Don't panic: We’re not exactly advising that you zip yourself into a hazmat suit the next time you stay in a hotel. But it might not be a bad idea to pack some antibacterial wipes, a plastic bag or two, and a pair of slippers or flip-flops for your trip after you read about some of these unwelcome surprises likely waiting for you in the room.
Every hotel room phone tested by Today was found to be "teeming with bacteria." That's nasty! Even if you think you’re going to use your cellphone in the room, there always ends up being one or two times where you need to use the room’s phone; you might need more towels, or want room service or a late checkout, for example. Before you even think about putting the receiver anywhere near your face, hit it with your antibacterial wipe. As a matter of fact, wipe your own phone down with another wipe too — it’s probably disgusting right now.
2. Remote control
The real forgotten item in your room is the television remote control — we’ll spare you the details on the type of bacteria that often appears here, but we’ll let you know that you definitely don’t want it on your fingers or in bed with you. This is another item that will benefit from sanitizing with a wipe, but Lifehacker recommends that you just go ahead and “quarantine” the remote in a plastic bag and use it that way.
3. Bathroom floor
Brace yourself... this one is really yucky. A study published in the Journal of Environmental Health suggests that a huge source of microbial hazards in hotel rooms may not be due to lack of cleaning, but instead a result of the prevalent use of mops and sponges that have been contaminated. Here’s where your flip flops or slippers (or the hotel’s disposable pair) might come in handy.
4. Decorative bedding
The decorative comforter covers, blankets, and pillows are not always washed in between guests, which is unfortunately not that awesome. According to CNN, they can be a major place for allergens and bed bugs to kick it. They’re therefore not the best place for spreading out all of your clothes, and it might be worth removing them from the bed before you sleep.
By extension, you can always call and request new pillowcases if you suspect they’re not new and clean; sadly, sometimes they might not get changed in the rush to clean a high volume of rooms in a short time. Eyeball them for sure, or consider bringing your own!
Unless you bring your own disinfectant spray, as one oft-cited study by TravelMath suggests you pack, there’s not a lot you can do to spruce up your desk, which tends to be another area that might be neglected by housekeeping. But again, a swipe of a wipe on the bottom of your laptop after you’re done using it there might banish any thoughts of creepy crawlies on your computer. Shudder.
If you want to take the chance that your drinking glass was merely rinsed in the sink and dried with a towel before being presented as new — or as Buzzfeed reports, much worse — go right ahead. Ideally, the room has disposable cups instead.
8. Coffee maker
"The thing that's most squeamish to me is the coffee maker," a former hotel manager told BBC. “Yes, it looks clean, but who knows how the previous guests used it before you? Think vomit, cigarette butts, crayons.” Is your caffeine habit really that bad that you need to make crappy coffee in your room’s coffee maker? Didn’t think so.
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