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Housekeeping in Institutions


Whether it be in a hotel, hospital, university, or other residential establishment, the main purpose of the housekeeping and accommodation department is to provide a clean, comfortable, and attractive environment for all those who use the premises and those services must be provided in such a way that they do not lead to any safety, fire or health hazards; hygiene is of particular importance with control of pathogenic organisms and the prevention of cross-infection becoming an important factor.


Housekeeping, the maintenance of a clean, pleasant and orderly environment has always formed an essential part of civilized living. It is a labour intensive activity though less so now than in earlier times, when there were few
mechanical aids and labour was so cheap and plentiful that its cost was not an important consideration. The importance of the role of the housekeeper in management is rarely fully recognized, and the consequences of poor housekeeping are not always appreciated. The housekeeper will have different duties depending on the priorities of the particular establishment, type and size of establishment, the number of staff employed, company policy, the number and extent of contract services used and the function of other department. The job can be very
demanding and time-consuming, and 60-70% of the time may be spent dealing with personnel in all its aspects. Some of the main duties and responsibilities are indicated below:

1. The recruitment and dismissal of staff within the department
2. Staff training and appraisal
3. The control and supervision of staff
4. Implementing the policy of the company, organizing work schedules, duty roasters, setting standards and achieving goals
5. The control and supervision of the linen room
6. Security of the establishment
7. Maintenance of the buildings and contents Eg. Equipment’s, furniture's and fittings
8. The keeping of all relevant records on staff, finance, equipment, materials, redecorating, room occupancy and special functions
9. The welfare of staff and customers
10. The purchasing of supplies and equipment


Hotels are commercially run operations for the customer who has a choice of where to stay, and pays for the
accommodation and services received. The housekeeper has to bear in mind that the customers must be attracted to the establishment so marketing and selling are important factors. Furthermore amenities and services are
geared to meet the demands of the market for which the hotel is catering. 

Within hotels the cleaning the and domestic services are provided by the housekeeping department. The function
of the hotel housekeeping department is to provide, organize, and control the cleaning, linen and laundry and room servicing throughout the hotel. The standard of this work and particularly the type and amount of room servicing will depend upon the accommodation provided. The provision of these services will be reflected in the tariff for each room.

The aims of this department are:
1. To provide these services economically and efficiently
2. To promote the comfort of the guest, staff and visitors
3. To assist in the maintenance of the fabric of the building, whilst contributing to a safe and healthy environment


The department will also be required to provide those "finishing" touches which will increase a guest's enjoyment of his stay at a hotel e.g. flower arrangements, personal laundry/dry cleaning service and hotel literature.
The only form of catering with which the department will normally be involved with is the provision of early morning tea and sometimes the service of continental breakfasts when these are taken in the guest's room.


Residential establishments include student's halls of residence or hostels belonging to universities, poly techniques and institutes of higher education, adult education centres, staff colleges, training centres and residential homes, and schools run by local authorities or other organizations. The head of such establishments may be called the bursar, the domestic bursar, the steward, the residence manager, the hall manager or the matron. Providing housekeeping service for people in residential establishments such as hostels, boarding schools is of a different nature to providing similar services in hotels. In hotels perhaps the emphasis is on aesthetics whereas in hospitals it is more important to be concerned with hygiene, and in institutional establishments thought has to be given to people who are living in a room which is to be their home for quite some considerable time. A further problem is usually a very tight budget. In a small college the domestic bursar and his/her assistant will normally share the work of the department between them although the domestic bursar takes overall responsibility. The domestic bursar will also be involved in forward planning operations for the smooth running of the establishment. Traditionally, student hostels have provided a full catering service and a full cleaning service for residents during term time and relied
upon vacations to provide the opportunity for staff to carry out periodic cleaning and maintained a member of the academic staff usually known as warden will be responsible an maintenance for the welfare and discipline of residents. In residential homes and schools full range of catering, cleaning and associated services is usually provided.

Duties of domestic bursar:


Responsible for the organization and control of all aspects of the services provided including catering, cleaning, and
maintenance of the grounds in which the establishment is set. Duties will vary from one establishment to another but specifically they will include -

1. Budgetary control
2. Staff recruitment and discipline
3. Staff training and welfare
4. Establishment and maintenance of standards of service
5. Preparation of work schedules and rotas
6. Reporting and checking of maintenance requirements
7. Control of gardening and maintenance staff
8. Control of laundry and linen room
9. Control of kitchen staff
10. Ordering of food, cleaning equipment, materials, and linen
11. Care of lost property
12. Security, including the care of keys
13. Fire precautions
14. Stock control
15. Provision of advice and reports with respect to staffing and finance
16. Conference 

