Cleaning up after other people means seeing some pretty weird things. A group of housekeepers gathered their collective advice on what we should and shouldn’t do when we pay to stay.

What’s the most bizarre thing housekeepers have found in a hotel room?

A pet snake. A lizard. A crack pipe. Then there’s the second tier of stuff: Teddy bears — left by adults, not kids. False teeth.

Do housekeepers have a contest for finding the weirdest stuff?

No. Our housekeeper association members are professionals who take an unwritten oath of confidentiality. Items are found, tagged, logged and turned in to security.

What should you do if you leave your false teeth behind and want them back?

Call Lost & Found at the hotel.

What’s the bad habit you wish hotel guests would break?

Smoking in the bathroom.

What happens to smokers when you catch them?

Usually, we find out after the guest checks out. We then charge his or her credit card. We take photos of the ashes and butts.

Are those bottled waters at the bar always free? How can a cheapskate be sure?

They are not always free, so to avoid an unexpected charge, read the tent card in the room to be sure. Fiji Water is the most popular item purchased from the in-room bar. They’ve been successful at marketing.

How often are the glasses at the bar washed?

Daily, if used. They have to be washed in a dishwasher.

What is the most common stolen item, and is it considered stealing to take all the unused toiletries?

Robes and coffee mugs are what people steal the most. But it’s OK to take the toiletries; that is not considered stealing.

Does the Bible ever get stolen?


What is the most common damage done to a hotel room?

Wallpaper. Kids draw on it. Sometimes, people make holes in the walls.

Is it true that the remote is the germiest thing in the room?

No. The remotes are wiped down at every checkout.

Bedspreads are legendary for being stained. How often do you clean them?

No one uses bedspreads anymore. Duvet covers are washed at every checkout.

What do you do if the couple one room over is too noisy?

Call the front desk and the duty manager will speak to the noisy guest. If that fails, ask to be moved to another room.

Is it OK to ask for another room simply because the karma doesn’t feel right?

Yes, you can ask, but whether you can be moved depends on the occupancy.

What is the appropriate tip percentage? Should you leave a tip every day?

The Japanese do this right. They leave a tip on the pillow daily. Some tip at the end of their stay. Two to three dollars per day, per guest is average. In five-star hotels, they tip anywhere from $20 to $50 per stay, per room.

How much should you tip the person who carries your bags?

At least $2 per bag. In a five-star hotel, $10 to $20 per party.


The Ohio-based International Executive Housekeepers Association offers membership, networking, education and certifications to facilities managers worldwide.