Are Hotel Rooms Really That Clean?

Are Hotel Rooms Really That Clean?


Toby Keith sings, “I wish I didn’t know now what I didn’t know then…”. 

If ignorance is bliss, then I wish I could go back to the days when I didn’t know just how dirty hotel rooms can be. I’m usually not one to worry too much about germs, but after getting sick one too many times during my travels, I’ve become pretty cautious. Have you seen the movie Contagion? If not, consider yourself lucky. Let’s just say Gwyneth Paltrow kicks off a deadly global pandemic after staying in a hotel during a trip to Asia.


According to a study by TravelMath, even high-end hotels can be breeding grounds for all sorts of creepy crawlies. Their tests found that some of the germiest spots in hotel rooms are the bathroom counter, TV remote, desk, and telephone. If I were you, I’d make a mental note to give those areas a good wipe-down the next time you check in.

Luckily, it’s pretty easy these days to come prepared. Pack some travel-size disinfecting wipes, like Purell or Lysol, and get to work as soon as you enter your room. Give the bathroom counter, toilet, TV remote, phone, doorknobs, and desk a good scrub down.

 If you're flying, don't forget to wipe down the armrests, tray table, seat belt buckle, and any surface you touch in the bathroom. Use hand sanitizer frequently throughout your trip, even if you don't think you've touched anything dirty.  Better safe than sorry!

Does this make us germaphobes? I don't think so. We're just smart travelers who know that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. The last thing you want is for your dream vacation to be ruined by a nasty stomach bug or cold you picked up from your hotel.

Speaking of tubs, you might want to skip the long, luxurious bubble bath and wait until you get home. According to Condé Nast Traveler, the combination of standing water, harsh cleaning chemicals, and who knows what else in hotel bathtubs can create a bacterial soup. If you do decide to take the plunge, at least give the tub a scrub first and run the hot water for a while. But personally, I’ll stick to showers!

In the end, while hotel rooms may not be as pristine as we imagine, a few simple precautions can help ensure your health and safety. Focus on the parts of your trip you can control, like using wipes and hand sanitizer, and try not to stress too much about what you can’t, like how well the maids cleaned under the bed or behind the dresser! A positive attitude and a strong immune system can go a long way.  Most importantly, don’t let a little dirt stop you from creating cherished memories. Get out there and enjoy your adventure!

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