Large universities are managed in several different ways. The accommodation manager may be in charge of the student accommodation on and off campus, but in other management set ups there will be an overall domestic manager sometimes known as a director of the residential organisation. In this case the director will be
responsible for

1. Catering
2. Housekeeping of student halls
3. Co-ordination of maintenance and repairs
4. Organisation of off campus student accommodation

His/her important responsibility is cost control and standards. In a university all administration comes under the responsibility of the registrar but his/her prime concern is the academic side. The bursar on the other hand is in charge of services. The department heads have following responsibilities:

1. The estate manager is in charge of all building and maintenance including of the grounds.
2 The catering manager is in charge of all the food and beverage outlets including the cleaning of those areas.
3. The service manager or superintendent caretaker is in charge of the cleaning of all public areas, classrooms, lecture theatres, laboratories and any other teaching areas as well as offices and toilets.

The accommodation manager is in charge of cleanliness and organization of all student-accommodation.

Although universities do get government grants they are largely self-financing organizations and they must at least break even at the end of any one financial year. With this policy in mind it is the job of the accommodation manager to play his/her part by marketing accommodation during vacations and keeping control over costs of the
accommodation function. Apart from the financial side of the operations the accommodation manager must be concerned with the well being of the students and staff, the cleanliness and hygiene the accommodation and of
course the smooth running of the department. A housekeeper be in charge of a hall of residence containing up to 500 beds. Students usual have study bedrooms with shared toilets and shower facilities but in some colleges and universities, there are also shared bedrooms. The halls may be single sea or mixed but they are of two types:

* Fully catering halls in which case the housekeeper is normally responsible for both catering and housekeeping services to the hall.
* Self catering halls in which case the housekeeper is simply in charge of housekeeping services as the students cook for themselves.

The housekeeper who also is sometimes known as a domestic bursar is responsible for the following in his/her particular hall.

* Cleanliness and hygiene
* Pest control
* Keys and student mail
* His/her own staff welfare, work supplies and organisation
* Linen
* Bed control-one person per bed so avoiding financial/ethical problems for the hall and study problems for the student

The housekeeper in a hall of residence should always on duty when the students check in. A rooming list will have been issued previously from the accommodation secretary so that s/he knows exactly who has been allotted to which room. Room keys are handed out on arrival and often a small deposit is taken to cover the cost of the loss of the key or any damage to the study bedroom or breakages in the hall when students check out. The housekeeper must always be on hand to do an inventory as items do tend to take on the role of souvenirs.



The function of the domestic services department in a hospital is to provide, organize and control an effective
cleaning service for the whole of the hospital i.e. wards theatre areas, outpatients, laboratories, specialist e.g. remedial departments, gymnasiumoffices, staff-facilities, patient's recreational areas and residences. In some
hospitals the departments may also be responsible for the cleaning of the catering department. The work of the department is primarily cleaning, with the aim of producing a technically clean aesthetically pleasant
environment which will:

1. Assist in promoting the comfort of patients, visitors and staff.
2. Contribute to the health care of the patients by using cleaning procedures which will control harmful organisms and help to prevent the spread of infection.
3. Contribute to the maintenance of the fabric of the building.


The work in the patient areas is carried out around the patients. The
method of work chosen must therefore be quiet, fast and efficient and
disturb the patients as little as Possible This also means that the domestic
stall who work on patient areas must be of a temperament that can cope
with working among sick people. The provision of linen and laundry
services is normally the responsibility of the laundry manager and his/her


1. The smooth running of the domestic services department of a particular hospital or hospital units
2. Advice on domestic services within the district 
3. Hygiene and cleanliness throughout the unit, with the exception of the catering department, the mortuary and often the operating theatres. These areas usually have their own specialist to deal with cleaning.
4. Health safety and security
5. Pest control
6. Good co-ordination with other departments
7. Control of any contract agencies such as window cleaners
8. Liaison with unions
9. Efficiency and cost effectiveness
10. Cleanliness of staff residencies
11. Staff uniforms
12. Staff recruitment training and welfare


Aids in the running of the department the assistant DSM will also have some specific responsibility such as staff training or being responsible of particular unit perhaps a small specialist hospital Domestic SUPERVISOR: Responsible for a certain number of wards and domestic assistants who clean those wards. The main responsibility is to maintain the standard of cleanliness and hygiene within his area of the highest level and consequently s/he is involved with the organization of work on those wards liaison with nursing staff is especially important.


