Hotel Rooms… What’s Hiding Inside?

These are the shocking hotel cleaning practices and the areas in the room you should avoid


Despite regular cleaning, hotel rooms can harbor dark secrets and are often swarming with old skin cells, E. coli or unidentified bodily fluids. To the naked eye, many of the rooms look spic-n-span after being cleaned but just because you can’t see the germs doesn’t mean they’re not there.And after digging, we uncovered some pretty dirty secrets of hotel “cleaning” practices, hiding in the sheets, on your pillows, across the bathroom counter, in the glasses you drink from, pretty much everywhere.

So what should you be looking for?

When researching hotel cleanliness, we noticed a few areas of uncleanliness that are legitimately hazardous to your health. Off-the-charts repeat offenders included drinking cups and mugs, remote controls, light switches, faucets and, maybe the most unnerving, bedding. Dirt, mold, and germs not only hide out in dark, unseen crevices like air-conditioning vents, but can be found unapologetically out in the open.


On-the-spot pathogen tests performed in recent studies and others found that hotel room remote controls were breeding grounds for thousands of bacteria like E.coli (that means feces), staph, and the highly contagious and sometimes deadly MSRA, along with other dangerous germs. Investigations done with hidden cameras, the naked eye, and UV lights uncovered some nasty things under the covers, including nail clippings, hair, fluffed-but-not-changed pillows, and scores of unidentified fluids, also found on some seemingly spotless drapes. Studies have also found that many frequently touched spots like light switches, telephones, and faucet knobs are rarely cleaned, and thus become popular hosts of pathogen parties. And you should probably stay away from counters, glasses and mugs because they were also home to tons of bacteria.

Is it really that bad?

Glasses and mugs

Hidden cameras have revealed that hotel mugs and glasses are some of the dirtiest and most dangerous items in the room, this is because they’re often cleaned in the bathroom sink, with no soap, dried with a towel, and then replaced. Studies also show that a common hotel practice is to clean glasses with toxic chemicals like window cleaner, or while wearing the same gloves worn while scrubbing the toilets moments before. On top of that, the towels used to the dry the glasses are often dirty and some cleaners have been caught cleaning glasses with used bathroom towels or the same ones used to dry toilet seats.

Countertops, bathtubs, and other large spaces

Hundreds if not thousands of people have probably bathed in that same tub and the bathtub could be cleaned with a toxic cleaning chemical. Before only being wiped down afterwards, or worse, that it might be wiped down, like the glasses, with a towel used to clean the toilet. Because of the high-risk of cross-contamination from using the same towel throughout the entire cleaning process, these areas are also at high-risk for bacteria and other pathogens. Another surface that seems like a no-brainer for a necessity of cleanliness is the countertop and sink taps. But in reality, because of the high-risk of cross-contamination from using the same towel throughout the entire cleaning process, these areas are also at high-risk for bacteria and other pathogens.

Bedding and other linens

While many hotels change and wash sheets frequently, surprisingly, pillows, blankets, and bedspreads sometimes get left out. In fact, this unknown hotel’s cleaning schedule shows that it only requires bedspreads, blankets, and mattress pads to be cleaned once every three months. And disturbingly often our pillows aren’t changed which is really unhealthy as our eyes, mouth, and nose have direct contact with the pillows, putting us up close and personal to any germs,

Why is this happening?

The maids paid to clean the hotel rooms are usually making a meagre salary and often are short-changed on tips, which give them little incentive. And staff are usually required to turn over several rooms in a short amount of time, particularly in large resorts, causing corners to be cut. If a 1000-room hotel has just half of their guests checking out at noon, and new guests start checking-in at around 3pm, that gives a handful of cleaners only three hours to clean roughly 500 rooms. In addition to low wages and possible understaffing, some hotel cleaning staff may not be armed with the most sanitary supplies. We saw several housekeepers with one bucket for all their brushes, rags, sponges, and cleaners, which almost undoubtedly leads to hazardous cross-contamination.

Clean and simple tips to help you sleep at night:

If you’re really worried, you can rest easy if you adopt these methods sure you’ve got a clean spot to sleep.

– Try packing a few extras like antibacterial hand sanitizer, zip lock bags, and maybe even your own cup and pillow case.

– Grab the wash cloth from the bathroom, squirt some antibacterial hand sanitizer on it and wipe down all the trouble areas like light switches, TV remotes, door handles, phones, clock radios, taps, and toilet seats.

– Use a hand towel to cover the bathroom countertop before putting out your toiletries.

– Throw the throw pillows on the floor. Most likely, that’s where they’ve spent most of their lives.

– If you are still worried about the remote control, stuff it inside a shower cap or zip lock bag. Voila!