Feeling Comfortable When Traveling - Who Does the Cleaning?

When planning a big trip, a number of personal factors play a role in the search for the right destination and the preferred modes of transportation. But, you rarely consider how many people are working in the background to keep the processes running smoothly. Cleanliness is an important aspect in this respect, as it creates the necessary comfort factor. The following takes us on a trip using different modes of transportation, from a bicycle to a cruise ship – and lets us take a look behind the scenes at the specific cleaning activities.


And off we go: Cycling to the train station.

Let’s assume that we have a relaxing start to our trip. The luggage has already been sent to the port from where the cruise ship will cast off. We decide to take a rental bike to reach the train station. This trend is currently sweeping the world. Numerous providers now exist on the market. One of these is nextbike, whose bikes are available in over 150 cities around the globe. The company sets high standards for the maintenance and cleaning of its bicycles.

How does it work?

In large cities, permanent service teams work around the clock in shifts of three people, inspecting, maintaining and redistributing bikes. A service app shows employees the stations they need to attend to first. They are equipped with cleaning cloths and spray as well as chain guards and tools to return the bikes to service. nextbike also works with station-based systems, where the bikes are fastened to a base plate with bike racks to carry out extensive cleaning and maintenance work. High-pressure cleaners are used to clear the stations of weeds, moss and oil.

A general overhaul of all bikes takes place once a year at the end of the season. In regions with a mild climate, the bikes generally remain outside and available in the winter, but are stored in harsh weather.



The train arrives: Japanese cleaning

When arriving at the train station, you observe the usual hustle and bustle. Shortly before the arrival of the express train, more and more passengers gather on the platform and are also joined by a band of cleaners. Their task: to clean the train at lightning speed while passengers exit and board so that everything is in order for departure.

How does it work?

When cleaning in synchronized rail traffic, one thing takes priority – perfectly organized work and speed. Sight cleaning during operation is carried out as so-called “Japanese cleaning”. This means that an employee waits at every door of the incoming train, boards when it stops and cleans the section to the next door before exiting once again.

The carpets are cleaned with cordless sweepers and the rubbish is collected. More extensive cleaning can be performed at night, when the trains are parked. Marks on the upholstery are removed with Spray-Ex devices; if extensive soiling exists, the seats have to be removed and cleaned with dry ice – this means that they do not become wet and are quickly ready for reuse. The sanitary facilities are cleaned with a mop and wet/dry vacuum cleaner.

Travel notes: The most beautiful train routes

The Trans-Siberian Railway has been a legend since 1891. Covering more than 5,800 miles between Moscow and Vladivostok, it is the longest continuous rail link in the world. It would take you a full seven days to cover the entire distance without a break.

The Eastern & Oriental Express, with its 17 carriages, is a relic of bygone times and immerses its guests in the Colonial era. Anyone boarding an air-conditioned train in Singapore receives tea poured by a butler. The trip on the route to Bangkok takes three days, with several stops.

The Glacier Express starts in St. Moritz in Switzerland. The Alps in Valais, Uri and Grisons pass by the windows of travellers, who can also enjoy a feast at a height of 1.25 miles above sea level.

The Chihuahua-Pacific Express, also called El Chepe, makes its way through Mexico, past the Copper Canyon. Rocky slopes, winding roads and rivers dominate the landscape, while an unforgettable panorama is revealed at just under 1.25 miles above sea level.

Clean over the clouds: The approach

After the trip to the airport by rail, we continue on to the gate. According to the on-board information, the Airbus 320 has a total of 180 seats. Cleaning in these confined spaces before every flight is a particular challenge – at the same time, the comfort factor is hugely important when flying.

Japanische Reinigung 3

How does it work?

It's a bit like a sports event for the cleaning teams at airports once a plane has been released for cleaning. The same is true at Losch Airport Service Stuttgart GmbH. For the Airbus 320, six employees board at the rear entrance. Four of them prepare the garbage in the passenger cabin for collection and place the belts on the seats. In the meantime, one employee cleans the kitchen and one cleans the rear toilets. Once the work is complete, a colleague performs the vacuuming with a cordless vacuum cleaner, two wipe the tables, one collects the garbage and one cleans the front toilets. All of this needs to be finished in 15 minutes – in a worst-case scenario this takes place in parallel with the work of the catering team or the crew. Additional tasks, such as topping up the replacement materials in the toilets or the airline magazines in the seat pockets also need to be completed in this time.

Things are a bit more relaxed at night, when the aircraft are parked. Although, this is when the side walls, windows and luggage compartments need to be cleaned. The aircraft need to be prepared for external cleaning – numerous connections need to be taped over or sealed to prevent the penetration of water. Then, the steps are similar to a car wash, with foam to get rid of soiling, either in the washing bay or at separate washing stations.

Travel notes: Crazy flight facts

It is recommended that the captain and co-pilot receive different meal times on board in order to combat food poisoning.

The sensitivity of taste buds can reduce by about 30 percent due to the effects of air on board.

The human body loses an average of 50 oz. of water during a three-hour flight. So: don’t forget to drink!

Despite a smoking ban, all on-board toilets have ash trays. This is a requirement of the European Aviation Safety Agency. If anyone were to smoke in the on-board toilets despite the ban, it must be possible for them to put out their cigarette and dispose of it in the ash tray.

The largest airport in the world is located in the USA, in Atlanta, Georgia. Over 100 million passengers departed from or landed at the international hub in 2017. Second place on the Top 10 list goes to Beijing, followed by Dubai.

We have finally reached the destination: The sparkling cruise ship.

The booked cruise ship, which will be transporting around 3,000 passengers, is already waiting at the port. These floating hotels require countless cleaning tasks to be carried out – and the hull also needs to be maintained.


How does it work?

Manual spray systems can be used to remove traces of weathering and other soiling from the sides of the ship, but this is a time-intensive and expensive activity. WOMA, the specialist for high- and ultra-high-pressure applications, has therefore developed the Magnet Lizard. It operates at a maximum of 12 gal. per minute at 43,500 PSI. In comparison: a pressure of 14,500 PSI exists at a depth of 6.2 miles below sea level. Special pre-cleaning bars can also help to remove algae or incrustation. The key feature: despite the high recoil forces, no vacuum system is required to hold the Magnet Lizard in position – this is achieved by eight high-performance magnets. This enables the effortless and quick cleaning of the hull. The Magnet Lizard completes the work of up to four manual spray systems, meaning that there is no need to set up a scaffold.

Our fictional trip has shown: ensuring cleanliness while the means of transportation are in operation is important and also very challenging work. Only the perfect coordination of cleaning methods, devices and processes together with competent employees allows everything to run smoothly and guarantees the comfort factor when travelling.


P.S.: What about when the ship docks? Car sharing during a trip.

The trip naturally does not end at the port. To explore the city, we log into a car sharing service and search for the nearest car. It’s good to know that, at car2go someone makes sure that the vehicles are in good condition.

How does it work?

More than 3 million customers worldwide, 25 locations in 8 countries, 14,000 vehicles: car2go maintains uniform standards around the globe. The cleaning is performed by mobile service teams, who often deal with minor cleaning and service activities on-site. Available washing facilities are used if necessary – car2go does not have its own car washes. But, at some locations cleaning is carried out at specifically established hubs.

The entire cleaning and maintenance process is controlled by certain indicators, such as the number of vehicle rentals as well as the legal requirements. Service providers are automatically assigned to deal with the vehicles on this basis. If customers report and document a heavily soiled car via the service app, this immediately triggers a clean. On the whole, the condition of the vehicles once again plays a key role in order to offer customers an all-round satisfactory driving experience.