What is “Refreshing” a Room?

After the blog post “How to Clean Like Martha Stewart” I got a lot of questions about how much time is required for various types of cleaning, so I thought I would try to give you some idea of what’s required when a guest stays more than one night.

Refreshing a room – refers to the type of cleaning done in a room that the guest hasn’t checked out of

Regular cleaning – refers to the type of cleaning done every time a guest checks out of a room (like that described in the How to Clean Like Martha Stewart blog post) CLICK HERE to read it.

Deep cleaning – is done on a regular basis –at my B&B it was done once a month in peak season.

I allowed one hour to strip, clean and make the bed and ensuite bath rooms back up for a regular cleaning, as well as doing the laundry.

A deep cleaning would take approximately two hours and would include cleaning and paint touch-ups of walls and trim, window cleaning, dusting of all light fixtures – all the things not done during a regular cleaning. Basically, it is like a spring cleaning.

Depending on how long the guest stays will determine how much “refreshing” is required.  Some B&B owners don’t like to disturb guests, or make the guest feel like they are being “checked on”, so if a guest is only staying one additional night, they may not go into a room at all.

It also depends on your price point.  If you are charging rates that are comparable to hotels, then guests may expect a similar level of service and want the beds made, rugs vacuumed, towels replaced, trash emptied and the bathroom completely cleaned.

In my case, I would go in to the room and at a minimum, empty the garbage, make the bed, check for and replace wet towels, clean the sink and toilet, remove dirty cups or glasses, etc. If the floor was dirty, it would be vacuumed.

If you still aren’t sure what level of service to provide, asking your guests – “Do you need anything for your room?” is a good way to start the conversation, and get a feel for how comfortable they feel about you going into “their” room and what their expectations are.

Here are some tips to make the job easier:

  • Start cleaning the areas that guests will see first, so that if you have an early check-in or someone wanting to see a room, it is clean and tidy.
  • If at all possible, work in pairs – split the tasks (i.e. one person clean the bathroom and the other clean the bedroom). Not only does the work go faster, but it’s nice to have the company!
  • Using an extension cord for the vacuum cleaner is a time saver as you don’t have to keep stopping and moving the plug around.
  • Adding tennis balls into the dryer when you are drying pillows will keep them fluffy, not lumpy!
  • Spray your glass shower doors with Rain-X or another car spray product that has been created to help water sheet off of glass
  • When cleaning windows clean the outside horizontally and the inside vertically.  You can then see which side the streaks are on for ease of removal.
  • Using microfiber cloths will save on paper towel and cleaning products
  • To prevent soap scum build-up in showers/bathtubs, offer your guests shower gel rather than cake soaps
  • Some eco-friendly cleaning products include vinegar and sodium bicarbonate.  Cold tea (the stronger the better) makes a great cleaner for glass.
  • To soften bath towels, wash in the hottest water possible and ammonia (no detergent – it’s the build-up of soap that makes them scratchy and stiff)

So, how do you plan to handle the cleaning of rooms of guests staying more than one night? Let me know by leaving a comment below.


  1. Karen

    We ask daily, just don’t go in automatically and we say we don’t wish to disturb their privacy. If they are staying a 3rd night we suggest that we should check their consumables, change towels, dispose of rubbish etc. I would say 95% of guests at our place don’t want anything done for 2nd night and 95% will agree for night 3. It is rare for longer stays at our location.

    1. Susan Poole Post author

      Thanks Karen

      It sounds like a very workable system for your B&B. I’m glad you’ve got to a place where you know your guests and what they desire!

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