Hotels look clean, but they can be some of the grimiest, most bacteria-infested places you visit on vacation. Yes, they could even be worse than a gas station bathroom.
While you’re enjoying your pricey hotel room to the fullest, you likely are smearing your face all over the hotel’s pillows, towels, and washcloths. You let your children play on the floor, use the hotel’s cups and dishes, and fall asleep on top of a questionably clean bedspread. Unless you’re deep-cleaning every surface in sight on your own, this is all seriously ill-advised and probably so much grosser than you think.
After you read this breakdown of the most infested surfaces, you might want to just ditch the hotel altogether and stay at an Airbnb. It doesn’t matter how pretty the hotel is — it could be one of the prettiest in the world, but it still probably hasn’t updated its cleaning standards to account for the recent research on germs and spreading sickness.
During your vacation, the last thing you want is to expose your family to dangerous germs. Not only is it revolting to think about sharing the spit of your room’s previous tenants, it’s also putting you at risk for diseases such as norovirus and other contagious illnesses. To keep clean for the length of your stay, avoid getting too cozy with these 15 especially germy spots. Click here for the dirtiest spots on every airplane.
These vents can both grow and distribute mold to neighboring rooms. This mold can travel through the air and enter your lungs, causing respiratory problems.
While it may have been wiped clean, sometimes hotel maids use the same cloth to wipe your counter, faucet, and toilet. That means all the bacteria from the toilet (and the toilets of neighboring rooms) gets wiped on your “clean” counter. Sure, some kitchen items are actually germier than a toilet seat, but come on. That’s pretty gross.
Maybe turn the lights out with a tissue. Clambering back to the bathroom in the dark sounds difficult, but if you knew how many germs were on the bedside lamp switch, you’d be running to go wash your hands after you turned off the light. It’s probably a good idea to wash your hands before bed, regardless. It’s one of the best ways to avoid getting sick during holiday travel.
Carpets are ideal breeding grounds for all kinds of germs. The hotel may vacuum its flooring, but it’s not cleaning all the nooks and crevices. They’re certainly not disinfecting it each day — we recommend you don’t allow your kids to play around on the hotel room floor.
Coffee makers are breeding grounds for mold and other growths. The cavern of space where the water heats and filters through is an ideal ecosystem for infectious growth — they’re dark, damp, and you can bet your hotel staff neglects to clean them.
While the sheets are always washed and changed, comforters are sometimes left on the bed for a couple of nights before they’re swapped out for a new and clean one. You could remove it from the bed entirely — or try not to have nightmares about what your comforter endured from previous persons’ stays.
They look cute and cozy, but these plush decorative blankets are teeming with bacteria. According to a report by CNN, these blankets are hardly ever changed, and in some cases only washed and changed four times per year.
Studies have revealed that the cleaning tools used at most hotels are sometimes dirtier than most surfaces in the room itself. Sponges and mops were the worst offenders, transporting bacteria and contaminants from room to room.
Ice looks clean, but in most cases it’s far from it. Hotel ice buckets are harboring gross amounts of bacteria, including anything left behind by hotel guests who use their ice bucket as a vomit basin.
Call for room service with caution. Never order these items. Oh and also, disinfect the phone receiver and dial keys before calling, or at least wash your hands after you hang up. Dozens of hotel guests have touched the phone before you, directly after coughing, sneezing, or doing some other unsanitary thing without washing their hands.
Like comforters, pillowcases are sometimes left unchanged between guests. Hotel workers will enter the rooms, place the pillows beside the bed, change the sheets, and then place the dirty pillows back on the beds without replacing the pillowcase. Even if there are no visible drool stains or hairs, someone else’s face bacteria are all over that pillow.
Room keys are never disinfected, yet you touch your room key multiple times per day. Kind of like credit cards or cash, they end up being some of the germiest items you touch all day.
A stain is visually unappealing, but that’s not all that’s bad about it. Stains from bodily fluids can harbor a variety of viruses and bacteria not visible to the naked eye.
We know it sounds like a good idea to watch TV while you’re eating your room service, but be sure to sanitize the TV remote first. There could be more germs on the remote than there are on the hotel room toilet.
Okay, okay, so these don’t necessarily have germs on them — but they do have dangerous chemicals. Water glasses are often cleaned with glass cleaner rather than actual soap and water; glass cleaner is known to be toxic when consumed by humans.
Even room service can come with contaminated dishware. We doubt the most impressive establishments take that risk, though. And with their impressive room service options, we’re glad these epic meals are delivered germ-free: Here are the 12 hotels with the best room service worldwide.