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NIOS Silver Jubilee Year

Cleaning Tools

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Tourism and Hospitality Management

Mindmap.pngConcept Map

Conceptmap cleaning tools.jpeg


This OER enables you to:

  • Identify the range of cleaning equipment used by housekeeping.
  • Select and set up the appropriate cleaning equipment for a particular surface
  • Use manual cleaning equipments correctly to improve productivity and efficiency
  • Maintain and store equipments in proper manner


What comes to your mind when we say cleaning equipment? Find out the equipment is suitable for cleaning in case of the following :

  • Wide corridor of a hotel with dirty floor.

A dirty floor in the corridor.JPG

  • Dirty lower wall of a washroom.

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  • Dirty pillow covers and bed sheets.
  • Weathered wall of a room.

Cleaning equipment

To welcome the guest with a clean, comfortable surrounding and to give an aesthetic appeal to any areas of hotel the housekeeping department widely depends upon high quality,eco friendly cleaning tools. Cleaning tools comprises of cleaning aids and various chemicals. Cleaning equipments can be broadly classified as Manual and Mechanical Equipment. This OER deals with some of the manual cleaning equipment. A variety of manual cleaning equipment is used in the accommodation venue and each is designed to perform certain tasks. Given here is a list and description of commonly used.

Brooms/ Brushes

These are used to remove superficial or ingrained layers of soiling depending on the type. It would be impossible to identify every different type of broom and brush but all of them of made of three different parts:

  • Bristles
  • The Stock
  • Handle

Types of Brushes

a. Hard floor brush - is used on concrete. The dust and hairs should be removed after use and the brush washed and dried. They should be stored hanging upside down.
Floor brush.JPG
b. Soft floor brush - is used on vinyl surfaces/ tiles. The dust and hairs should be removed after use and the brush washed and dried. They should be stored hanging upside down.
Carpet Brush.JPG
c. Scrubbing brush - can be used on hard floors. The dust and hairs should be removed after use and the brush washed and dried. They should be stored hanging upside down.
d. Broom - is used on hard floors. Hair and dirt has to be removed before storing. They should be stored hanging upside down.
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e. Toilet / WC brush - is used for toilets/ WC only. They have to be washed, rinsed and disinfected. They should be stored hanging upside down.
f. Bottle brush - is used for cleaning bottles, flasks and also overflow vents in washbasins and tubs. They have to be washed, rinsed and disinfected. They should be stored hanging upside down.
g. Hand brush - is used for the corners. Removing dirt and washing them is essential before drying. They have to be left on the side to dry while being stored.
Corner Brush.JPG


The mops are used for removing dust from vinyl or hard floors or for removal of water. They have to be rinsed and hung upside down to dry. If possible the head has to be removed from the pole to facilitate drying. Mops comprise of the following parts:-

  • Handle
  • Frame
  • Mop Head


Types of Mops

  • a. Dry mops: These are flat mops used on hard floors. They are also called dust mops. These have long bristle lengths.
  • b. Impregnated mops: Dry mop can be impregnated with oil or polish. An impregnated mop must be used correctly if it is to be effective – long, even strokes or a continual movement leaving the mop in contact with the surface all the time, ensuring the minimum of dust distribution and the maximum of dust collection. The mop head should be easily detachable so that it can frequently be washed, rinsed and dried, preferably in a machine, then re-impregnated. These are also called as ‘V sweepers’ or ‘scissor action sweeper’
  • c. Traditional mops: The more traditional floor polishing mop is used where a machine cannot operate, e.g., a carpet surround. This type of mop must be shaken frequently, but washing may be less frequent as the floor should be cleaned before the mop is used to give shine.
  • d. Disposable Dry Mops: These are very expensive but very hygienic. They consist of a handle with a soft pad at the end. This pad is made up of cotton or a synthetic material – micro fibre, which has properties enabling it to attract and hold dust. The fabric is held in place by clips, poppers or special tape. It has to be disposed off immediately after use, if this does not happen; the advantages of such a system are lost.
  • e. Damp mops: These are used for the removal of light soiling from floors or for the application of polish. The heads are made of cotton, sponge or any fiber capable of absorbing moisture. It should be possible to detach the heads easily for regular and thorough washing, preferably in a machine followed by drying. The drying is the most important part of mop care as bacteria require moisture in which to multiply. Disinfectant is only effective for a short period of time. Damp mops should be renewed as soon as there are signs of wear, and should be stored in spring clips in such a way that air is allowed to get through the mop head.
  • f. Polish applicator mops: are oblong in shape to make the application of the polish more efficient. The heads should slide out of the metal or plastic casing when replacement is necessary.
  • g. Wet mops: These are also called Kentucky mops or round mops. Flat mops have shorter length of bristles. The round mops are of two types:
1. Loop ended: These are ideal for regular cleaning. They are designed for multiple use situations. They come in small, medium and large sizes. They have good absorption and laundering abilities. These have a high rate of linting.

