15 Dirty Spots in Your Hotel Room That Could Make You Sick

Even if you stay at a five-star hotel, there is still a chance that you will come in contact with some pretty nasty germs. You cannot see these germs, and neither can the housekeeping staff.

When cleaning hotel rooms, housekeeping must work quickly in order to allow for a fast turnover of the rooms. The main goal is to get new guests in almost as soon as the other guests leave.

So how do you not contract anything from your hotel room? By staying aware. You need to know the areas in your hotel room that are most germ-prone, and you can use certain hacks to avoid direct contact. Read on to find out how.

10 Dirty Areas in the Hotel Room

1. Door Handles and Room Keys

These are the surfaces that everyone touches. Not only have the guests touched these surfaces, but also the hotel staff. You need to be extremely cautious while handling room keys and opening door handles.

It is impossible to avoid these two areas, but you can do the following to ensure your safety:

  • Disinfect your room key thoroughly after receiving it from the front desk.
  • Keep it with you throughout your stay. Don’t leave it in someone else’s hands.
  • Use hand sanitizer every time after touching the handle of your hotel room door.

2. Carpets

Everyone walks on the carpet with their dirty feet, and even dirtier shoes.

Walking is not dangerous, but certain actions invite unwanted germs. You need to be cautious not to do any of these:

  • Keep your dirty shoes off of the carpet. Don’t walk around in your outdoor shoes.
  • Don’t walk barefoot. Always carry some bedroom slippers. If you don’t have any, ask the hotel staff, as many hotels provide these with the room.
  • Wash your feet with soap and water before you get into bed.
  • If something falls on the carpet, disinfect it properly before using it.
  • Don’t let your kids sit or play on the carpet.

3. Light Switches

These include all the switches in your room, but the switches by your bedside and in the bathroom are especially corrupted.

The best solution is to disinfect the switches. This removes the probability of getting infected once and for all. If you have a habit of sanitizing your hands frequently, there shouldn’t be any problem with contamination.

4. TV and AC remote

One of the dirtiest objects in the entire room is the TV remote. Even if you try, it’s impossible to ascertain that it is thoroughly cleaned. Bacteria and viruses are always hiding in the nooks and crannies of the buttons.

Because of how frequently people touch these two remotes, it isn’t feasible to sanitize your hands every single time. Here are some better ideas:

  • Put these remotes in a zip lock bag and use them that way. No need to think about germs again. You can disinfect the bag if you feel icky.
  • Install a remote control app on your mobile phone. These apps work perfectly with smart TVs and ACs. No need to touch the physical remote controls anymore.

5. Bedding

While housekeeping does change the sheets on the bed, the duvet and decorative pillows are simply reused.

This is a difficult one. You need to sleep on the bed, and there is no way to disinfect the entire bed. So, here are some alternative suggestions:

  • Carry some spare bedsheets. If you can’t, then ask the hotel staff for some clean sheets and lay them on the bed before sleeping.
  • Use inflatable pillows. You can also wrap your towel or spare clothing (like t-shirts or long skirts) around the hotel pillows.
  • Try not to sleep in a position that puts your mouth and nose directly onto the bed.
  • Don’t eat on the bed.
  • Always change your outdoor clothes before jumping into bed.

6. Telephone

You probably pick up the phone and call room service without a thought, as does everyone else. However, these phones are covered in germs from constantly being touched.

It’s not a mystery that disinfecting telephones is not a priority to the housekeeping staff. In this scenario, you can do three things:  

  • Don’t use the telephone at all. Go to the front desk for any queries or needs.
  • Use alcohol wipes to clean the phone before use.
  • Sanitize your hands thoroughly after using the phone.

7. Coffee Maker

You would expect the staff to clean the coffee maker properly, since guests will consume its contents, but there is no sure way to tell. Nothing will get you sick faster than drinking something contaminated with germs.

So, it’s best to steer clear of the tempting proposition of making coffee in the room. You will get much better coffee from room service and cafes outside.

