When we waltz into a hotel room—be it a $30 bungalow in Thailand or a $3000 villa in Switzerland—we assume the space is going to be squeaky clean. A room that's spic and span is a basic, rightful expectation. Sadly, many fail to measure up. Between a revolving door of check-ins and time-crunched cleans, no room is impervious to germs. As a result, many hotel chains like Best Western have started programs using ultraviolet wands to sterilize high-touch items, even going so far as placing signs on top of remote controls indicating they've been sanitized.
No, we're not suggesting you travel with a black light or a microbiology entourage to test surfaces for superbugs. Instead, we've assembled a DIY cleanliness checklist to perform every time you hang your hat at a hotel.
Bonus tip: This checklist is not just for roadside motels; luxury hotels are not immune to cleaning misses either. Fun!
1. Let's start with avoiding most door handles. Open what you can with your elbows.
2. Put your bags on top of the luggage rack steering clear of the bed or chairs. In a worst case scenario, these upholstered areas could have bed bugs, and you don't want your suitcase to get contaminated.
3. Since we're on the topic, check for the tiny pests on the mattress and headboard, investigating each at eye level for movement or flecks that look like small flax seeds. If you notice something, leave the room immediately and ask for your room to be changed, or a refund to stay elsewhere.
4. Scan the bathroom for disinfecting oversights. Though the eye can't see all of them, occasionally they are visible. If all is well, place your toiletries on top of a tissue or towel on the counter to be extra safe.
5. Bring alcohol-based wipes to spot-clean any misses or hot spots you're planning on touching: door handles, light switches, remove controls, or phones.
6. Only trust your bed's comforter if it has been wrapped in two flat sheets (indicating it is refreshed for each guest). If you suspect the duvet cover could have been used prior, pull the sheets way up and don't let the duvet touch you!
7. Whether the room's floor is carpet, tile, or hardwood, bring washable slippers (or flip flops) to wear walking around. On the way home, cover them with a shower cap to contain any cooties.
8. Sipping water or wine from the bathroom or minibar's glass tumbler? Wash it with soap and water to make sure it's totally clean. If you're in a destination with unsafe drinking water, go over the glass with a wipe.
9. If your quick check for grime produces unsatisfactory results, call the front desk and ask for a spot-clean, or room change.
10. Above all, trust your senses if something looks, smells, or feels off. And remember to always wash your hands before touching your nose or mouth.
Photo credit: Hotel room via Shutterstock