The 11 Dirtiest Spots in Every Hotel Room
Don’t even think about using those glasses in the bathroom.
Paying more doesn’t exempt you
Let’s get this common misconception out of the way: High-end hotels don’t have fewer micro-organisms. In fact, they can have many more. “You would think paying more for a hotel would also net you a cleaner room, but investigative reporters have found that not always to be the case,” says Jennifer Stagg, MD, naturopathic physician and author of Unzip Your Genes: 5 Choices To Reveal A Radically Radiant You. Check out these tips for how to make your hotel stay as safe and healthy as possible.
Bathroom counter and faucet
“The bathroom counter and faucets can sometimes be cleaned with the same cloth used to clean the toilet, thereby transferring germs from fecal matter onto the counter and faucets,” explains Dr. Stagg. “This can lead to gastrointestinal infections. There may also be GI and respiratory viruses lingering on surfaces.” Worse yet, these cloths are often used from room to room. Logic Products founder Jill Taft also points out that the cleaning staff often just rinses the glasses in the bathroom and mini bar with water. Never use them! This is where germs hide in your home.
“E. coli can be a problem on TV remotes from hotel guests not washing their hands after going to the bathroom,” says Dr. Stagg. Cover your remote with a thin plastic bag to turn the TV off and on and change channels. You can get bring a Ziploc bag or use a bag that should line the ice bucket.
In hotel rooms, Dr. Stagg says you can commonly find respiratory viruses lingering on desks. These can remain for up to four days. Clean the work are with a sanitizing wipe before you set down your laptop and important papers. These are the cleaning mistakes that leave your home full of germs.
Here’s one that will surprise absolutely no one! Hotel room phones are a magnet for germs—but you might be surprised at how bad it is. “MRSA has been found on phones and remotes which can cause dangerous skin infections,” says Dr. Stagg. “Phones can also have E. coli and respiratory viruses from people holding the phone near their mouth and face.”
Coffee makers can harbor mold and respiratory viruses, according to Dr. Stagg. Head to the hotel lobby for that morning cup of joe. This is how germ experts stay healthy.
Nope, not even your ice is safe! In fact, Dr. Stagg notes that hotel ice buckets can contain a host of germs, even as bad as norovirus from guests who may use it as a vomit basin. (This happens more than you’d care to imagine.)
Comforter and pillows
“Organisms that cause sexually transmitted diseases can be found on bedding, including comforters and pillows that aren’t washed,” says Dr. Stagg. Taft adds that it’s important to beware of the cleaning staff throwing your pillows on the floor while making the bed. “Always call housekeeping for extra clean pillow cases so you can change them yourself every evening.” These are the germs that could be lingering on your clothes right now.
Here’s one thing you probably touch multiple times a day and never thought twice about—your room key card. “These are never disinfected, so they will have just as many germs on them as money does. Consider wiping all room key cards down ASAP,” suggests Taft.
Sofa and chairs
Stains from body fluids—which aren’t always visible to the naked eye—can harbor a variety of viruses and bacteria. “They’re commonly found on fabric which is not easy to clean thoroughly,” says Dr. Stagg. This is the gross reason you should think twice before sitting in your hotel chair.
“Carpets are breeding grounds for bacteria and germs,” says Taft. “Never let your kids sit, lay down, or play on the carpet, and always wear socks or slippers.”
“Air vents can contain mold, which can cause respiratory problems,” says Dr. Stagg. These everyday items are actually dirtier than a toilet seat.