9 Things You’re Doing That Annoy Hotel Housekeeping

See recent posts by Katherine Alex Beaven

Courtesy of Shutterstock
Courtesy of Shutterstock

Hotel housekeeping typically has about 15 minutes to tidy up guest rooms (sometimes up to 45 minutes for check-outs), which, as we've reported, can have some disgusting consequences, so keep that in mind when occupying a room. While keeping a clean room can certainly help an overworked housekeeper, it can also be a favor for fellow guests. Ever arrived at a hotel and wanted to check in early? This is much more likely to occur if the previous occupants have left their room in an easy-to-flip state for housekeepers. Want extra gold stars and bright karma? Avoid these nine other things that are guaranteed to annoy your hotel housekeeping staff. 

1. Trashing Your Hotel Room

Rob Durdle/Flickr

Rob Durdle/Flickr

Not trashing your room may seem like an obvious thing to avoid, but it happens more than you think. There’s no need to litter the room with beer bottles and random trash, broken furniture and light fixtures, or towels flung about. Guests often underestimate the amount of time it takes to clean a room (and what little time cleaning staff has to do it), so even small messes can cause big delays. We understand, you’re on vacation. Just try to avoid creating a superfluous mess. Keep your towels hung up in the bathroom or create a pile in one spot of the room. Got trash? Throw it away. Made a big mess? Call and let housekeeping know, so that they can come clean it ASAP or budget more time for your room. 

2. Accusing Them of Stealing From Your Hotel Room

Accusing a hotel staff member of stealing is a big deal, and could very well cost them their livelihood. If you think something is missing, the first thing you should do is calm down and search everywhere. If you think you are genuinely in a situation where your housekeeper has stolen a valuable, report it. However, it might be best to ask housekeeping if they’ve seen the missing item before heading straight to management. Tip: If you are putting cash in the safe, we suggest logging all transactions, especially in foreign countries as it can be hard to mentally keep track of notes you aren’t familiar with.

3. Grabbing Items Off the Housekeeping Cart

While some folks are quick to accuse their housekeeper of stealing, many don’t even think twice about grabbing goodies off the housekeeping cart. Need something? Just ask and, most likely, you shall receive. Amenities on the cart may be reserved for special guests — or cost extra, like minibar items — and you could be putting the housekeeper on the line. Even worse, you could be nabbing something you think is fresh, but has been used by a previous guest. If you are in desperate need of more toiletries, towels, coffee pods, or pillows, call the front desk. Or, simply ask the staff member when they return to their cart. 

4. Neglecting the 'Do Not Disturb' Sign in a Hotel

Putting up a ‘do not disturb’ sign is a great way to avoid getting interrupted by your housekeeper. It also saves them time and possibly embarrassment from walking into an occupied room. But it’s important to remember to remove the sign when you leave the room (if you want service), especially when checking out of the hotel. If you forget to take off the sign when you head home, the housekeeper must wait until the last strike of check-out time before cleaning your room, putting a cramp in their schedule. It’s also a good idea to take it off when you order room service. It can be such a headache for the folks waiting outside your door with food. 

5. Not Tipping Your Hotel Housekeeper

401kcalculator.org via 401(K) 2012/Flickr

401kcalculator.org via 401(K) 2012/Flickr

Whether or not you leave your room messy, you should tip hotel housekeeping. Sure, it’s their job to clean your room, but there is a difference between a hotel housekeeper and a personal maid. These folks have such a short amount of time to do so much, and most of them are getting paid basic wages to do it. Showing appreciation for their time and hard work is practically priceless (but you can still put a number on it). A good rule of thumb for tips is about two to five dollars per day (or more — about 10 dollars — if you know you are messy). Of course, this depends on the level of property you’re visiting. Some guests like to tip per day to ensure that particular day’s housekeeper receives the tip (shifts change), while others prefer to tip at the end. 

6. Using Hand Towels to Remove Makeup

Makeup leaves horrible stains on towels, so be mindful when you are washing your face or even your hands after applying any cosmetics. White towels can be bleached, but stylish, colorful options cannot. Some hotels may just toss any ruined towels, but others who are more environmentally or budget-conscious may ask the housekeepers to work that stain until it’s gone. No one likes extra work, so think twice, hunt down a tissue, or call the front desk to ask if they have any makeup remover towels.

7. Asking the Hotel for a Late Check-Out

We all love a late check-out. Well, almost all. The longer guests stay in their rooms, the less time housekeeping has to turnover the room for the next round of occupants. If you’re looking to score a late check-out, there are a few things you can do to speed up the cleaning process for housekeepers. Start by making sure all trash is in the garbage, all used towels are in a single pile on the bed or floor, and any decorative pillows are in a chair. This will help streamline the turnover process. Even better? If you don’t have to be in the room — assuming you’ll be spending most of the time at the pool or having lunch in the restaurant — just ask the hotel if they can store your luggage, or if they have a courtesy room for late check-outs. That way, you get the extra time without adding stress to the housekeeping staff.

8. Not Flushing or Wiping Down the Toilet in Your Hotel Room

We hope we don’t have to tell any adults to remember to flush the toilet, but we know people can get lazy on vacation. Tidying up after someone can be hard enough, but no one should have to clean up bodily fluids from strangers or be forced to see their ablutions.

9. Not Using the Trash Cans in Your Hotel Room

Hotel rooms have trash cans for a reason, but you’d be surprised to learn how much garbage fails to make it in the bin. Any trash left out — from a small cellophane wrapper to large amounts of beer bottles — has to be thrown away by the housekeeper. And when you’ve only got a set number of minutes per room, walking around to collect bits of trash here and there can take a long time. In a similar vein, if your hotel is eco-friendly enough to include a recycling bin in the room, only use it for recyclables. Otherwise, the housekeeper has to sort through your trash.

You’ll Also Like:

All products are independently selected by our writers and editors. If you buy something through our links, Oyster may earn an affiliate commission.