9 things you can do to help housekeeping when you checkout

Jul 23, 2021

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There are many unsung heroes in the hospitality and travel worlds, among whom housekeepers rise to the top as essential workers whose hard work often goes underappreciated.

Among the most discreet of hotel staff, they slip in and out of guest rooms mostly unnoticed, leaving taut sheets and fresh towels in their wakes to make sure your stay is as comfortable as possible.

We know we don’t need to remind you to leave a tip behind for housekeeping when you check out of your room.

But here are a few other things you may not have thought about doing during your next hotel stay that your housekeeper will likely greatly appreciate.

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Thompson Chicago Suite
A suite at the Thompson Chicago. (Photo courtesy of Hyatt)

Gather all towels

Many hotels have signs in the guest room bathrooms instructing guests to leave towels they don’t plan to use again on the floor (or in the bathtub) as a sign to housekeeping that you want them replaced.

When you’re ready to vacate your room at the end of your stay, make the final pick-up easier on the housekeeping crew by gathering all your towels and balling them up with any other wet things inside, then leave them in a pile on the bathroom floor.

That way, nobody has to touch anything wet or otherwise questionable, and everything is conveniently in one place for easy removal from the room.

Discard any liquids from bottles and glasses

You can make cleanup a little bit easier for housekeeping by scanning your room before you leave for any bottles of water or other beverages that still have liquid inside them. Even if there isn’t a bin for recyclables in your room, empty all containers you’re leaving behind of liquids (down the bathroom sink works). Then leave them all together — on the bathroom counter or a table is a good spot — so they’re ready to be whisked away.

Dispose of trash and recyclables

You wouldn’t leave trash on the floor or countertops back home for long, so don’t do it in a hotel room. It shouldn’t take more than a minute to give your hotel a last look before you leave for any wrappers, papers and other detritus you’re not bringing along with you.

Pop everything into your hotel room’s trash or recycling bin and it’s better for everyone. If the trash can in your room is already full, pile any extra garbage right next to it to makes things easier for removal (opt for the bathroom trash can in this case, so the trash sits atop tile instead of on any carpet in the main room).

If you have used diapers, call to have them removed

When traveling with babies, soiled diapers are a reality. And while many luxury properties offer baby amenities that might include diaper pails, most hotels do not (the trash can works fine for that).

Try your best not to leave any dirty diapers behind in the room when you check out, as they can really stink things up — especially if it’s going to be a few hours before the room attendant can get around to cleaning the room.

A quick call to housekeeping to let them know you have diapers festering in the room and need them removed should do the trick for getting someone to come and take them sooner rather than later. And you can always toss any dirty diapers in a plastic bag, too, and carry them along with you when you leave to drop them in the first outdoor trash can you see.

Put accessories back where you found them

While there are fewer touchpoints than usual in hotels these days, things like remote controls, irons and hairdryers are still standard in-room accessories.

Make sure housekeeping doesn’t have to go on a scavenger hunt to find a remote you left under the desk or a hairdryer you used out on the balcony instead of in the bathroom.

Do a quick inventory of the things you’ve used in the room, then place them back in their original location before you leave for good.

Fling the curtains open

Nobody from housekeeping wants to arrive in darkness into a room they’ve been charged with whipping into ship shape. Before you leave to check out, make sure to open the curtains all the way to let in the light. It’s a good excuse to do one last check there, too, behind the curtains, to make sure you’re not leaving behind a stray shoe or anything else.

Do a toilet check

This should really go without saying, but we’re going to say it. Make sure nothing is left behind in the toilets. When in doubt, give them an extra flush for good measure. Housekeeping will thank you.

Leave the bed unmade

Leave the bed unmade. (Photo by Igor Vershinsky/Getty Images)

This one might be hard for people who just can’t stand to look at an unmade bed. But on your last morning at a hotel, resist the urge to make your bed. It just makes the job harder for the people who need to strip it down fully and make it fresh for the next guest.

Leave a note about anything that’s not working in your room

This one is for extra credit, as most hotel guests wouldn’t think of it — let alone take the time to jot it out on paper. But it makes everyone’s job easier if housekeeping knows in advance what’s going on — and wrong — in a room.

Did you notice the blinds weren’t opening properly? Perhaps the smoke detector was beeping a warning that its battery is low.

Whatever wasn’t 100 percent in working order in your room during your stay — whether you cared or not — leave a quick note on the hotel stationery, a receipt or anything else convenient to let the housekeeping team know what to address.

You can leave the note on the desk, atop a pillow or on the bedside table — go ahead, place it right next to that tip — to make sure it’s seen.

Featured image by Phil Boorman/Getty Images

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