The One Spot In Your Hotel Room That Will Help You Determine If It's Actually Clean

We've all heard stories about how dirty things in your hotel can be. We've been told not to touch the TV remote and how many germs are on the phone. It's the last thing you want to think about when you check in, but it's important for your health and your family's health. Plus, we're all a bit more germ-aware after going through years of a global pandemic. If you've watched Gordon Ramsay use a blacklight in ailing hotel rooms on the TV series "Hotel Hell," you've probably thought about packing a tub-sized bottle of hand sanitizer. 

The best time to think about the cleanliness of your hotel room is right when you check in before you unpack and spread out your things. That way, you can transfer rooms easily if need be. The thing is, it can be hard to tell if a hotel room is just surface clean or if you need a hazmat suit to stay there at first glance. There is one item that Business Insider suggests you check as soon as you get in that can indicate if the room has gotten a lick and a promise or a real deep cleaning.

The first thing to check at your hotel

World traveler Annie Zheng told Business Insider that the first thing you should check in any hotel, no matter the star rating, is the electric kettle for tea or the coffee maker, depending on what your room has. It can often be last on the list of things to clean. Zheng said, "Poorly maintained or sloppily cleaned hotels will often have dirty, rusted, or outright moldy electric kettles." In fact, a study posted in Scientific Reports that was done before Covid said that University of Valencia's researchers "found bacteria in nine Nespresso machines that had only been used for a year." 

It might be a better call to wait on the coffee until you can hit a restaurant or coffee shop instead of using the pot in the room. More importantly, though, if your coffee pot is really dirty, it's worth finding another room or, in an extreme case, another hotel. At the very least, you'll know that if you have to stay, you should wash your hands a lot. It's also always a good practice to bring sanitizing wipes for surfaces when you can.

What else should you be checking?

What else should you worry about if the coffee pot is bad? We're not trying to scare you here, but there are steps you can take if you get stuck in a less-than-clean place. First, pull back the comforter or quilt. Those are very unlikely to be cleaned as often as you might wish. If you're staying at a pet-friendly hotel, cute as that is, it might mean even more germs. Pull the sheet up and over the edge if you choose to use the comforter so it doesn't touch your face or hands. Put a Ziploc baggie over the TV remote so you don't have to think about it, and use one as a glove to pick up the phone. Carpets can be another grubby place, so a cheap pair of flip-flops or slippers are a great thing to pack. 

In the bathroom, use disposable cups instead of the glass ones that are often on the counter. (Foldable cups are also really easy to find and pack.) If you don't have wipes, the bathroom counter is a potentially germy spot. Easy fix: Put a tissue or a washcloth down before you lay out your things. If you did remember the wipes, a quick swipe over the air conditioning vents and your room key (lots of fingers on that thing) can give you some extra peace of mind.