Loop ended wet mop.JPG

2. Cut ended: These are the standard and most popular type of mop heads. This mop heads a comparatively cheaper to purchase but have a lower life as they tend to unravel and fray. They cannot be laundered. They are often considered disposable and discarded before their useful life has ended.
It is used to remove excess water from a surface being cleaned. A small version called the window squeegee is used for wiping away water from windows after washing. Wash and rinse heads after use, squeeze out excess water, and dry well. Store the squeegee head by hanging.

Window squeege.JPG

Wringer Trolley:

Wringer Trolley.JPG
Wringer trolleys are used for washing and wringing mops. These may be metal or plastic. Those used with mops may have one or two sections and usually have a wringer device, which should be detachable for easy cleaning. The larger wringer trolleys have castors, which must be kept clean and free from dust and dirt. Wringer trolleys can be colour coded for ease in identification for use in certain areas or for special tasks e.g., toilets or in operating theatres. All wringer trolleys should have labels indicating where they belong to prevent them becoming a source of contamination. They should be thoroughly washed and rinsed inside and out every time after use.


If housekeeping staff are provided with appropriate containers in which they can carry, collect and store other supplies and other items, their scope of work becomes easier and efficient.


Nowadays plastic buckets are more popular as they are light in weight, quieter in use and easy to clean. Twin buckets on a low trolley enable the brush to be rinsed more effectively. Larger buckets should have castor wheels which must be kept free of hair, fluff and dust. Buckets should be washed thoroughly inside and out, every time they are used and allowed to dry and then stored

Bucket.JPG Bucket with mop wringer.JPG


These are used in conjunction with a brush or broom for removing superficial dust and dirt. These could be metal or plastic. They should always be emptied after use and washed before storage. They should be labeled clearly as to where they are to be used. Dustpans are stored either suspended from a hook or on the wide edge to avoid damaging the flat edge.
Dust pan.JPG

Hand Caddies

Also called as ‘cleaner boxes’. They consist of a box with a handle and a fitted tray. They are used for carrying cleaning supplies for guest room cleaning by guest room attendants. They must be topped up with replacement for use in next shift.
Hand Caddy.JPG


Cloths are mainly used in housekeeping for wet and dry cleaning. Cloths are very basic to any cleaning activity. Various cloths are available for specific purposes.

a. Dusters and Dust mittens:

Duster (Fleenel cloth).JPG

These cloths are used for dusting and buffing the surfaces. Dusters can be used for damp dusting where they may be sprayed with water. Cloths should be washed daily and dried to avoid spreading dirt again to a clean surface.
b. Swabs and wipes:
Mainly used for wet and damp dusting of all surfaces above floor level. These are also used for cleaning sanitary fittings such as bath tubs and wash basins. They are soft absorbent material hence washed in hot detergent water, rinse and dried thoroughly after use. Those used for sanitary fittings should be disinfected.
c. Sponges
Sponges are used for washing walls, glass, wood work and upholstery. Available in various sizes and shapes. Due care to be taken after use. Rinse with water and dry it.


d. Glass cloths:
They do not leave behind lint as these are made up of linen two yarns. Therefore can be used for wiping mirrors and drinking glasses. Wash and rinse and dry.
e. Scrim
Because of its high absorbency and lint free nature. used for cleaning mirrors and windows instead of chamois leather. Wash , rinse and dry after use.
f. Chamois leather:
It is made from the skin of the chamois goat antelope. These can be used wet for cleaning windows and mirrors and when dry can be used as a polishing silver and other metals. Remove excess dirt with newspaper. Wash only when necessary in plain cold water, rinse and either store damp or dry flat. (In India as per PETA act chamois leather is not in much use.)
g. Rags and polishing cloths
These are used for applying polish or strong cleaning agents and are disposed off when dirty.

The housekeeping staff should also take due care after the wear and tear of the manual equipments. If possible they can be reused or recycled. For example, buckets can be reused as dust bins at the back area. Such equipments should be stored away where it is not visible to any of the guest, but at the same time these should be disposed of at the earliest. The same space can be utilized for the better purpose. Also one of the housekeeping staff of the department should be made responsible to dispose off the equipments as per the Government norms.


Design an ecofriendly, user friendly, ergonomically suitable manual device that can be used for wiping of dust without using water. Visit market and survey the types of cleaning equipments available in your city. Compare brands with rate list, collect brochures and pamphlets and make a report.


In this lesson we have discussed about the manual cleaning equipments, their types, use of right equipment for each task or surface. Easy to use, care and storage of various equipments have been dealt with since correct use and maintenance increases the life expectancy of any individual piece of equipment.

Inkpot.png Assignments

  • What can be used for wiping floors clean if they have become oily?
  • What equipment will you use to avoid foyer floor getting dirtied because of rain?
  • A hotel is celebrating special “Konkan Mahotsav” in a traditional way. People are helped to experience cutting of jackfruit and enjoying it. The latex of the fruit makes floors sticky because of fruit latex. What equipment will use to clean such floor?
  • Make a list of equipments Richard should take with him when he cleans each of the public areas. The bar floor is carpeted and the actual bar is marble with a mirror backing wall. The foyer has a tiled floor.

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