Date: 22-01-2019
In the hospitality industry, we are obliged to provide a safe and clean environment to our guests and employees. There are many cleaning methods and products that are useful and effective, as long as they are applied in a correct manner. For many, a written policy and procedure will help document the process of application. 
The question is how do we ensure that the correct application is followed, even when guarded by a policy or procedure? How do we find out if a new chemical is effective or if the method of application is correct? In most cases, the cleaning personnel is controlled by supervisory staff that will inspect the cleaned areas. What are we looking at while inspecting an area that has just been cleaned? Dust, hair, stains? Most cleaning staff pride themselves on doing a good job and ensuring that the room is clean with no trace of dust, hair or stains left behind. What else is there to look for when the area looks spick and span? Well, what about the hygiene? Apart from dust and other particles the room should be hygienically clean meaning free from bacteria and microbes.
There are many critical areas in a hotel and hotel guest room that need special attention. This includes, but is not limited to, the WC, door handles, elevator buttons, light switches, remote controls, sinks, showers and dustbins are areas that harbour bacteria and microorganisms. Investing in a small Hygiene Monitoring System is a wise decision to keep a check on the cleanliness and hygiene in the room after the routine cleaning. The system indicates how to collect a swab test sample and how to get the reading.
The swab tip comes pre-moistened with a detergent. After swabbing the desired area, the swab is placed back in the swab tube. There you can leave the swab for up to four hours before activating it in the device. Once the sample is activated in the device, it must read within 60 seconds. If the system reads less than 10, the surface tested is considered as clean. Readings between 11 to 29 indicate that the area has not been adequately cleaned. If the reading is above 30, this should be alarming, as the surface is considered being dirty. After testing a series of surfaces, it gives you a true indication of the chemical applications shortcomings; or about the efficiency of your training.
Implementing a monitoring system to validate cleanliness has resulted in greater compliance to cleaning procedures. Since approximately 90 per cent of your cleaning budget is spent on labour, it's important for the job to be done right the first time. Therefore, it not only serves as a control system but also as a training tool.
About the Author: Tatjana Ahmed is the Chairwoman of the UAE Professional Housekeepers’ Group. She is also the Housekeeping Manager, Grand Hyatt Dubai and a Functional Specialist with the group.