They are often employed on part time basis. The job articular areas of the hospital usually the wards.
1. The sanitary areas (bathrooms and toilets)
2. The kitchen area (each ward usually has a small kitchen for the preparation of beverages etc.)
3. The ward area (patients sleeping area and in some cases a sitting room or day room area)

The domestic staffs are concerned with cleaning these three areas. They may also clear away food trays, but do not normally make beds, this is the task of the nurse. In some hospitals, housekeeping units are in operation.

They carry out the following duties.
* Bed making
* Service of food and beverages
* Cleaning any food trays and possibly washing up
* Arranging flowers
* Delivering and collection of patient's mail
* Taking care of patient's needs e.g. shopping
* Care of clothes and personal belongings
* Cleanliness and hygiene in the wards


They are also known as "team cleaners" because they work in a team. Team cleaners usually consist of a group of
workers who get a higher rate of pay, than that of a Grade 1. This is because their job involves the use of floor maintenance, machinery. They will normally also be involved with heavier cleaning work such as wall
washing, curtain changing, cleaning the public areas including the toilets and high dusting.


While the basic cleaning has to be done and the principles are the same as in other residential establishments, the important word in this heading is "homes". For many of the residents who may be elderly or handicapped
people or children, it is indeed their home, .n many cases the only one they have or are likely to have. In the case of the elderly or infirm, they may have had to give up their own home and may be fortunate enough to have some of their own possessions in their rooms. In these types of establishments it is essential to create a happy, homely atmosphere, but since the residents do require care, the cleaning should be thorough. Often there may be soiling which creates extra work and interrupts the regular flow of work and the people doing it require a certain dedication and temperament. There should be a discipline and routine as in other establishments their co-operation with the residents is important and capabilities with and guidance from the medical professionals in charge. They can be allocated certain duties such as bed making or dusting to give assistance where However the work must be supervised and inspected so that the required standard maintained.


Those establishments will include display areas, exhibits, workshops, archive areas for old documents and/or books and extensive shelving carrying books. Particular problems include:

1. Dust control and control of ultra-violet light necessary to prevent the deterioration of exhibits
2. Cleaning the extensive numbers of shelves, books, and areas of glass.

The organization and supervision of cleaning and maintenance usually forms part of the curator's or librarian's job description. The cleaning of technical areas and exhibits is normally undertaken by curatorial staff and by cleaning staff under their supervision.

PUBLIC TOILETS: are frequently subjected to heavy soiling and vandalism.
Routine cleaning is undertaken by an attendant.

SPORTS AND LEISURE CENTRES: Will include squash courts, gymnasiumswimming pools, restaurants and bars, indoor bowling greens and sport courts. Particular problems will include

1. Extensive usage during day and evening
2. Need to maintain the floors of gymnasium and squash courts
3. High standard of hygiene required in wet areas
4. Maintenance of air and water conditioning plant.

Summary Of The Knowledge And Skills Required By Supervisors In
Accommodation And Cleaning Services

1. An understanding of the contribution of accommodation and cleaning services to the organisation in which they work.
2. Technical knowledge and skills-the nature of soil, cleaning equipment’s, cleaning agents, protective finishes, materials, fixtures and fittings, cleaning and servicing procedures.
3. Supervisory skill's-planning, organizing, controlling, leading.
4. The ability to communicate effectively
5. Legal requirements-health safety welfare, industrial relations and their application
6. The ability to develop more efficient methods of work.



In offices and other buildings open to the public cleaning is a continuous operation of which the occupants and the
public are usually unaware. cleaning and service are varied and relate to the particular organization. But, as a general rule ,most of large office blocks have a resident caretaker or house manager who has overall charge with building for security, fire prevention, heating and ventilation and who will either liaise own with the tenants for their cleaning arrangements supervise contractors or organize his staff. All the main cleaning has to be completed before offices are opened or the public admitted and work may be going on in the evening, overnight or early in the morning with, in most cases, a small back-up staff employed during the day to cope with the toilet areas , dust and debris and for any emergency. The main duties of an office housekeeping manager are:

1. Supervision of the daily cleaning and the organisation and supervision of the periodical cleaning
2. Supervision of contractors for windows, boilers and lifts, floral displays, specialist cleaners.
3. Recruitment and selection of cleaners within the offices establishment.
4. Training organisation and welfare of all cleaning staff.
5. The purchase and stock control of all cleaning supplies and equipment within the budget limits.
6. Maintaining regular inspections of the building fabric, furniture, fittings, plant and equipment and arranging routine repairs. Reporting any major faults to the office administrator.
7. Liaising with tenants and users of the establishment on cleaning and housekeeping requirements.
8. The disposal of confidential waste by shredder and incinerator and the control and disposition of rubbish.
9. Any security measures as determined by the tenants and the office administrator.
10. Any other duties which can be considered part of the housekeeping services.

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