Daily Room Cleaning and Disinfection can Prevent COVID-19 Spread

April 2021

Daily Room Cleaning and Disinfection can Prevent COVID-19 Spread

Hotel guest rooms are not sealed quarantine sites. Guests leave their rooms, leave the hotel, and come back – sometimes multiple times in a single day. Guests spend an average of just two waking hours per day in their rooms and two more elsewhere in the hotel.[1] They may invite other hotel guests, conference attendees, or people from the community in and out of their rooms, along with material from outside the hotel. All of these create opportunities for spreading COVID-19. 

SARS-CoV-2 remains viable for days in hotel rooms. Coronavirus remains viable on plastic, steel, wood and glass for 2-7 days (depending on the material) according to studies in the New England Journal of Medicine and The Lancet.[2] All are commonly found in hotel rooms. Guests and visitors coming in and out of rooms touch glasses, light switches, faucets, doorknobs, desks, chairs, night tables, headboards and bathroom fixtures. As with all high-touch surfaces in public spaces, cleaning and disinfection reduces transmission risk.

Daily trash removal further reduces infection risk. Guests throw away objects made of substances on which SARS-CoV-2 remains viable for 2-7 days (depending on the material), including plastic cups, bottles and packaging, glass containers, wooden coffee stirrers and chopsticks, and stainless steel disposable razor blades.[3] Removal of these objects reduces infection risk.

Routine, daily cleaning and disinfection contributes to thorough sanitization and disinfection after a guest checks out. The labor and chemicals required to deep-clean a room that has not been serviced on a daily basis are significantly greater. 92% of housekeepers who UNITE HERE surveyed in 2018 at the Westin Copley Hotel in Boston reported that rooms not cleaned daily are more difficult to clean at checkout.[4] With COVID-19 requiring intensive deep cleaning after guests leave, daily cleaning will make disinfection and sanitization between guest stays easier.

Authorities in other countries recommend or require daily guest room cleaning, including:

Hong Kong: Pre-COVID Guidelines on Infection Control and Prevention in Hotel Industry” recommended that “all surfaces be cleaned daily,” and daily cleaning of guest toilets. The guidelines were developed with “invaluable comments and inputs” from the Hong Kong Hotels Association,[6] whose Executive Committee includes executives from Hilton, Hyatt, IHG and Marriott-branded hotels.[7]

China: China requires hotels authorized to host international guests to change linens and clean guestrooms and bathrooms daily.[8]Recent guidance developed for the China Hotel Association includes recommendations for daily disinfection of guest bathrooms.[9]

France: A 2010 guide from France’s Ministry of Interior requires hotel operators to “ensure daily bed and room cleaning service.”[10] On May 7, 2020, the Ministry of Labor recommended “increasing the time allocated for cleaning a room” in hotels’ re-opening housekeeping plans.[11]


[1] Ogle, Alfred, “Making Sense of the Hotel Guestroom,”  Journal of Retail Leisure and Property, 8, 159-172(2009) https://link.springer.com/article/10.1057/rlp.2009.7

[4] UNITE HERE! “Marriott’s Dirty Choice: How ‘Your Choice’ Harms Housekeepers” https://onejob.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/MakeABetterChoiceReportFinal.pdf surveyed 60 of the approximately 90 housekeepers at the Westin Copley in 2018. 55 responded that not cleaning rooms daily made cleaning after check out more difficult.

[6] Centre for Health Protection, Guidelines on Infection Control and Prevention in Hotel Industry, p. 6. https://www.chp.gov.hk/files/pdf/105_guideline_on_infection_controland_prevention_in_hotel_industry.pdf

[7] https://www.hkha.org/web/about-us/executive-committee/. Accessed 6/5/2020 1:34 am EDT. Hilton: Conrad Hong Kong; Hyatt: Hyatt Regency Hong Kong Sha Tin; IHG: Holiday Inn Golden Mile Hong Kong; Marriott: Hong Kong Sky City Marriott Hotel; Sheraton Hong Kong Hotel & Towers.