This is the second in a series of articles featuring anonymous employees who lift the lid on their industry and reveal the horrific secrets the public has no idea.
Image: Getty Images)
In our series of worker confessions, we speak to a former employee of a cleaning agency – who lifts the lid on what it’s really like to work behind the scenes.
Here is his real experience working in kitchens, hotels and private homes.
“I worked as a cleaner and saw so much bad practice that I think the public would be sickened if they found out.
“I am employed by an agency and normally clean hotel rooms or private homes.
“Some of the things I’ve seen would make your stomach turn. For example, we use different colored cleaning cloths and mops depending on where we’re cleaning – so in theory the things used to clean toilets don’t will not be used to clean a kitchen.
Have you seen bad customer practices in your industry that you disagree with? Message [email protected]
“But in practice, I’ve seen cleaners get it wrong all the time, with toilet rags being used to wipe down food preparation surfaces, bedside tables, etc.
“Where I see it, I correct it, but I worry about all the times it happens and I don’t spot it. People could get seriously ill.
“Similarly, people use saliva to clean things, or use the wrong chemical – like using window cleaner on a kitchen surface.
“Another thing that often happens in hotels is that the rooms are never as clean as you think.
“The public expects everything to be impeccable between guests – and that’s certainly what we’re supposed to do.
“But we are under so much pressure that corners are inevitably cut.
“For example, if someone has only stayed one night in a room and the sheets look good, often we don’t change them.
“It’s the same with vacuuming the floor or cleaning the bathroom – hopefully we won’t.
“It’s more about avoiding complaints than cleaning up.
“One trick is to spray a few squirts of window cleaner into an otherwise uncleaned bathroom – if a room smells of the chemical, guests assume it’s been cleaned.
“I hate it all, and we’re all proud of our work, but it’s due to pressure from management.
“When we clean hotel rooms, we may have to clean an entire floor of dozens of rooms before even taking a 15-minute break.
“Imagine cleaning an entire hotel floor or two yourself in one day – that’s what we’re supposed to do.
“Having said that, I’ve also seen theft, and there’s no excuse for that.
“A lot of times when a foreign guest leaves a hotel they leave UK coins on the side because it’s easier than exchanging them. It’s fair enough if we take them.
“But I’ve also seen cleaners assume that anything left in a hotel room that isn’t a wallet or a phone is junk – clothes, books, etc.
“We also see horrible things ourselves. Members of my team have often found dead bodies when they come in to clean a room – and after the police leave and leave, they are supposed to go there to clean up like if nothing had happened.
“But we also see the consequences of people losing their grip on reality a bit, which unfortunately seems to happen a lot in hotels.
Want to lift the veil on what it’s like to work in your industry anonymously? Contact us: [email protected]
“I’ve seen rooms with urine and feces smeared on the walls, or with messages written in blood – and again, you just need to put on your rubber gloves and clean yourself up.
“The worst thing I had to clean was in a student house – a bath of dead ducks, in the height of summer, after they had matured for a few weeks. Some of them had exploded , which was quite messy.
“The previous occupants had managed to catch ducks in a nearby park and had clearly decided that they would be a good alternative to buying food.
“They had hung them upside down in the bathroom from the shower rod, then apparently forgot about them and left the house to go home over the summer vacation.
“When we opened the door to the house, we were greeted by a cloud of black flies and an unimaginable smell – like something out of a horror movie.
“All the blood and fluids from the rotting ducks had stained the floor and left an almighty smell that we couldn’t get rid of.
“Cleaners have it tough for little pay and are treated pretty badly by a lot of people – but word needs to be said that the endless pressure from management is backfiring on the people we’re supposed to clean for.”