Safe Travels: Researchers Unveil the Germiest Places in Your Hotel Room
I love a good hotel. You don’t have to clean because it’s already done for you. You can relax, unwind, and enjoy having a maid if only for a day. Unfortunately, you never know who stayed in your hotel room before you. You can’t ensure their hygiene and if they were under the weather sneezing up a storm of germs before you settled in. Researchers at the University of Houston reported on a small study at the 2012 General Meeting of the American Society of Microbiology that found the germiest places in your hotel room, as reported on Care2.
Germ Laden Hotel Rooms
Researchers tested the various surfaces throughout hotel rooms to document the germiest places in a hotel room. As you might have expected the highest levels of contamination were found on the surface of toilets, but sinks were found to be highly contaminated with fecal matter as well. Other germ hot spots included the television remote control and the lamp switch beside the bed.
Lower levels of contamination were found on the bed’s headboard, curtain rods, and the bathroom door handle.
“Currently, housekeepers clean 14-16 rooms per eight-hour shift, spending approximately 30 minutes on each room. Identifying high-risk items within a hotel room would allow housekeeping managers to strategically design cleaning practices and allocate time to efficiently reduce the potential health risks posed by microbial contamination in hotel rooms,” says Katie Kirsch an undergraduate student at the University of Houston who presented the study.
This was a limited study which consisted of three hotel rooms in South Carolina, Indiana, and Texas where 19 surfaces were tested on each, according to Time.com. But even still, it presents a picture of where germ health risks may be centered in hotel rooms.
Reducing Your Hotel Germ Risks
We live in a world of germs so by far the most potent means of reducing your risk of disease while traveling is by keeping your immune system in tip top shape. Eat three plant-based meals per day and get enough rest. Beyond that, experts say that cleaning these germ hot spots with sanitizer may also be helpful.
Consider removing the bed spread and decorative pillows from the bed as they're usually not changed for every guest, while sheets are changed daily. Pull the sheet up and check the bed seam for signs of bedbugs, small dark stains or the bugs themselves. Be aware of items that are used often by guests but likely not cleaned like the telephone, alarm clock, and ice bucket.
Read More: The Real Risk Behind Bedbugs