The One Cleaning Item You'll Want To Bring Along For A Stay At A Hotel

We all do our best not to overpack when leaving for vacation or a work trip, but it's hard. There are so many things you think you might need, and you don't want to forget any item. Of course, airlines charge for checked baggage, and most people try to avoid it if possible — some even charge for carry-ons if you choose its lower ticket tiers. That means restricting liquids to 3.4-ounce bottles and placing them in a clear plastic bag is in your best interest. But that leaves little room for anything outside of toiletries and medication. 

What happens if you're trying to do the right thing for the environment or just want to avoid paying insane airport prices for drinks, so you opt to bring a reusable water bottle or other things that might need cleaning while in your hotel? How can you keep them sanitary? We've got a hack for you that involves bringing a soapy sponge without having to pack it as a liquid. 

How the hack works

This is a brilliant idea and probably one you've never heard of. Start by dousing a clean sponge from your kitchen with dish soap. Then, let the sponge dry completely. Once accomplished, cut it into a few pieces, store the bits in a Ziploc baggie, and pack them in your suitcase. When you're ready to wash your reusable bottle or dishware while in your hotel room, re-wet the sponge, and the soap will bubble up again. 

One thing to keep in mind here is that you should cut the sponge horizontally, especially if you're planning on cleaning out one of those portable water bottles. They're often long, with a smaller opening, so the longer side of the sponge will be more likely to reach the bottom of the bottle. Just make sure to let it dry again before you leave, or throw it out if you're not moving on to another destination before heading home. 

Hotel dish etiquette and tips

Some lodgings, particularly extended-stay hotels, have kitchen sinks with dish soap. Unfortunately, most regular hotels don't offer this convenience. This is why your portable sponge is handy when you need to wash the coffee pot or bathroom cups. Even at extended-stay hotels, the dishes and coffee pots might not reach the sanitary levels you're accustomed to. Per research findings, glassware and coffee pots are some of the top items the hotel cleaning staff aren't washing as frequently as they should. 

Another thing to remember is that while you usually don't have to do the dishes at an extended-stay hotel, it's courteous to rinse receptacles or soak any items that have stuck-on food at the very least. Failure to do so can be similar to leaving a large mess in a hotel room. Technically, you can leave it all for the cleaning crew, but keeping things organized makes you a better guest and decreases your likelihood of leaving anything behind.