Since the summer of 1902, this beautiful resort, nestled in a valley surrounded by the White Mountains, has entertained presidents, royalty, celebrities and guests from all over the world. Traditionally it had been a summer resort but in 1999 the Mount Washington Hotel opened its doors to winter guests for the first time. Now this national historic landmark welcomes an average of 10,000 guests every month. Railroad magnate, Joseph Stickney, who resolved to build “a hotel in which nothing will be lacking that experience can suggest or the liberal use of money provide,” conceived the hotel. Perhaps it is most famous for the 1944 Bretton Woods Monetary Conference that established the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, set the gold standard at $35 an ounce and chose the US dollar as the backbone of international exchange.

Today Suzanne Russell, Executive Housekeeper, has established her own gold standard–clean and dry carpet that looks its best every day. She uses the HOST Dry Extraction Cleaning System to keep the 180,000 square feet of carpeting that covers 90% of the floors in the hotel clean, dry and spotless. The 10-year-old red patterned, wool, Axminster carpet stretches through the towering columns of the stately lobby transporting guests back to a time of romance and luxury. It’s no wonder the hotel earns national media recognition for its location and amenities. The 200 plus guest rooms are carpeted in a nylon carpet and are kept clean and spotless by a dedicated and diverse housekeeping crew.

Cleaning Schedule is Based on Occupancy

The hotel has two HOST Liberators®, which are used every day by two lead cleaners. They are available to other staff members as needed. The HOST Liberator has unique counter-rotating brushes to pile lift and dislodge dry dirt during the vacuuming of the carpet. As much as 85% of the dirt in a carpet is dry, so this vacuuming step is very important and contributes greatly to the end result. After vacuuming, HOST Dry Carpet Cleaner is applied to the carpet and brushed through with the Liberator. HOST contains a balanced blend of water, detergents, wetting agents and natural ingredients. The absorbent particles deep clean by dissolving, trapping and removing spots, spills and greasy, oily dirt. Then, the HOST is vacuumed up with the Liberator leaving the carpet clean, dry and ready for immediate use.

“We try to do all the rooms in the hotel twice a year, from wall to wall,” says Suzanne. Using the Liberators, the housekeeping staff can clean 20 rooms a day. The hallways on each of the four floors of guest rooms are cleaned from wall to wall three times each year and spot cleaned as needed. That accounts for the regular maintenance schedule but occupancy and events can alter that at any time.

Sometimes rooms are cleaned as often as once a week. “It’s nice to be able to go in when you have a mess to clean and get everything done in 20 minutes and have the room ready for the new guests. It’s great. And you can get quite a few more rooms done because you just slide the chairs and the light things out of the way and work the open areas,” explains Suzanne. This targeted cleaning approach works well because carpet gets dirty where people walk. As the dirt is tracked onto the carpet by people’s shoes, the carpet traps and holds on to it keeping the dirt from spreading. By cleaning these heavily used traffic areas and vacuuming the rest, all of the carpet in the room looks good.

Jose Sanchez, a Lobby Attendant, cleans the lobby carpet and the entryways when he can. He takes it upon himself to do when his schedule isn’t too busy. “The only way to keep up with the carpet is to get right in there and get everything cleaned up again as soon as these groups leave,” Suzanne explains. For example, “You wouldn’t believe what the carpeted ballroom looks like after a wedding. The amount of food, stains and wine spills is incredible. We can make the carpet look stain free and very nice and you don’t smell the food or the alcohol; HOST does a wonderful job,” Suzanne says.

