Experts Reveal The Grossest Areas Of Your Hotel Room That The Cleaners Always Miss
It’s vacation season, which means you’re likely to end up in a hotel room for a few nights at some point this summer. And while travel websites and holiday magazines may make your next hotel room look like an idyllic getaway, you might actually be staying in a petri dish.
Hotel rooms, despite looking clean and pristine, are often hotbeds for bacteria, mold, and fungus, but there’s no need to lose sleep thinking about what germs previous guests may have left behind.
Check out our list of the grossest areas of your hotel room and our tips on how to deal with them while still enjoying your relaxing vacation.
1. The Tub
The bathtub in a hotel is likely coated in bacteria, so it’s best to skip a soak and opt for a shower. “Keep in mind there’s a [film] that forms over time in the tub and that holds organisms,” says Philip Tierno, a microbiologist and clinical professor of microbiology and pathology at the NYU School of Medicine.
However, be cautious even in the shower. They can be a breeding ground for mold and mildew, which can cause everything from athletes foot to triggering allergies. Tierno advises running the hot water and squirting some shampoo or soap onto the tub surface before stepping in. It’ll reduce the bacteria.
2. The Shower Head
Shower heads should be replaced each year. Otherwise, they run the risk of accumulating Legionella bacteria. This bacteria can be particularly harmful to the elderly and people with compromised immune systems, leading to Legionnaires disease, which can be fatal.
Once again, Tierno recommends running the hot water for a minute before getting in the shower. “Whatever’s loose can drop out — and that’s ideal,” he says.
There’s also one other area of the washroom to watch out for…
3. The Toilet
The toilet is a bit of an obvious culprit, but if it looks like it hasn’t been cleaned, it might be best to request a room change. Even if it’s spotless, Tierno advises traveling with antibacterial wipes to clean the seat and handle yourself.
The chances of catching something are slim, but if you do, fecal matter can carry the norovirus, which causes the stomach flu – and you wouldn’t wish that on your worst enemy.
4. The Remote Control
The television remote is something that is handled by many people yet is often overlooked when it comes to cleaning. Placing it in a large, clear ziplock bag before using it is one solution to keeping the germs at bay.
“There’s human hair, bodily excretions based on what [people] touch before they touch the remote […] insect parts that may be part of the room’s dust […] cosmetics, even food,” says Tierno. “Of course, you perspire, and that serves as a nice medium that assists in the growth of organisms over time.”
5. The Bed
The main thing here is to remove the bedspread, which has been known to host everything from semen to urine. Put it in a corner and leave a note telling housekeeping not to put it back on the bed.
Allergins are also a concern here. Handle sheets and blankets gently and carry any eye drops, nasal sprays, or allergy medications with you if you are sensitive to dust mites.
6. The Carpet
If your hotel room has carpet, it can also be a source of dust mites, triggering allergies. If possible, ask for a hypoallergenic room. Some hotels are offering rooms with medical-grade air purification filters and microfiber sheets to cut down on dust.
Also, under humid conditions, carpeting can house fungal spores, so Tierno suggests bringing slippers to wear rather than going barefoot.
7. The Soft Furniture
Stear clear of the couch and any recliners. People sit in those while naked, potentially spreading bacteria from their underarms and rectal areas, which could lead to a staph infection.
Now that you know how dirty a hotel room can be, you’re probably thinking you’re better of staying at home… in your own filth.