Hotels employ special cleaning methods to keep their high fixtures in pristine condition, finds Zenifer Khaleel...
In the hospitality industry, cleanliness is paramount in providing the best customer experience. One of the first things guests notice is a sparkling chandelier or an intricate ceiling fixture. Maintaining these commodities in pristine condition is a gargantuan task and one which the housekeeping departments of hotels must tackle with utmost care. Several hotels have adopted special techniques to maintain their high r aise fixtures. We try and explore them.
A dusty or grimy cr ystal chandelier is quite an eyesore for any guest. It is therefore cleaned with an elaborate spray and drip-dry method. A common glass cleaner is used to for the cleaning process. Cristal Hotel in Abu Dhabi uses Sparkle Plenty cleaning solution to maintain the gleam of their chandeliers.
Tushara Rathnayake, Executive Housekeeper of Cristal Hotel explains the process.
1. Switch off the power to the chandelier and make sure the light bulbs are screwed on tight in their sockets, so that no water enters.
2. Individual crystals do not have to be removed from the fixture. For further protection, cover the bulbs with small sandwich bags and tie rubber bands around the bases.
3. Place a towel on the floor below the chandelier to absorb the drips.
4. Spray the chandelier thoroughly such that the solution covers all surfaces; but avoid any electrical or wire parts. The chandelier should remain stationary.
5. Let the dirty solution drip off the crystals
6. Spray the crystals with distilled water to rinse off any remaining soap and dirt.
7. An alternative to letting the crystals drip dry is wiping them dry with microfiber cloths.
8. Once the crystals are dry, remove the bags from the light bulbs.
9. Use a soft microfiber cloth dampened with the cleaning solution to wipe down the light wells.
Any individual crystals that have accumulated stubborn dirt and grime will have to be removed from the chandelier and treated to a hand wash. While preparing for the cleaning process, great care has to be taken due to the fragile nature of the crystals. The sink or basin in which they are cleaned should be lined with a soft towel to protect any falling or cracking. Detergents used must be mild and nonstreaky. The final rinse should be with warm water and ammonia to retain the sparkle.
The Grand Hyatt Dubai has a huge Swarovski crystal chandelier in the main lobby and two Murano glass chandeliers on either side of the lobby. Housekeeping Manager, Tatjana Ahmed states that the Swarovski chandelier is cleaned only once in two years with the help of outsourced contractors since the work is too labour intensive. The Murano chandeliers are cleaned once a year since they are more visible to guests. This is done by erecting a scaffolding or using a hydraulic lift with the help of their engineering department.
“For the hanging Murano glass chandeliers, we use a non-rinse liquid solution, which drip dries on the glass pieces without having to dismantle them. It is not possible to remove the single glass pieces for cleaning and place them back; as the chandeliers are too complex in design. A regular crystal glass cleaner is fine for the other chandeliers. Special cleaning liquids for cr ystals are available through various suppliers,” she says. “We maintain a regular preventive maintenance program together with engineering, which includes paint jobs, wood polishing and other maintenance. Regular walk arounds with engineering enable us to detect any damages early and to rectify them as soon as possible.”
Logu Kuppusamy, Director of Housekeeping at the Rotana Group
ascertains that maintaining the gleam of a chandelier is very important as it will be the first impression cast upon a guest. For the hotels in the Rotana Group, they use a genie lift and scaffolding ladder to access the high raise areas. “Cleaning is done by an expert team as it untrained personnel can damage the. Moreover, while cleaning or even replacing bulbs, the chandeliers must be inspected to ensure that the crystals are fitted firmly,” he says. Their chandeliers are cleaned twice a year using Ecolab’s PRO 40.
Cleaning a suspended ceiling is neither difficult nor does it r equire any special training. It can usually be done with a feather duster or static brush. For far to reach areas, the duster is attached with an extension. A vacuum cleaner can also help to remove dust and other debris that accumulates on the ceiling. “Mostly in hotel lobby areas, the main challenge is the height and traffic pattern of the place. Hence these tasks are scheduled at night with the help of an extra cleaning team. The engineering team pitches in by organising scaffoldings or telescopic boom lifts to reach the area. We ensure that we adhere to all the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and safety at work,” says Rathnayake. Crystal Hotel uses the TASKI Drosalino back pack vacuum cleaner instead of a feather duster or static cleaning brush, to clean the suspended ceilings. Sometimes carrying a heavy vacuum cleaner is not always practical. Also, there are inaccessible intricate nooks and crannies. In such cases, the teams use a conventional ladder and a feather duster. Alternatively a static cleaning tile, which uses static electricity to attract dust and remove it from the ceiling, is also used.
Depending on the location of the fixture, Cristal hotel has a bi-annual cleaning schedule for lower chandeliers and an annual schedule for higher ones. For false ceilings, cleaning is undertaken every two months or quar terly. “Safety at work is the prime concern on these cleaning projects. We advise the team to strictly adhere to usage of PPE and safety measures while working at heights. Close supervision and using correct product will give the best results along with protecting the expensive hardware of the hotel,” says Rathnayake.
High level fixtures do not need very frequent cleaning. But when you embark on the process, it requires intricate care and expert supervision to ensure that they are undertaken to beaming glory.