Please note: It is not the intention of the author to belittle you, rather, it is to slightly educate you as to what will happen if you do.
Why a superyacht stewardess should NOT flush tampons down the toilet
The menstruation cycle of a woman is a standard monthly occurrence. However, it is not a topic that is readily discussed amongst men, especially not seafaring men.
(Let’s be honest here, it’s not the most delicate subject to talk about, and it does make many people very uncomfortable)
Nonetheless, in the Superyacht industry, it is the engineers (typically men) who have to sort out the problem when women dispose of their feminine hygiene products correctly.
This article will discuss Why a superyacht stewardess should not flush tampons down the toilet.
The “NO tampons in the toilet” instruction came from the engineering department; where the personality characteristics of an engineer varied as much as the oceans themselves.
Some would bark the command… “don’t put tampons down the toilet”, others would approach the subject a little more delicately. However, the message was always the same.
Needless to say, that, throughout my long career as a Superyacht chief stewardess, I always had a mandatory chat with the new stewardesses about not putting tampons down the toilet.
My go-to reason was so that it wouldn’t block the toilet system.
Fair enough, I thought, (I mean, I had not given the subject much more thought than that). It was not until recently when I decided to write about this subject that I wanted to know a lot more. So off I went to ask an engineer, and this is what I found out:
A marine toilet is NOT like a standard household toilet.
It is a vacuum toilet constructed by the intricate use of smaller pipes with Y pieces, which twist and turn to the yachts specification.
The pipes which are used can be 6 times smaller than those used in a private house.
At the end of this pipework sits a macerator which cuts the human excrement and toilet paper into smaller pieces which then passes through to a holding tank.
Now, should material other than bodily fluids and purpose made tissue (i.e. toilet paper) be flushed down the toilet and get stuck in the pump, then ultimately this can interfere with the guest’s toilets.
This will depend a lot on the construction of the pipework, but basically, if you flush a tampon down the toilet, which the system can then Not the process, the whole system will need to be shut down until the problem can be resolved.
This will make for a very unhappy boss and guest. Not only that, but your fellow crew member has to then sort out a very unpleasant problem. They will first have to find the blockage, which means opening up the pipework and removing the culprit responsible for the blockage.
Now as you can imagine, the culprit will be used a tampon or too much toilet paper, or other materials such as dirty tissues or other material. As I mentioned above, each engineer is different, and I have had the pleasure of working with some brilliant personalities and with some undesirables.
One engineer comes to mind; he would bark commands at everyone. Concerning this topic, he said,
“If any of your girls block the system then I will give them the bucket to clean it out”.
To summarise why a superyacht stewardess should not flush tampons down the Toilet:
A marine toilet is NOT a standard household toilet
It is constructed with smaller pipes and a lot more bends
The vacuum system is delicate
If the pump gets compromised, it does not only affect the crew area; it can also affect the guest accommodation
Now, please let me make this quite clear that the idea of cleaning up vomit is literally putting a bad taste in my mouth, and I must admit that I am feeling slightly squeamish as I write this…
However, it is one of those things that as a Superyacht stewardess you will just not be able to get around. The fact is both, guests and crew may succumb to seasickness at some point in the journey, so every Superyacht stewardess will need to know how to clean up vomit.
We protect our clothes as well as our carpets with the hope that they attract no stains. However, try as we might, accidents can happen and in a flash, we spill juice or coffee on our clothes and rugs.
There are other stains that are more difficult to remove and they include blood, grease, pet urine, and vomit, which can really stink and mess up our carpets.
How to clean vomit from carpet
Vomit falls into the category of bodily fluids, which is a protein stain. Like all protein stains the most important thing to remember is to NEVER use hot water when cleaning the stain.
As soon as you know there is a vomit mess to clean up, time really is of the essence. Especially if you want to avoid having to deal with that horrible rancid smell, or that bright orange stain on the carpet that just will not budge.
What you will need:
Gloves (for the love of god… Do not clean up vomit without gloves on)
A bucket or bowl for scraping up the chucks
A spoon or a spatula
Paper towel or a white terry cloth
Bicarbonate soda or cornstarch
A vacuum cleaner
Vinegar cleaning solution
Place the bowl at an angle and gently scrape the chunks and as much fluid into the bowl as you can. Be sure to do this in a gentle manner so that you avoid damaging the carpet fibres.
Make sure you pick up all the pieces first. Do not use a towel as it may spread the vomit around.
Dab the area gently with the paper towel or terry cloth to remove as much fluid as possible
Sprinkle the bicarbonate soda over the area and leave for 15 minutes
Vacuum up the bicarbonate soda and re-evaluate the stain
Should a stain remain, on a new white terry cloth, blot the area with a vinegar solution (see notes below).
