It’s no secret, hotel rooms are dirty. I don’t mean they “can be” dirty. They are dirty. Period. It doesn’t matter if you shelled out an arm and a leg for the room, there will be germs looking to do you harm everywhere when you walk into the room (actually, it starts before you walk into the room, but I’ll get into that in a minute).
Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t to accuse any hotel chains of not cleaning rooms between guests. Clearly, they all do. But there’s a difference between cleaning and disinfecting.
So if you’re a germaphobe, have sanitizer ready to make yourself feel better.
Comforter and pillows (not just throw pillows either)
Sadly, there’s nothing comfortable about this. The beds in hotel rooms are used as many things during each stay. Have you ever thrown your suitcase up on the bed? You’re not alone. But where has that suitcase been? The bed is also used to, of course, sleep on and, well, exchange bodily fluids with other people. The point is, a lot of germs, bacterias, and viruses can be found on or around the bed.
“Organisms that cause sexually transmitted diseases can be found on bedding, including comforters and pillows that aren’t washed,” Jennifer Stagg, MD, naturopathic physician, told Readers Digest.
Granted, the sheets are changed between guests. And so are the pillow cases. But Stagg also says many times the maids will throw the pillows on the floor while changing the sheets. So to be on the safe side, always ask for clean pillow cases after checking in.
As for the comforters, it’s just a matter of fact that most hotels don’t wash their comforters after each stay. According to CNN Travel, hotels will schedule “periodic deep cleans” for their hotel rooms which will include among other things, washing the comforter. If your hotel room has a duvet, you have slightly less to worry about, but still use caution.
Many people will fold it back, or take it off the bed completely during their stay.
Chair and/or sofa
This spot is certainly in the running for the dirtiest spot in your hotel room.
“Many guests sit on them naked, and yes, some leave stains behind,” Jenna, a hotel maid in New York told Women’s Health. “And much of the time, the stains are basically just dabbed with cleaner until they can’t be seen anymore.” She recommends laying a towel or sheet down before taking a seat.
How much you wanna bet those stains have E. coli?
I probably don’t need to convince you that the bathroom can be a pretty dirty place. Unfortunately, that’s only the beginning. Not surprisingly, whatever is near the toilet will likely get “splashed” with feces - whenever the toilet is flushed with the seat up.
To make matters worse, according to CNN Travel, maids may use the same rag they clean the bathroom with to clean other things - like the TV remote - throughout the room.
First, take note about where the glasses are in the room. If they’re in the bathroom, you may wanna steer clear or give them a good cleaning. Even worse, Dr. Stagg says many times the cleaning staff will just rinse them off in the bathroom sink, dry them, and put them back as if they were cleaned.
Remember that rag used to clean everything? Yeah. But if possible, it gets worse. Many guests may be in a bad habit of not washing their hands before touching things like TV remotes, transferring E. coli to it.
What's different about TV remotes, though, is the fact that it has buttons. Those buttons, especially when there is a gap between the button and the plastic housing, make it very difficult to clean thoroughly and/or disinfect properly.
Like the TV remote, E. coli may be able to easily make a home here after a guest handles it after using it with dirty hands. And of course, there's the fact that every time someone uses the thing, they probably spittle on it. Yeah, major “ew” factor there.
If you’ve never thought it was necessary to use that plastic bag that comes along with the ice bucket, this next sentence may change your mind.
“When a guest needs to throw up but can't make it to the bathroom, guess what they use?" Jenna the maid asked Woman’s Health.
This pains me to say, but it’s probably true. Coffee makers can, if not properly cleaned, make a nice home for mold and, according to Stagg, respiratory viruses.
All I’m saying is the coffee in the lobby better be open 24/7!
This is probably the thing you’d least expect, but if you think about it, it makes sense. These keycards, many of which are recycled, are touched all the time and almost never disinfected.
Here’s the scenario that repeats itself over and over until you check in: someone with grubby hands checks out, drops the keycard off in the drop box, the hotel picks it up and gives it to the next person that checks in.
Have you ever thought about disinfecting the keycard? Lord knows I haven’t.
I’ll put all of this in perspective for you with two questions. How many times in your life have you stayed in a hotel? And how many times have you gotten sick because of it?
Germs, viruses, bacteria, and more are everywhere. You’re surrounded by them right now reading this. Luckily, most of the time your body can fight off these germs. You’ll really only need to worry about getting sick if your immune system is compromised.
If you’re a perfectly healthy human, just keep doing what you’ve been doing and you’ll wind up just fine.
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