Whether for work or pleasure, traveling often takes you far enough from home that you opt to stay in a hotel. And with all of the national brand hotel chains in the world, you’ll find it almost impossible to travel to a place where there are no hotel accommodations. But be careful; even in the nicest hotels, bacteria can be lurking in places you might assume are disinfected and clean. When traveling, be sure to carry disinfectant wipes with you (Lysol, Clorox, etc.), and once you are in your hotel room, be sure to clean these ten items with those wipes before getting too comfortable.
10. The telephone
Two of the most germ-filled parts of the body are used to access a telephone: hands and a mouth. So before you pick up the phone to order room service, be sure to wipe down every surface of the phone, and pay careful attention to the area of the phone you speak into, have on your ear and the part that you hold on to.
Anyone who has ever stayed in your hotel room has touched the doorknobs. Anyone who has ever cleaned your hotel room has touched the doorknobs. Service people, managers, carpet repair technicians, cable repair technicians—they’ve all touched the doorknobs at one time or another as they have worked on keeping your hotel room in its best shape. The doorknob should be wiped down without fail, at all costs.
8. The toilet seat.
Even though the toilet is on the housekeeping staff’s list of no-brainers, it may not have been properly disinfected with all that a housekeeper has to get done in one day. To stay on the safe side, make sure to wipe down the toilet seat. If nothing else, it will give you peace of mind.
7. Water faucet handles
This applies to both the sink faucet and the tub faucet. The faucet handles are like the doorknobs in the hotel room. They are touched by anyone who’s ever stayed in that room, by the plumbers who work on the pipes and by any other staff members who have cause for being in the room related to repairs, servicing an issue or cleaning.
6. Desk or table in the room
Lots of things are put on flat surfaces in hotel room. Any number of things can take place at a desk or table. Food is dropped here, and expired food is full of bacteria. Babies’ diapers are changed here, and you can imagine the possibility for germs from diaper changes, right there on your desk or table. Don’t have an in-room picnic there until you’ve wiped those surfaces down thoroughly.
5. The bedside table, or nightstand
Nightstands are notorious for harboring a plethora of microbes. That’s because anything and everything gets put on a nightstand—well, anything in your hands before you finally crash for the evening. Contact cases can spill on the nightstand. Unfinished drinks get knocked over in the middle of the night and spill, sometimes causing a sticky mess that you can’t believe someone didn’t notice before you checked into the room. It’s a good call to wipe down the entire surface of the bedside table before taking a snooze yourself.
4. The inside of the in-room refrigerator
This is a good practice since you don’t know what was in that refrigerator before you got to the hotel. The previous guest might have caught the prize-winning bass at the local fishing tournament, had it cleaned and packaged, and he may have kept it ice cold in that fridge. That’s going to fill your room with a wonderful “aroma” soon enough if it wasn’t cleaned and disinfected properly, to say nothing of the bacteria it may have introduced into the fridge.
3. The inside of the in-room microwave
Have you ever noticed that people in your office use the microwave, something explodes because they overheated it (think tomato-based, greasy and oily), and then they leave the kitchen, never thinking to wipe down the microwave? This can be the case even more so with a microwave that is used by multiple people, many of whom will undoubtedly have an in-microwave explosion and leave it to the housekeeping staff to discover and tend to. And sometimes the housekeepers don’t think to look in the microwave, so the remnants of the explosion remain, just for you to find. Even if there wasn’t a major food explosion, it’s a good idea to wipe down the inside of the microwave if you intend to use it during your stay. It’s good protection again bacteria.
2. The tub
Needless to say, a lot gets washed off in a bathtub, and if any of it were things you want around you, then they wouldn’t need to be washed off of someone else. There are times when a housekeeper “scours” a bathtub by only swishing soapy water around the base of the tub and rinsing it down. This doesn’t necessarily disinfect the tub, and if germs and grime are being washed off of other bodies in that tub, it’s a good idea to clean it down with a disinfectant wipe before having your own in-room spa session.
1. Any other surface that…..well, needs it.
Before you get too settled into your new temporary home away from home, make sure you look over your hotel room carefully, and assess any stains on furniture, sticky spots on the countertops or “unexplained” wet areas on any surface. Any of these scenarios may warrant a wipe down as well. When in doubt, though, it’s better to play it safe and call the front desk to request housekeeping service. If you’re really uncomfortable about any “spot,” or if you feel that the lack of cleanliness in your room is not something you can just wipe down and overlook, it’s best to request a new room before you make yourself at home.
It can be really fun and incredibly relaxing to stay in a hotel room while you are traveling. It’s nice to know you don’t have to launder your own linens, make your own bed or scour your own bathroom while in a hotel. But if you find yourself doing more of the cleaning and disinfecting than the relaxing, it’s time to switch rooms, and depending on the situation, you may even need to move to a different hotel. Hopefully this won’t happen to you, and you’ll be safe with a can of disinfectant wipes, a few minutes of your time and some patience. Then you can truly relax! Safe travels!