical instructions: These are more in-depth versions of step-by-step instructions. Hierarchical SOPs have the same numbered or bullet-point lists, but each step is broken down into several sub-steps. For instance, Step 1 may have sections 1a, 1b and 1c that provide more detail for completing a task effectively.

Flowcharts: Flowcharts are perfect for processes that have multiple possible outcomes. They are good visual aids that map out all of these outcomes, reducing the risk of confusion. As such, unpredictable tasks should have an accompanying flowchart SOP so staff know what to do for every outcome.

When writing your SOPs, keep them concise but clear. Easy-to-follow instructions provide a reference point for housekeepers if they get stuck or forget something. Use short sentences and bullet point lists so your staff can quickly check the SOP for the needed information.

You’ll have a lot of SOPs that cover a wide range of topics, so organising these documents will save time and reduce the risk of something being missed or forgotten. Label every SOP with a serial number and departmental code. Have a list of these numbers at the start of your SOP booklet so housekeepers can easily find the relevant procedure.

SOPs will change as new methods are introduced and additional policies are added. Label every SOP with a ‘date issued’ so you can keep on top of alterations and your staff know they are using the up-to-date, correct methods in their work.

Example SOPs for hotel housekeeping

Making the Bed

Guide to making the bed - Unilever Professional

SOP Number: (SOP department code, e.g. HK and serial number, e.g. 01)

Department: Housekeeping

Date Issued: (Date of document creation/update)

  1. Remove soiled blankets, fitted sheets, top sheets, pillow covers and duvet covers. Place these in the laundry bin.
  2. Pull the mattress away from the headboard slightly.
  3. Get a clean fitted sheet and place it on the mattress:
    1. Unfold the fitted sheet from the centre of the mattress and spread it evenly. The four corners of the fitted sheet should match the corners of the mattress.
    2. Pull the fitted sheet over the first corner at the foot of the mattress and tuck it underneath. Repeat this for the next corner at the foot of the mattress.
    3. With the base corners secured, move to the top of the mattress and pull the fitted sheet over the third corner. Repeat for the final corner.
    4. Make sure the sheet covers the mattress, with any loose material tucked underneath.
    5. Smooth the fitted sheet and adjust until there are no wrinkles.
  4. Place a clean top sheet on the centre of the mattress:
    1. Unfold the top sheet and spread it so it lies flat along the top edge and hangs off the foot of the mattress. Ensure the tag is at the foot of the mattress and the hem at the top. Where applicable, the coloured side of the sheet should face down towards the mattress.
    2. Take the loose material at the foot of the bed and tuck it underneath the mattress. Leave the sheet hanging down the side of the mattress for now.
    3. Take the sheet material hanging down the side and hold it away from the mattress. Fold it straight up to form a triangle extending from the corner of the mattress. Lay this on the bed.
    4. Tuck the hanging material underneath the mattress. 
    5. Pull the triangle of the sheet back so it hangs down the side of the mattress.
    6. Tuck the loose material underneath the mattress. A triangle should form from the corner of the mattress, extending down its side.
    7. Repeat steps 2c-2f for the other corner.
    8. Fold the top of the sheet so the hem faces up.
    9. Adjust the sheet so no creases are visible.
  5. Replace the duvet cover and place the duvet on the bed. The top of the duvet should line up with the hem of the top sheet. Smooth the material so no creases are visible.
  6. Place blankets on the bed, folding them to cover the bottom third of the duvet. Again, smooth the material and hide the creases.
  7. Replace the pillow covers and place the pillows at the top of the bed. They should fill the gap between the top sheet and duvet and the top edge of the mattress.
  8. Push the mattress back against the headboard.
  9. Perform final checks around the bed, ensuring that all material is smooth and, where applicable, adequately tucked away.

