The Do’s and Dont’s of Cleaning Stayover Rooms

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When it comes to guests’ personal items, it can be confusing for room attendants to decipher what’s off limits. Here’s a list of do’s and don’ts when servicing stayover rooms:

Trash. Empty all trash cans and recycle bins. Any items inside these containers should be considered “discarded” and may be removed from the room. Any items too large to fit in the trash can (e.g. pizza boxes) that are sitting on or next to the container may also be considered trash. When uncertain, leave the item until the guest departs.

Clothing. Any guest clothing that is on the floor or under the bed or furniture may be folded and placed on the credenza, table, or foot of the bed. Shoes and boots may be neatly straightened and placed against the baseboard where guests will not trip over them. However, do not place clothes, shoes, or coats inside a drawer, suitcase, or closet. They should remain in plain sight.


Toiletries. To clean the sink and tub areas, a room attendant may align guests’ personal toiletries. Toothpaste and toothbrushes may be placed in an empty glass or cup so they do not come into contact with the vanity. Brushes, combs, and cosmetics may be placed on hand towels in an orderly fashion, and shampoo and conditioner bottles may be aligned on the tub edge. Never place these personal items back into a guest’s toiletry or cosmetic bag though.

Valuables, electronics, and prescriptions. Never touch a guest’s money, jewelry, keys, electronics, or medicine. Touching or moving such items can only lead to suspicion by the guest that the employee may have had dishonest intentions.

Drawers, luggage, purses, briefcases, and bags. Do not move, open, inspect, go through, or place any items inside drawers, guest luggage, purses, briefcases, or any other type of bags. Again, doing so may be perceived as potential theft. The closet should only be accessed on stayover rooms to replace laundry bags, dry cleaning tickets, and other closet amenities, or to re-hang the ironing board and iron.

Glasses or cups with contents. Never empty or wash any glasses, mugs, or plastic cups that may have any contents inside, including water. Guests will often soak their contact lenses or jewelry inside these vessels. Emptying such glassware may result in washing guest items down the drain.

William D. Frye, Ph.D., CHE, is coauthor of AH&LEI’s textbook Managing Housekeeping Operations.

Photo credit: Open Suitcase via Bigstock


  1. Never discard a glass of water in a stay over room as it invariably has a set of contact lenses in it. Cost me hundreds in replacement over the years.


    Kele Agi

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