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  • Writer's pictureJennifer Flynn

Behind the Sparkle: The Secrets to a Perfectly Clean Stay at The Grove

Updated: 5 days ago

By: Jennifer Flynn, Owner and General Manager for The Grove Hospitality Group (June 15, 2024)

I have to admit something… I have a “problem.” Not a really “big problem” if you ask me, but unexplainable to others (and if you ask my husband, it's very, very “annoying”). I am what you call a PERFECTIONIST: a person who refuses to accept any standard short of perfection, who strives for flawlessness and who sets excessively high performance standards; to a perfectionist, anything less than perfect is unacceptable. Yep, that’s totally me. I’ll spend countless hours finding the perfect shade of white paint, making sure that that photograph I want to post is just right, or that the paper has been three-hole punched in just the right spot (omg! that one is a killer). But, let me tell you that for a hotelier who also manages the daily operations, it’s the absolute PERFECT personality trait to have (see what I did there?).

If I had to list the most important thing that a hotel should focus on, CLEANLINESS would definitely be at the top of the list! No matter how great your hotel is, if your guest walks into a room that isn’t clean, you might as well close your doors now – you’ll definitely lose that guest as a potential future customer, but also their grandparents, parents, friends, and co-workers, who could have also been potential customers. Do you know what I mean by the “perfect clean”? Yes, you do. It’s not only about great cleaning practices, it’s about the perfect sights and smells. It’s about that feeling of pride, that feeling of safety, that feeling of ease when you enter a room – something that we all really need. My husband’s wise grandmother always said, “you don’t have to be rich to be clean,” and truer words have never been spoken – the perfect clean can apply to everyone and everything.

So, how do you apply these same perfect cleanliness practices to your own home? The easiest way for me is to tell you about the cleaning routines that we’ve established for our housekeeping crew… the hardest working and most important people in the life of a hotel owner (although, being a very small boutique hotel, this really is anyone on our team). You can apply these tips to your own situation. We will be creating this post to talk about the what, how, and (sometimes) why of how we create the perfect hotel clean… so grab your rubber gloves and jump on board…

1. Start with the right cleaning products on hand (and crank it up).

First things first. A good cleaning session is not easy labor – it should feel more like a workout than a walk in the park, so crank up the a/c or, better yet, open the windows and let the fresh air in. We even crank up the tunes to stay motivated and to keep a good pace going.

The next step is choosing the right products for the job at hand. There is an important difference between cleaning and disinfecting. Cleaning can be accomplished by sweeping, vacuuming, and plain old soap and water – it’s removing the dust and dirt that may have collected. Disinfecting is the next step, and it's crucial for protecting yourself and others. At The Grove, we use ECOLAB’S PEROXIDE MULTI SURFACE CLEANER AND DISINFECTANT – for the ultimate protection for our guests and staff. However, in light of the increased demand for cleaning products, you may find that many of these recommended products are not available.

Here are some expert cleaning tips to get you through the disinfecting process at home:

  • Clean surfaces first. Mop, dust, vacuum, and clean appropriate surfaces with soap and water to remove dirt, grime, and grease.

  • Bleach, isopropyl alcohol, and hydrogen peroxide are effective disinfectants.

  • Follow the directions on the label of any disinfectant you are using. The labels indicate whether the product is effective against viruses, what surfaces it can be safely used on, as well as how to properly dilute.

  • Bleach should only be mixed with water to dilute it. Mixing with other compounds can produce harmful fumes.

  • Pay attention to the formulation’s contact or dwell time, meaning the time the surface must remain wet in order for viruses and bacteria to be killed. If the surface dries before the prescribed dwell time, which can range from 30 seconds to 10 minutes, reapply the disinfectant.

  • Disinfect high-touch areas, including doorknobs, toilet flushers, fridge and cabinet handles, shower curtains, faucets, and remote controls.

  • If using a bleach product, open windows, turn on fans, and limit your exposure to fumes.

  • Wash towels, bathmats, and sheets on hot or sanitize settings and avoid shaking them out.

  • An effective all-purpose cleaning solution is 2 cups of water, 1/2 teaspoon of dish soap, and if you have it, 5-10 drops of an antibacterial essential oil, such as tea tree oil, lavender, thyme, cinnamon, or citrus.

  • Always take your shoes off before entering the house to avoid tracking in dirt and germs.

2. Remove any garbage or items that don’t belong.

Before you start the deep clean, make sure to remove any trash or items that don’t belong in the room. This helps to declutter the space and make the cleaning process more efficient.

