Air vents. Although we've focused on the dirtiest surfaces in hotel rooms, the air in your room may be the most dangerous thing you encounter. Research now shows the primary way the virus spreads is through the air, with transmission from surfaces secondary.
The results showed that the average hotel room is dirtier than a typical home, school, or airplane, and that for some tested surfaces, five-star hotels had a much higher CFU count than three-star or four-star hotels.
Some surfaces (like the hotel TV remote) may be worse than others. But dirt and germs exist in hotel rooms, just like they do everywhere else. And, just like everywhere else, they can be avoided — if you know what to do.
Typically, hotels wash their linens once a week. That includes sheets, pillowcases, and all kinds of comforters. However, they usually change sheets and pillowcases between guests. Ritz Carlson, the Peninsula, and the Four Seasons chain say they change all bed linen and covers between guests.
While there is nothing to do to prevent germs in common areas, doors and furniture, hotels and guest lodging establishments are being hyper-vigilant about room cleanliness as we navigate the uncertainties of COVID. We'll never look at travel in the same way.
Don't worry, the towels are safe. Hotel rooms look pretty clean on the face of it. The beds are made, freshly laid towels are in the bathroom, and there's usually a pair of nice, fresh white slippers waiting for you in the wardrobe.
According to the TV show, the humble kitchen sponge is the worst culprit of all when it comes to harbouring nasty bacteria and is apparently 200,000 times dirtier than a toilet seat. A sponge not only absorbs water, but it also sucks up a lot of harmful bacteria.
Wrong. According to germ expert Charles Gerba, a microbiologist at the University of Arizona, the kitchen sponge is actually the dirtiest item in your home. Here's why: While you clean various surfaces and dishes with your sponge, the porous surface collects food particles.
Condoms. It is never advertised and no hotel employee will bring it up, but almost every decent hotel has free condoms available upon request. If you're caught without, don't be afraid to call the front desk and ask them to send a few condoms to your room.
Clean, sanitized pillows are necessary for a good night's sleep and most hotels will have cyclical washing processes, depending on the make and material of the pillows. However, after frequent usage and depending on the material of the pillow, hotels will eventually replace them with a new batch.
Typically, they don't get cleaned between guests and become a breeding ground for bacteria. Use the pillows from the closet; they're more likely to be freshly washed than the ones on the bed. The worst culprit in the hotel room is usually the TV remote.
Hotel staff typically only change the sheets and don't sanitize the mattresses themselves. Housekeepers in some hotels also flip mattresses every month to ensure that one side isn't receiving all the grime, though Pruitt reportedly requested a pillow-top mattress, which cannot be flipped.
Check for bedbugs, little brown dots on the sheets that may or may not be moving. If in doubt, use a travel sheet to avoid taking home invisible passengers. Fingerprints really show up on switches and handles, so a good way to see whether the room is really clean is to have a quick look at the fixtures.
It's probably safe to say that all major hotel chains, including Hampton, instruct their housekeepers to change sheets between guests. Yes, you'll always find some no-tell motel out in the sticks that tries to skip a guest or two, but as a general rule, the sheets are swapped out.
A sheet usually extends over the edge of the bed, whereas the blanket usually just reaches the edge. This makes it less likely that you'll come completely uncovered, especially if there are two people in the bed. It's also easier to tuck the sheet under yourself to avoid drafts.
Hotel workers say that the right way to deal with used towels is to gather them up in a pretty specific place, like a bathtub or bathroom floor, making it easy for them to pick them up for cleaning. Don't fold them on a shelf because it will be confusing to know if they were actually used or not.
Guest aren't expected to strip the bed, but should you decide to, make sure to leave the comforter on a chair or in the closet, not on the floor. And don't ball the bed linens up with the blanket, keep them separate.
And while this may be the most extreme case of tainted water we've heard in a while, it's certainly not the only story of good water gone bad. Our advice: Don't drink the tap water, no matter where you're staying. Nothing good ever comes of it.