Room stewards on cruises work hard to keep your cabin tidy and clean, but they don't have the time to completely disinfect and deep clean every cabin every day.
While this may have only been an issue for self-proclaimed germaphobes in the past, virus outbreaks and the coronavirus pandemic have certainly heightened priorities around cruise cabin sanitization. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic specifically, cruise ships have adjusted cleaning and hygiene procedures ship wide to make cruising as squeaky clean and safe as possible.
However, for any passengers who may still be concerned about taking a cruise during COVID-19, catching a virus or the possibility of lingering cruise ship cabin germs in general may find they'll enjoy their cruise a bit more by exercising a few extra steps to ensure their cabins tick off all the boxes when it comes to their own personal cabin cleanliness standards.
Follow these 8 helpful how-tos that will walk you through how to clean a room onboard a cruise ship, so you can sit back, relax and enjoy your time at sea without skipping a beat.
Step 1: Pack the right supplies.
If you're serious about deep cleaning your cabin, you'll need to come prepared with the right materials. Be sure to bring cleaning supplies on board with you, such as Clorox Disinfecting Wipes. Contrary to popular belief, Lysol Disinfecting Spray does not disinfect the air it is sprayed into, but instead works by disinfecting the surfaces it is sprayed onto.
While most disinfecting wipes and sprays are extremely effective at killing up to 99% of all viruses, bacteria and germs, they don't always kill every virus out there, so read labels and pick a product that targets the germs you want gone.
If you're bringing along any hospital-grade disinfectants containing bleach, you may also want to pack some protective gloves and mask to wear while you're using the product. Also keep in mind that some products may require you to air out your room, so be mindful of the directions depending on your cabin type.
Step 2: Wash your hands.
First things first, when you get into your cabin -- and before you start give your cruise cabin that extra scrub down -- you'll want to wash your hands. You've been walking around onboard, possibly touching elevator buttons and railings and other public surfaces. By now we all know the drill: thoroughly wash your hands with soap under warm water for at least 20 seconds. For even more protection, put on a pair of gloves after you've washed your hands.
Step 3: Wipe down all frequently-touched surfaces.
Next up is to wipe down all frequently-touched surfaces such as light switches, the AC controls, TV remote, closet doors, any balcony doors and the in-room phone. These high-touch areas are used by everyone in your cabin, as well as housekeeping and anyone else visiting your room. Don't forget areas in the bathroom, too: faucet handles, shower door, toilet flush knob and lid, makeup mirror, etc.
Give them all a good wipe down with the disinfecting wipes on day one. Depending on how sterile you want your stateroom, you can repeat this during the duration of your cruise.
Step 4: Clean hard surfaces in the cabin.
Wipe down hard surfaces, such as the night table, coffee table, desk and shelves. You don't need to do them all, but prioritize surfaces where you will set down things that will go near your face or in your mouth. (Think shelves that house glassware, or nightstands where you put your glasses or cell phone.)
Step 5: Wipe down balcony furniture.
Don't forget to clean your personal outdoor space by spraying or wiping down balcony furniture. Put extra effort into places where you'll rest your arms and head and the table where you might be dining.
Step 6: Clean glassware.
If you're planning to use the provided glassware for a glass of wine in your room or to rinse out your mouth after brushing your teeth, you'll want to disinfect them before using. We suggest using one of those handy disinfecting wipes to wipe down the glasses, letting it dry and then rinsing thoroughly in the sink.
Why not use soap? Unless you're bringing your own antibacterial dish soap from home, the soap provided in your bathroom may not be strong enough to kill some viruses or bacteria.
Step 7: Remove decorative bedspreads.
Bed linens are always changed between sailings -- but that's not always the case for decorative blankets, bedspreads and pillows. As purely decorative items, just like in a hotel, these aren't laundered quite as much as we'd probably hope. It's best to just remove them from the equation and hide them in a closet or drawer or under the bed -- or ask your cruise cabin steward to take them off your hands.
Step 8: Wash your hands again.
Congratulations! You're now an expert on how to clean your room step-by-step while on a cruise. Your home away from home is now sanitized, and you can set sail in your cabin worry-free -- but there's just one step left before you're home free. Since you might have been handling chemicals, we suggest washing your hands one more time once you're finished. And, then, that's a wrap!
For information on products to help make your cruise more germ-resistant, check out our list of the best cruise gear for germ-conscious cruiers.