3. Clean the room from the back to the front, top to bottom, high to low.

This strategy allows us to move through the room without tracking dirt and germs back into the areas we've already cleaned. Since the bathroom is usually in the far corner, we start there, followed by making the bed, dusting, and finally vacuuming our way out of the room. Dusting should always be done from top to bottom – simply because of the way gravity works – start with the light fixtures and door frames and move down from there. Don’t forget about baseboards and under beds – this is the one place that dust (and those nasty dust bunnies) always collect.

One of the most important cleaning practices that everyone should incorporate into their routines is focusing on high-touch areas. High-touch areas are places that should be cleaned and disinfected regularly to prevent the spread of germs.

4. The dreaded bathroom clean.

So, we start with the bathroom first. Although it’s usually in the back of the room, another main reason why we start there is that we really want to get the bathroom over with, since it takes the most time to clean and guaranteed that you have never heard anyone say that they “love cleaning the bathroom.” The bathroom, at times, is a gross representation of the human species, but that’s ok, we can deal with all the toothpaste spit, bodily fluids, and the buckets of stray hairs to get to the next amazing guest. A good clean here is necessary to make sure that the dirtiest surfaces are disinfected and thoroughly cleaned to prevent germs from spreading to the rest of the room.

Start out with spraying the peroxide cleaner on the mirrors, shower walls, sink, vanity, and the toilet (but let that baby sit… there’s no need to dive into that mess just yet). Then use a rag in one hand to rub the product in and a rag in the other hand to dry it off – you should hear “wax on, wax off” in the back of your mind while you are doing it and remember to check for streaks - in the perfect clean there are NO streaks.

Now, the task that none of us look forward to… cleaning the toilet. This is definitely as bad as it gets, mostly because we have no idea who stayed in the room the night before and we’ve all had the unappealing experience of having to deal with a bathroom where things were very, very bad. The worst feeling is walking into a room when it hits you… ok, they’ve definitely spent the evening drinking a beer at the Banded Goose Brewery across the street, had a little too much fun, and found themselves hunched over the very same porcelain bowl I was about to dip my hands into. Not good (but you do get used to it).

Hopefully, your experiences at home are far less dramatic (and you know the person that used the toilet last) but it really doesn’t make it much better. Cleaning a toilet is just a crappy job! 😉. All we can suggest is that this is the time that you crank up your favorite tune and get it done in a timely manner. Your swish and swirl session will be far more bearable if you can move to the likes of the Backstreet Boys or the Rolling Stones. Who knows, maybe that music will even make you scrub just a little bit harder.

5. Making the bed

Making the bed might seem straightforward, but there’s a method to it that ensures a perfect, inviting look every time. Start by pulling the sheets tight and tucking them neatly. Then, arrange the pillows with care. At The Grove, we have a specific way of displaying pillows to ensure they look inviting and plush.

6. There is a "right" way to display pillows.

"Every supervisor has their pet peeves, and mine are the pillows," said Jennifer Flynn, Owner and General Manager of The Grove. This, I learned the hard way. First, you shake the pillow to make it easier to fit into the pillow case (getting it into the corners is huge here). Then comes the presentation: "Happy" pillows are pressed flat and laid out straight on the bed, while "sad" pillows just look messy. To do this, put your hands in the middle, then slowly push them out in opposite directions repeatedly until your pillow is as flat as a board and about half as thick as before you started. The key to a happy pillow is pressing all the air out until it lays flat. Guess which kind I made?

7. At the very end, everything is inspected.

As soon as I thought my day was over, I grabbed my gloves to make sure my work "met hotel standards" — and I suddenly felt like I was in high school all over again. Except I already knew how I fared on this pass-fail test. I completely forgot to dust, and I left marks on the glass shower door after a second and third attempt to right my wrong.

We hope that after reading this, you not only gain a far greater appreciation for the meticulous work that happens behind the scenes at The Grove but also walk away with a few new tricks to incorporate into your own cleaning routine at home. Our commitment to perfection isn't just about providing a spotless room; it's about creating an environment where you can relax, feel safe, and truly enjoy your stay. Whether it's the precision in our pillow arrangements, the shine of our bathroom fixtures, or the fresh, inviting scent that greets you at the door, every detail is a testament to our dedication. So, next time you visit, know that every sparkle, every fresh scent, and every crisp sheet has been crafted with care and passion. And who knows? Maybe these tips will help you transform your own home into a personal haven of cleanliness and comfort. Thank you for choosing The Grove, where perfection is our standard and your comfort is our mission.

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