Replenishing Bathroom Supplies

SOP Number: (SOP department code, e.g. HK and serial number, e.g. 01)

Department: Housekeeping

Date Issued: (Date of document creation/update)

  1. Check the facial tissue box. Replenish if empty or nearly empty.
  2. Repeat for toilet rolls. Toilet roll dispensers should have at least half a roll at all times. Place empty rolls in the appropriate bin.
  3. Check the following toiletries and replenish them where appropriate. Only replace liquids when the bottle level is depleted to ¼ capacity:*
    1. Shampoo
    2. Conditioner
    3. Bodywash
    4. Facewash
    5. Handwash
    6. Moisturiser
    7. Toothpaste
    8. Mouthwash
    9. Shaving cream
    10. Deodorant
    11. Floss
  4. When cleaning rooms after checkout, check and replace any items in the standard list:*
    1. Comb
    2. Toothbrush
    3. Razor
    4. Shower cap
    5. Air freshener

    *Note: Change lists where applicable. It is advisable to have a checklist accompany this SOP. Housekeepers note which toiletries or items they have replenished on the checklist, ensuring correct stock levels are maintained.

    Cleaning Guest Room Bathrooms

    Cleaning guests bathrooms - Unilever Professional

    SOP Number: (SOP department code, e.g. HK and serial number, e.g. 01)

    Department: Housekeeping

    Date Issued: (Date of document creation/update)

    1. Ensure you have all the correct cleaning materials for the bathroom (refer to the guest bathroom cleaning equipment checklist*). Make sure you are wearing gloves.
    2. Remove loose rubbish from surfaces, and place it into a garbage bag.
    3. Remove any guest toiletries from the bathroom. Check the shower and surfaces before cleaning.
    4. The first area to clean is the vanity area and sink.
      1. Spray surfaces with multi-purpose cleaner** and wipe down. Then wash the surfaces with water and dry them with a clean cloth.
      2. Spray cleaner onto the faucets and wipe them down. Clean any dirt or residue with a scourer.
      3. Clean the drain with a scourer.
      4. Clean glass with glass cleaner and a microfibre cloth.
      5. Underneath the sink, dust any pipes and wipe them down with cleaner.
      6. For the mirror, use a damp sponge with glass cleaner. Once cleaned, wipe and polish with a dry cloth.
      7. Polish all surfaces with a dry cloth, ensuring no water spots or streaks are visible. 
    5. Move on to cleaning the toilet.
      1. Flush the toilet to ensure it is functioning properly. If the flush is not working properly or the toilet is blocked, inform the maintenance crew.***
      2. Squeeze the toilet cleaner** underneath the rim at the top of the toilet. Make sure the whole rim is covered. Leave for 10 minutes.
      3. Spray the outside of the toilet bowl and tiled walls around the toilet with cleaner, and wipe down. Wash with water, then wipe and polish with a dry cloth.
      4. Repeat with the toilet handle.
      5. Spray both sides of the toilet seat and cover and wipe down. 
      6. Dust the pipes leading to the toilet, then spray with cleaner and wipe down.
      7. Once the toilet cleaner has been applied for 10 minutes, use a toilet brush to clean the inside of the bowl. Rinse the brush in the toilet.
      8. Flush the toilet to remove any residual cleaner. Ensure the water in the toilet bowl is clear.
      9. Dry and polish the entire toilet with a dry cloth. Make sure no water marks or streaks are visible.
    6. Move on to cleaning the shower cubicle.
      1. Turn the shower on and spray the inside of the cubicle, moving any loose hair and residue towards the drain.
      2. Remove any hair and residue from the drain and deposit them in a garbage bag.
      3. Spray the tiles with the multi-purpose cleaner and wipe them with a sponge. Pay extra attention to the areas between tiles - use a scourer for any dirt that is tough to move.
      4. Use the scourer and cleaner to wash the shower head. Clean the handles and any pipes with a sponge.
      5. Spray cleaner on the shower floor and wash with a sponge. 
      6. Wash the glass doors with a damp sponge and glass cleaner. Then wash with water. 
      7. Wipe down and polish all surfaces with a dry cloth.
    7. The final area to clean is the floor of the bathroom.
      1. Sweep the floor to collect any loose dirt. Deposit any dirt into a garbage bag.
      2. Mop the floor with a diluted floor cleaning solution.** Pay special attention to corners and areas around the toilet and sink.
      3. Wipe dry, making sure that there are no wet patches or visible water spots.
    8. Once the bathroom is clean and dry, replace any toiletries and supplies removed during the cleaning process.
    9. Perform a final check to ensure that all surfaces are clean and free of debris.

    *Note: It is advisable to have checklists of cleaning materials for different areas, to ensure that chemicals are not used incorrectly.

    **Note: Change as appropriate.

    ***Note: Change as fits your hotel procedures.

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