Rinse the area with clean water.
Dry the carpet immediately with clean paper towel or a clean terry cloth.
Should the stain still remain, call a professional.
If you mess with the stain too much, you may be damaging the carpet fibres and a professional will they have a tougher time of not only trying to clean the original stain, but then also they will have to reverse your cleaning efforts.
A lacquered wood surface is a surface that has been painted with a resin type substance which leaves the furniture with a hard, highly polished and lustrous surface.
Before you begin: Make sure you have adjusted the temperature of the room. A well-balanced room is ideal for natural wood surfaces. Therefore it is recommended that the optimal room temperature should be between 18-22 degrees Celsius, with a humidity level of 40-+60%. (5).
What you will need:
A soft cloth
A drop cloth
Start at the top of the wooden surface with a duster to remove the dust particles and dirt.
Then with a damp cloth, remove any fingerprints.
Dry immediately with a soft lint-free cloth.
Additional tips and advice:
Be mindful when watering the flowers and plants as not to leave a wet ring around the base of the vase.
Unless you are working outside and have sea salt on the wooden furniture, there is no need to use vinegar, as this is acidic and will change the surface of the furniture.
Only use natural wax products in accordance with the instructions.
Detailing, or detail clean, is to clean the fine points, specifics, technicalities and subject. It means basically to clean thoroughly.
This is not done every day, however, it is done, weekly, monthly and seasonally, depending on the workload of the yacht, the specific travel plans and the maintenance schedule.
How to Detail-Clean a Cabin | Details in a superyacht cabin to consider:
Walls and Ceiling:
Always work from the top down, so first pay close attention to the deck heads. These can be made out of any material, however, Alcantara and Novasuede are popular choices onboard modern yachts.
Brush the material with a soft nylon lint brush or a magic brush, this will remove any dust particles and will keep the material looking new.
If it is HPL or lacquered wood, then all that is needed is wiped over with a soft damp cloth.
Moving down the walls, again detail clean in accordance with the material used. Pay attention to tiny cracks between the bed head and the outer wall (this point includes similar places), as dust may accumulate there.
All of the doors should be wiped down, paying attention to the top of the doors for dust.
Polish the door hinges and door handle.
In the public areas, you will need to polish metal on the aft sliding doors.
On these large doors, makes sure that there are no streak marks or watermarks from outside. The deck crew are quite good at this, however, it may need a stewardess’s eye to make sure it is spot-free.
Check that the lights are working and replace any light bulbs accordingly. (The Chief Stewardess will do another walk around checking these details before the guests arrive).
The light fittings should be finger-mark free, a simple wipe over with vinegar and water or a generic window cleaner should suffice.
Make sure all of the lampshades have been vac dusted using the furniture brush of the vacuum cleaner or a magic brush.
Open the TV cabinet or get behind the unit to dust and clean the television screen.
Use alcohol on the telephone and remote controls using a cotton tip to get between the buttons.
Turn on all units to make sure that they are working properly.
On a touch screen pad gently use a microfibre cloth (do not press too hard).
If it is really dirty, then dampen the microfibre cloth with a little distilled water, (do not wet the screen).
Check all of the batteries.
Turn on the air conditioning unit and change the temperature to make sure that it is functioning properly.
Glass and metal:
Clean the portholes with vinegar and water or glass cleaner.
Polish the chrome/brass around the porthole.
Polish all metal fittings with corresponding polish.
This is probably not the most glamorous subject to talk about, but its a subject that has caused me a lot of grief over the years.
The laundry is an essential DAILY activity on board and like at home those sneaky clothing items (like socks), seem to effortlessly find their way into the “ABYSS” that every laundry seems to have and laundry accidents DO happen.
Some problems that you may have in the laundry are:missing socks, colour stained clothes. ie, pink, grey, brown, green, yellow, etc.; shrinkage, clothes go missing… or not making it back to the right cabin……..
Sort into colours, and items… suchas sort the towels from the delicate’s, sort clothing into 3 categories…lights, darks and colours, dry cleaning ONLY items should NEVER go into the wash.
Items that should always be washed separately are: Engineers overalls, galley towels, and cleaning rags.
Treat stains, with proper strain treatment product.
Check the label.
Load the machine with right items. DO NOT OVER LOAD THE MACHINE.
Do use a gentle or trusted laundry detergent. DO NOT use too much detergent.
Do use a low heat, Unless it’s for the galley towels, even then there is no need to go above 60 (Celsius).
Do not use fabric softer on any towels or cleaning rags.
Dry on a low to medium temperature. There is no need to cook your clothes…Towels may be dried on a hotter temperature. DO NOT put wool or delicate items in the dryer
DO maintain all your laundry equipment on a regular basis.
More detailed laundry instructions will follow in a later post.