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How To Know If Your Hotel Room Is Really Clean

When you’re staying in a hotel room, you are probably often reminded that hundreds, if not thousands of people, have stayed there before; slept in the same bed, used the same toilet, and sat on the same lounge chair. If that thought alone is not enough to make your skin crawl, then you should probably also know that some hotels are only clean on the surface.

Of course, not all hotels are unclean. But how do you know if the one you’re staying at is truly clean? Here are some things that you can do.

Do your research

When booking a hotel, make it a habit to check their latest inspection score. Most hotels go through an annual inspection on cleanliness, and the scores can help you determine which hotel is clean enough to go to. However, if you’re booking a rental property, they may not be federally inspected, so tread carefully.

It also helps to check out reviews on TripAdvisor or similar travel websites. Read what others are saying about a particular hotel that you’re eyeing; you will likely be able to gain valuable insight into the hotel’s cleanliness factor from other’s experiences.

Do an inspection

Upon arrival at the hotel, look around and see if the lobby itself is clean. If the floor rugs are visibly clean and the surfaces are dust-free, it is likely that the hotel prioritizes cleanliness, and there is a good chance that the hotel rooms are also clean. However, it still pays to do a visual check when you get to your hotel room.

Resist the urge to jump into the bed just yet. Here are a few important things you should check first:

  • Bedbugs on the mattress, sheets, and headboard
  • Dirty fingerprints
  • Hair in the drains
  • Dirt or fingerprints on the water glasses
  • Visible dirt on the carpet

If you are unsatisfied with the cleanliness of the room, don’t hesitate to call housekeeping and do another sweep.

Trust your sense of smell

Unclean things usually manifest through unpleasant smells. So if you’re smelling something bad in your hotel room, it is probably not as clean as it seems. For example, if the curtains smell dusty, they probably haven’t been washed in a while and you’re better off not agitating them too much to prevent spreading the dust all over the room. On the other hand, if your bed smells off, then the sheets may have not been changed or properly laundered. In that case, ask housekeeping to change your sheets and pillowcases before using the bed.

The same goes for the bathroom. If something smells unpleasant, ask housekeeping to clean it one more time. After all, you’re paying for the room, and you are entitled to basic cleanliness at least.

Know what you shouldn’t use

There are certain things in a hotel room that usually don’t get cleaned or changed between guests. The most common one is the bedspread. When you get to your hotel room, throw it off the bed as soon as possible since bedspreads are often riddled with bacteria. The coffee maker and ice bucket are two other good contenders. You can’t be sure if these things were cleaned or used appropriately before you arrived, and you definitely don’t want to drink coffee out of a machine that was used to cook ramen noodles.

The TV remote is also rarely cleaned, so make sure to wipe it with an antibacterial wipe before you use it. Glassware is cleaned between guests, but it is usually wiped down with a towel that may have been used to wipe other surfaces. Thus, it’s safest not to use the glasses unless you wash them yourself.

A hotel room won’t be sterile, so be sure to bring antibacterial wipes and wash your hands frequently. Moreover, be realistic about your expectations and use common sense. If something seems dirty, simply don’t use it. Better yet, ask the hotel staff to replace it if necessary.


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