You don’t have to be Tony Shalhoub from the TV series Monk to worry about the germs lurking inside your hotel room. Any time you live out of a room that is not your own, one that may not be as clean as you like, you might find thoughts of bed bugs and dust balls dancing in your head. You may wonder when the last time the bathroom was scoured or wonder how many people have wiped their dirty hands on the hotel room curtains. And, of course, you may fervently hope that no previous patrons lived by the mantra “what happens in a hotel room, stays in a hotel room.”
For those who travel frequently for business or pleasure, there are a number of things you can do to reassure yourself that you are staying in the cleanest hotel possible:
Be Picky: When cleanliness is a factor in choosing a hotel room, you can’t let your decision be dictated by price: expensive does not necessarily mean clean. Instead, keep in mind the hotel’s reputation. Many booklets and travel guides will rate hotels based on several factors, one of these being cleanliness. If a hotel received five stars for food, but only one for cleanliness, you’ll know that that hotel has great food, pieces of it just might be stuck inside the carpet strands of your hotel room floor.
Look Around: It’s usually pretty easy to tell if a hotel room is clean or if it’s dirty. This doesn’t require tracing over every ounce of furniture with a prestine white glove, it simply requires looking around. If you notice that the towels are dirty or the bathtub is filled with slime and grime, then mention this to the hotel room staff. If you notice that your sheets are stained or your TV stand contains the world’s largest collection of dust, don’t be afraid to ask to be moved. You aren’t only paying for a hotel room, you are paying for a clean one.
Stay Away from Smoking Rooms or Rooms that Allow Pets: Both smoking and pets – and not to mention pets that smoke – can dirty up an otherwise clean hotel room. Smoke lingers in the air and rests on the tangible items of the room, leaving them discolored and filled with an ash-tray like smell. Pets walk on beds and carpets with muddy or wet paws. They roll around on the floor with possibly flea infested fur and mark their territory in foreign places, forever leaving your hotel room knowing that “Spot was here.”
Get Rid of the Spread: Ah, the hotel room bed spread. If there is one thing in the hotel room that hasn’t been cleaned in a while it’s probably the comforter, a fact that ironically brings you very little comfort. If you think about it, you probably don’t wash your home bedspread all that often, perhaps saving it for the “Spring cleaning” times of year. This is often true in hotel rooms: bedspreads aren’t washed with great frequency. The sheets, however, are washed regularly. Simply removing the bedspread, and cranking up the heat if it gets cold, can save you from sleeping under a blanket of germs.
Hotel rooms may seem impossible to keep immaculate: so many people circulate in and out that it’s hard to keep track of all the germs. But, the hotels reputed for cleanliness are often reputed for a reason: they are, in fact, clean. Limiting your traveling to these types of hotels can also limit your exposure of things to which you don’t want to be exposed. If you can’t limit yourself to hotels known for being clean, then simply travel with your own cleaning supplies, a hazmat suit, or, naturally, a giant bubble.