Flight Attendant's TikTok Explains Why You Should Never Rest Your Head On A Plane Window

Picture this: You've woken up at dawn, survived going through TSA after sussing out the fastest security line, and avoided getting overcharged for a simple bottle of water. Now, you're finally sitting in your assigned seat waiting for take-off when the urge hits — you just need to take a nap. That said, finding the perfect position to catch some mid-air shut-eye can sometimes feel like hitting the jackpot. Confident in what you're doing, you lean back, shut your eyes, and let yourself fall toward the window. Perfection, right? Think again.

According to a TikTok video posted by flight attendant @tommycimato, resting your head on a bare plane window might give you a lot more than you bargained for. And no, we don't necessarily mean a crick in your neck or a rude awakening during turbulence.

The reality? Plane windows are a lot dirtier than you think. Whether it's traces of sneezes and coughs that never quite wiped off or kids plastering their sticky hands all over the pane for a "better look" at the outside, plane windows are a hub of unwanted germs, grime, and who-knows-what just waiting for the chance to hop onto your skin.

Why are plane windows so dirty?

Despite the airline's efforts to maintain a clean cabin environment, the truth is that most planes aren't cleaned as deeply or as often as you imagine in between flights — especially if the aircraft is docking for less than eight to 10 hours. In fact, on most occasions, airlines will simply have the crew perform what's called a "turnaround" or "turn" clean in order to keep things on schedule. Put simply, a "turn clean" typically involves a quick process of picking up any leftover garbage, wiping down the lavatory and galleys, and putting magazines and seatbelts away.

This ultimately means all the other high-traffic areas on an airplane — including the infamous seat-back pockets and tray tables, known for being some of the dirtiest spots overall — get overlooked until the next thorough clean, which could be weeks away. As for windows, it also means that cleaning each individual pane thoroughly just isn't a top priority (or an option) for the on-land cleaning crews.

Taking cleanliness into your own hands

Don't worry, though — the fact that certain cleanliness standards can get overlooked in between flights doesn't mean you need to don a full hazmat suit and gloves next time you board your flight. For one, a great place to start is to bring your own sanitizing wipes. These are TSA-approved to pack in your carry-on and can quickly save you from touching any unwanted germs left behind by previous passengers. A few spots you should focus on cleaning before settling include your armrest, tray table, TV screen and control, and — yeah, you guessed it — the window and all of its surrounding area.

Additionally, Lysol spray is also permitted by the TSA as long as you're following the 3-1-1 liquids rule: containers with 3.4 ounces or less, secured in a single zip-loc bag. Much like the wipes, spray down any touchable areas before using them and then wipe them down with a napkin, tissue, or — if you're feeling particularly germaphobic — a disinfecting wet wipe. Buckle up germs, it's about to get bumpy.