Hotel rooms have a reputation to be dirty and filled with Bacteria. If you are staying in an hotel room, apart from the obvious items you should check for dirt, here are 8 other things you shouldn’t touch or make sure they are clean before you use them
- The main light switch
It’s the first thing you touch when you walk into your room, and probably the germiest. A 2015 study led by Katie Kirsch, an undergraduate student at the University of Houston, found the main light switch is one of the most contaminated places in your hotel room.
- The remote control
TV is a hotel room staple. What else is there to do in a 12×12 box? But it’s time to think before you click. Charles Gerba, a professor of microbiology at the University of Arizona, found in his research that hotel room remote controls have very high levels of bacteria, and about 20 percent were contaminated with semen. Take a minute to calm your gag reflex, and remember to pack your container of disinfecting wipes. Give the remote a swipe before tuning in to your favorite network, or put it in a clear plastic bag (which can serve as a nice barrier between you and the germs).
- The ice bucket
Not only is the bucket pretty gross (there’s no way of really knowing the last time it was washed), but ice machinescan be a breeding ground for bacteria. Ideally, they should be cleaned at least once a month, but we all know that’s probably not happening. Our best advice? Just say no.
- The bathroom floor, sink, and countertops
This one’s not so surprising, but still significant. “Our hotel study indicated that if you hear someone sneeze in the room next to you, you will have the virus in your room the next night,” Gerba tells Yahoo Health. Contamination seems to be connected with housekeeping sponges and mops — surfaces being wiped without disinfectant with the same cleaning cloth used for multiple rooms. You brought your own antibacterial wipes, right? Take this opportunity to use them.
The comforter and pillows
You’ve probably heard about this one, and former and current hotel staffers confessed on Reddit that it’s true: These things are rarely (if ever) washed. The first thing you should do when you get to your room is roll the quilt or duvet to the end of the bed (or ideally, take it off). Also, be wary of those extra blankets stored in the closet; it’s tough to know when they were last laundered. The same rules apply to pillows. Some travelers even bring their own pillowcases to be extra safe.
- The couch
Ever sat directly on a hotel room couch? Now’s the time to stop. One former hotel staffer cautioned against sitting on the couch or chairs in a room — or covering them with a towel or a sheet before doing so. Why? You never know what state of dress — or undress — former guests have been in while sitting on them. And just like comforters, these things are pretty tough to sanitize.
The water glasses
If the glasses don’t look dirty between guests, chances are they aren’t getting washed. If the glasses are wiped down, you never know if the cleaning staff just used the same sponge or towel on another surface. Think about using disposable cups while you’re in the room or washing the reusable ones very carefully (after you’ve wiped down the counter, of course).
Where you’re safe
Kirsch’s research found you were safe to touch the headboard, the curtain rod, and the bathroom door handle. In his studies, Gerba also discovered that money talks. Often, “The less you pay for a room, the more bacteria you’re sleeping with.” Oh, and don’t forget to check the online reviews for any hotel you plan on staying at — that’s where you’ll get the real inside scoop.