Clark Howard Staff
Grab your antibacterial wipes: here are the germiest places in a hotel room.
1. The TV remote
Several studies have shown just how dirty the TV remotes are.
According to USA Today, TV remotes in hotel rooms delivered the highest bacteria count of anything else. Lab testing of one remote exposed colonies of E. coli. Dr. Luisa Ikner, a microbiologist at the University of Arizona Gerba Lab said, “This indicates there was fecal contamination on the remote. So perhaps someone used the restroom and didn’t wash their hands when they were done.” Dr. Ikner then explained that this is how a lot of infectious viruses are transmitted.
Dr. Charles Gerba, a professor of microbiology at the University of Arizona, also found that hotel room remotes have insanely high levels of bacteria.
How should you disinfect? Bring some antibacterial wipes with you and wipe down the remote thoroughly. Some hotels now even provide bacterial wipes as a courtesy.
2. Hotel phones
Hotel phones are another item that should be wiped down with disinfectant.
Dr. Ikner found that hotel phones had double or triple the acceptable limit of bacteria.”People touch them a lot and they’re not surfaces that are cleaned by the maids,” she said.
According to CBC News, the hotel with the highest germ count on phones was Holiday Inn, while Super 8 was the lowest.
3. The first light switch
Be armed with an alcohol wipe when you first enter your room, because you’re going to need it!
According to a study led by Katie Kirsch at the University of Houston, the first light switch in a hotel room has some of the most bacteria, third only to items used to clean bathrooms and other areas of the bathroom.
In addition, when tested for fecal bacteria, the main light switch showed an alarming number.
That being said, you may want to do more than wipe down the switch: you’ll probably want to wash your hands after cleaning it too.
4. Bathroom floors, sinks and counter-tops
Since the highest amount of bacteria existed in the sponge and mop used to clean hotel room bathroom, it makes sense that other parts of the bathroom would be teaming with bacteria. Other studies on germs in hotels back this up.
“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,” Dr. Gerba said.
What to do? Use alcohol wipes to wipe down counter tops, be sure to use the bathroom mats, and you might also want to spray down any other areas with a disinfecting spray.
5. Pillows and comforters
Though sheets and towels are laundered, comforters and pillows are quite a different story. Anonymous hotel staff posted on Reddit that these items are rarely if ever cleaned, in addition to some other items in hotel rooms.
According to Reneta McCarthy, a lecturer at Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration and former housekeeping manager for a big-name hotel chain, hotels only schedule deep cleanings once a quarter. So it’s rare that those duvet covers get cleaned very often, if at all.
In this case, it might be best to bring your own pillow, an extra blanket and roll down the comforter when you get to your room.