8. Drinking Glasses and Ice Buckets

Assuming you don’t fancy washing glasses and buckets on a vacation, it is advisable to not use these items at all. If you need to drink, just get some disposable cups.

9. Desk

Another high-touch surface in the hotel room is the desk. Most people use the desk, and germs stick to its hard surface for days. If you keep your belongings on it, germs are bound to get transferred to your things, and you don’t want that.

If you are going to work and eat at the desk, wipe it down first. Do it every day to ensure maximum sanitation.

10. Chairs and Sofas

While maybe not as risky as some of the previous areas, this one is still pretty unhygienic. This is mostly because you can’t just throw a sofa or chair into the washing machine.

Chairs and sofas are where people sit in dirty clothes, and they place their hands on the arms of these chairs and sofas.

Being cautious of what you touch is the key here. Here are some suggestions:

  • Don’t place your hands on the chairs and sofas. Always sanitize if you do touch them.
  • Have your clothes washed or dry cleaned often. Don’t wear the same unclean clothes every day. They can carry the germs to the bed.
  • Avoid sleeping on the sofa. You will contract contagious illnesses faster this way.

5 Dirty Spots in the Hotel Bathroom

1. Bathroom Faucets and Counters

Research shows that the bathroom counter at five-star hotels has an average of 1,288,817 bacteria Colony Forming Units (CFU) per square inch. That’s close to what you will find inside the toilet. This is because counters and faucets are often cleaned with the same cloth as the toilets.

Here are some ways you can avoid this:

  • Thoroughly disinfect the faucets. You can use soap and water to do this.
  • Don’t put your hands or belongings on the counter, or at least sanitize the surface first.
  • Always sanitize your hands after coming out of the bathroom.
  • Never touch your face inside the bathroom.

2. Toilet Handle

People touch the toilet handle to flush after doing their business. This means there are going to be germs on the handle, but you still need to flush.

Instead of skipping flushing, here are some better ways to avoid the germs:

  • Avoid direct contact. Use some tissue paper or toilet paper to press the flush button.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, or you can sanitize after coming out of the bathroom.

3. Toilet Seat

Just like at home, a rule needs to be established where the toilet seat is concerned.

  • If you are a guy, put the toilet seat up, and then put it down after you’re done.
  • Before you are about to sit, cover the surface with some toilet paper. Don’t let it touch your bare skin.

4. Toilet Paper Dispenser and Hand Towel

Flushing the toilet sends germs flying to all areas in the vicinity.

So, no place near the toilet is safe. In order to keep the pathogens away:

  • Always flush with the toilet lid closed.
  • Sanitize your hands after using the toilet paper dispenser.
  • Avoid using the hand towel altogether.

5. Toothbrush Holders

Studies have shown that 27% of toothbrush holders house colonies of Coliform bacteria. This is dangerous, considering your toothbrush goes directly into your mouth.

However, you can avert this problem with two easy solutions:

  • Don’t use any toothbrushes or toothpaste provided by the hotel, even if they promise it’s completely new.
  • Carry your own toothbrush and toothpaste.
  • Never put your toothbrush or toothpaste into the toothbrush holder. Put it inside your toiletry bag after use, or bring your own toothbrush holder.

Let Insurance Take Care of the Aftermath

After this revelation, the hotel room must seem like a landmine of germs and diseases. But, the fear of microorganisms shouldn’t ruin your trip.

If you follow the tips given here, your chances of falling sick are slim. But you cannot rule out the possibility altogether.

Navigating the healthcare system in a foreign country is always a pain, not to mention how costly it can be.

So, you should buy travel medical insurance prior to your trip. If you get sick while traveling and have insurance in place, you can receive necessary treatment and not be solely responsible for paying a large medical bill. Your domestic health insurance will likely not provide sufficient coverage in a foreign country, so travel medical insurance or travel insurance is essential to have.   

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