Housekeeping Tidbits

By Durk Johnson / May 20, 2018

A housekeeper’s world is full of all sorts of tidbits of knowledge and common issues. Here is some insight we can use to be successful service providers. We need to know what causes and how to fix Blackfoot Syndrome, why cleaning with microfiber rags is the best, and how to properly clean mold and mildew.


Blackfoot Syndrome

Many of us have received the following call from a guest or owner: “the floors in my property are filthy! My family and I have been walking around this home and our socks (or feet) are jet black!” This is a common complaint, but it can be avoided with some basic information.


The key to preventing Blackfoot Syndrome is knowing what causes it.

The issue occurs when:

  1. A non-neutral cleaner is used to clean the floors and/or
  2. Too much cleaner is put on the surface and not all the cleaner is mopped up or removed. The product stays on the surface, grabs the dirt and waits to be picked up. The sock or foot comes by and the cleaner attaches to this item—now you have Blackfoot Syndrome.

To avoid this situation you need to do the following:

  1. Use a neutral cleaner. That is a cleaner with a pH of 7 (not 6.8 or 7.2, it must be a pH of 7).
  2. In the off season, do a thorough cleaning of the hard surfaces to remove all the excess cleaner that is left during the high season. The excess product on the floor can be left by guests, owners, and housekeepers who use the wrong product. All of this needs to be removed so the housekeepers have a clean slate to work with.



Rags are the tools used to move the cleaning agents around and remove the dirt. I recommend using microfiber rags. They are much better at holding dirt than cotton rags, since microfiber rags have all sorts of nooks and crannies to hold and store dirt. Here are a couple things you need to know about microfiber rags:

  1. You want to purchase the microfiber rags that grab the imperfections in your skin.
  2. Do not wash with cotton rags. The lint from the cotton rag will fill the nooks and crannies of the microfiber rag.
  3. Do not wash with fabric softener. The softer fills the nooks and crannies so the product feels smooth.


One other comment about rags. Once a rag touches the toilet, it is done. I know this sounds basic, but there are cleaners that make this mistake. They think: “I’ve cleaned the toilet with a large amount of disinfectant; it’s okay to clean the kitchen counter with the same rag.” NOOOO!!!!! Once a rag has touched the toilet, it is done.


Mold and Mildew

Some parts of the world have a bigger issue with mold and mildew than others, but all of us have bathrooms that are not well ventilated and there is often mold growing in the corners of the shower. To address the mold issue we need to remember that mold and mildew are spores not bacteria. (This is super important to know.) To appropriately remove mold and mildew, one needs a product specifically for mold and mildew. Bleach is not that product. Bleach kills bacteria, not spores. However, if a guest calls and complains about mold in the shower, I am showing up with bleach because it takes away the color and it gives the appearance that I have removed the mold and mildew. I have not, I have only removed the color. Once the guest or owner has departed, I came back with the appropriate product to remove the spores.


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