Cleaner washes teacups with toilet brush, gets caught on camera
Housekeepers in three luxury hotels in a northeastern city in China were caught on video practicing unsanitary cleaning methods like cleaning teacups with toilet brushes. It is not sure whether it is a widespread practice among the many hotels in the country.
Have you ever stayed at a luxury hotel in China? Get ready for this: a house cleaner washes tea cups with a toilet brush and was caught on camera.
A report by undercover journalists exposed disgusting, unsanitary practices among house cleaners at some luxury hotels in the area. The housekeepers, who worked i hotels that charged up to US$500 a night were caught washing guests’ teacups with a toilet brush. They were also caught wiping the bathroom floors with bath towels and folding duvets on the floor.
Cleaner washes tea cups with toilet brush
Journalists went undercover as trainee cleaners, and secretly filmed their senior colleagues while they were showing them the ropes of the job.
The resulting report was released by Chinese website Pear Video. The report claimed that the unsanitary practice was found in top luxury hotels in the city of Harbin in Northeast China.
The video began with a senior hotel cleaner at Kempinski Hotel. The cleaner was washing tea cups in a guest room with a toilet brush. A fellow male house cleaner could be heard telling the reporter-in-disguise to ignore how the cups were being cleaned.
The cleaner washing the teacups scrubbed the inside of the toilet with the same toilet brush. She proceeded to replace the toilet brush in its plastic stand. Then she used a bath towel to dry the cups.
Afterwards, the reporter asked a cleaner if all housekeepers do the same thing. The cleaner didn’t explicitly say “yes,” but hinted at it, saying “we just never talk about it.”
The cleaner who spoke then dipped a bath towel into the toilet before using it to wipe the floor.
The nightly rate at Kempinski Hotel Harbin ranges from 1,132 to 3,254 yuan (US$174 to $500).
The report then went to the Shangri-La Hotel Harbin, where a stay costs between 1,300 and 2,500 yuan nightly (US$200 to $384).
The video showed one house cleaner cleaning tea cups, a litter bin, and a toilet, using the same cleaning cloth. She afterwards washed a rubber floor mat from the bathroom in the bathtub.
As can be seen in the video, another cleaner scrubbed the bathtub and the toilet with the same brush. From the audio translation, she said the hotel prohibits their methods, but she’s “too lazy” to follow rules.
“You just need to be careful when you work and not let your boss see it,” the cleaner added.
The cleaner then used the same brush she used on the bathtub and toilet to clean a few tea cups. Afterwards, she used bath towels to wipe the guest room floor.
In the report’s last segment, the reporters went to Sheraton Harbin Xiangfang Hotel. It’s a popular 230-room business hotel that costs 838 to 1,099 yuan (US$128 to $169) a night.
A housekeeper from Sheraton said that it’s unnecessary to change towels that looked unopened. The same cleaner washed tea cups with the same brush she used to clean both sink and toilet. Afterwards, she folded a duvet on the floor.
Chinese netizens were quick to condemn the three luxury hotels’ poor management and their cleaners’ unethical behavior.
All three hotels under investigation have stated they’re currently working with local authorities to look further into these unsanitary claims.
Kempinski Hotels issued a statement sincerely regretting the reported breach of their standards and procedures. They shared that they have taken additional measures to ensure their employees perform “according to the strictest standards of hygiene.”
Shangri-La Hotel Harbin promptly launched an investigation upon seeing the video. They began reviewing work processes, increased training, and tightened supervision. The hotel said in a statement:
“What the video shows is unacceptable and if accurate is a severe violation of our strict hygiene standards.”
Meanwhile, Sheraton Harbin Hotel apologized to the public on its Weibo page for failing to follow their hygienic standards. The company said they gave all of their housecleaners additional training to stress even further the importance of their policies.
The Harbin government confirmed the authenticity of the report on December 27. They gave the three hotels fines and a written warning.
How to degerm your hotel room
Next time you’re in a hotel, try these extra cleaning tips for your peace of mind.
Clean the bathroom
Remember to spray sanitiser on and wipe places like the toilet seat, toilet handle, sink, and the counter. Before a shower, rinse the bathtub with hot water and the hotel’s own liquid soaps (or shampoo). If you have a cut on your foot, bandage it before standing in the shower and wear flip-flops.
Wipe down commonly handled areas
Sanitise frequently touched hotel spots like door knobs, light switches, telephone, alarm clock, TV remote, and mini refrigerator.
Scan for bedbugs
Remove the bedspread and stow it away during your stay. It’s unlikely to have been washed or changed recently. Check under the sheets and mattress for any unseemly things. If you spot anything, request for a new room or just leave the hotel.
Check drinking glasses
These may often be unused and therefore unwashed for days, so wash them with soap and hot water.