Outside Contractor Charged $2,500 for Wet Extraction and Spots Came Back

While the Mount Washington Resort has used HOST for over four years, they used to hire an outside contractor using wet extraction. Suzanne tells this story, “We hired contractors to come in with a steam machine, it was $2,000 to $2,500 and it didn’t do that good of a job. They would be in the ballroom and I would go in and say, ‘gee the stains are still there.’ Or I remember in a room upstairs, you could hardly see the stain, but by the time he was done the stain was even worse and we had to replace the carpet. Now we don’t have the problem of spots coming back. We are saving a lot of money using HOST instead of hiring out. It was pretty expensive. So I’d say these machines have paid themselves off; it’s great.” And Bonnie Smith, Lobby Supervisor, explains, “HOST is much better than regular steam and wet vacs.” As many hotels have learned, HOST can be used anytime, 24 hours a day, seven days a week because it is moisture controlled. “It’s not very often when the guests are not around. They’re walking through the entryways while we are cleaning. That would not have been possible before.” Suzanne adds, “No lugging in water, no having to make sure nobody steps on it. Have you ever walked on a wet carpet and then on a hardwood floor? That would be a little dangerous.”

“I think it’s something that we have really grown to learn how to use and it’s great. I don’t think there is anything else out there that would top it. You can ask Jose, going back to water, shampooing, then waiting overnight before you can allow anyone in the room was inconvenient.” With HOST, “there is no waiting time,” Suzanne concludes.

Removing spots and spills can be a challenge for any hotel but with HOST, “It’s faster and easier, spotting is simple,” insists Bonnie. “There is no scrubbing and blotting with towels or anything. You just put HOST on it, brush and vacuum it up and the dirt and everything comes up.” And what about those wet spills that happen when you least expect it? “It depends, sometimes you can clean right away, other times you have to wait until they break down the room. The next day Jose will clean and it comes out just as fast as if he had taken it out right away,” continues Bonnie. While the hotel doesn’t officially allow pets, Suzanne says, “Some people sneak them in. You can smell it after they’ve checked out. We have to go in and clean the carpet. Thank goodness for HOST.”

Mold & Mildew is Never a Problem

“Unlike wet cleaning methods that leave the carpet wet and can contribute to mold and mildew problems, HOST leaves the carpet dry and ready to use. There is never a concern about mold or mildew odors,” says Suzanne. In addition, research studies have shown that one cleaning with the HOST System using HOST Machines reduces dust mites by 78%, dust mite allergen by 75%, cat allergen by 85% and mold spores by 85%. More recent tests with the HOST Liberator show improved allergen reduction: dust mite allergen by 89% and mold spores by 97%. “HOST is much better, faster, easier, less work and it smells good. And the guests comment on that. They say ‘this really smells good’,” Bonnie concludes.

“Housekeeping employees of the hotel are often asked to do multiple tasks which can be a challenge when it comes to training, but HOST is easy to use,” says Bonnie. “Many new staff members have never seen the In between cleanings, Jose routinely vacuums high traffic areas with the Liberator to keep the wool Axminster carpet looking great.machine before but when you show them how to use it, they catch on really easy. It’s a quick learn. It helps the scheduling, you can grab somebody else and put him or her on the job and not worry about damaging the carpet. They all seem to know what to do.” Suzanne adds, “when we purchased the first HOST Machine, the rep did a pretty good job of showing us how to use the equipment and we’ve been happy with it since.”

Reliable Equipment

HOST Machines are designed to be used every day for vacuuming, pile lifting, routine cleaning, spot removal and overall cleaning. Built to last, they stand up to this kind of intensive, everyday use. “We’ve had these machines for quite some time now. We have not had any problems. The brushes on our Liberator are the original brushes so they are 4 years old,” Suzanne says enthusiastically.

What would these professionals tell their peers in the hospitality field? Suzanne, Executive Housekeeper, “That it’s a great product and does a great job. I would highly recommend it and there is nothing out there that compares to it. I’m very happy with it.” Jose, Lobby Attendant, “The first time I used it I liked it, I had never used it before and it is easy to use. And it is fast; I just cleaned the conservatory (about 1500 square feet) in less than half an hour. And it looks great.” Bonnie, Lobby Supervisor, “I would say, thank goodness for HOST. It’s very good and easy and I’ve never seen anything that could beat it.”