Hotels cater for thousands of tourists every year and unfortunately, the room might not always be cleaned as thoroughly as people would like. Dr Primrose Freestone, a senior lecturer in Clinical Microbiology at the University of Leicester, has exposed the areas where tourists are most at risk.
Dr Freestone wrote in the Conversation: “Whoever has stayed in your room prior to you will have deposited bacteria, fungi and viruses all over the furniture, carpets, curtains and surfaces.”
According to Dr Freestone, the risk of picking up germs depends on how well the room was cleaned by hotel staff.
Tourists will even be at risk before they’ve entered their hotel room, as the hotel lift is a hotspot for germs.
The lift’s buttons are “pressed all the time by many different people” and this could “transfer microorganisms”, according to Dr Freestone.
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Door handles can also be a hive of germs and Dr Freestone recommends tourists use sand sanitiser or wash their hands before eating or touching their face.
While many tourists fear the toilet, Dr Freestone said the bathroom is actually one of the cleanest areas in the room.
Hotel staff will nearly always clean the bathroom thoroughly between guests, making it less likely to harbour germs.
However, Dr Freestone recommends cleaning a reusable cup before using it as it might have been missed during cleaning.
Pillow cases and sheets will pretty much always be changed between guests, unless you’re extremely unlikely.
However, the bedspread is far less likely to be washed between guests and could be a hive of bacteria.
Dr Freestone warned: “These fabrics may become invisible reservoirs for pathogens, as much as a toilet seat.”
She added that other soft furnishings such as curtains, blinds and cushions are also less likely to be cleaned between guests.
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The room’s phone, kettle and coffee machine could also be germ magnets and viruses can live on surfaces for days.
Dr Freestone also warned tourists to watch out for bedbugs which are “experts at excreting themselves into narrow, small spaces, remaining dormant without feeding for months”.
Bedbugs are most likely to lurk in the corners and crevices of beds or could get onto a person’s luggage.
The microbiologist recommends tourists take slippers or thick socks to wear in the room and wash and sanitise their hands regularly.
Although tourists might expect a five star hotel to be cleaner, Dr Freestone warned this isn’t always the case.
She said: “As higher-status hotels tend to have more frequent room usage, a more expensive room at a five star hotel does not necessarily mean greater cleanliness, as room cleaning costs reduce profit margins.
“So wherever you’re staying, take with you a pack of antiseptic wipes and use them on the hard surfaces in your hotel room.”
A former hotel worker recently told Reddit there are a few areas that cleaning staff often miss during checks.
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