How Dirty is Your Hotel Room?

Germophobes beware — you may want to stop reading now if you had any intentions of stepping foot in a hotel room ever again.

Condé Nast Traveler and “Dr. Germ” recently visited New York City and booked three hotel rooms of varying price and luxury. The high-end suite — which they called “Hotel Luxe” — was $795 a night. The mid-range — “Hotel Trendy” — went for $579 a night, and “Hotel Budget” — the cheapo — went for $169 a night. The team scoured each hotel room to collect evidence, and found that “cleanliness corresponded to price by and large. However, no hotel came out smelling like a rose.” Here’s how they fared:

  • “Hotel Luxe” — “the ice bucket, phones, and clock radio were loaded with Escherichia coli, the fecal-borne organism commonly known as E. coli, and Candida albicans, a fungus that causes yeast infections. The remote control had evidence of E. coli and Enterococci (another germ from feces), as did the shower floor.”
  • “Hotel Trendy” — “the doorknobs showed strong evidence of respiratory secretions … and a swab from the underside of the toilet seat turned up a heap of E. coli,” which means it was never cleaned.
  • “Hotel Budget” — “the desk chair had evidence of feces on it, as did the bedroom floor. [Dr. Germ] says people have a habit of sitting on hotel furniture in the nude, but even he raised an eyebrow at the findings on the floor.”

So how can you stay safe amongst all of this invisible filth? Condé Nast offers up plenty of tips to help your next hotel room stay be a safe and healthy one:

  • Wash your hands well and often. If soap and water are not available, use a hand sanitizer.
  • More and more hotels are ditching bedspreads in favor of duvets with washable covers. But if the bed in your chamber is covered with a spread (“Oh, good God,” says [Dr. Germ]), remove it immediately and put it in a corner, underside up.
  • Choose a hotel that uses impervious covers for mattresses and pillows (bedding is a breeding ground for dust mites), or pack your own.
  • Clean the phone, the remote control, and the clock radio with germicidal wipes.
  • Wear slippers or flip-flops to avoid exposing bare feet to any surfaces, including the tub floor.

To read the rest of the article with the full set of health tips included, head to Condé Nast Traveler.