Everyone has heard the horror stories about what lights up when you pass a typical hotel room under the omniscient gaze of a black light. Fretting about the monsters under the bed isn’t nearly as frightening as contemplating the last time the bedspread was washed.
Getting a clean hotel room is often left up to chance, unless you commit to job shadowing the housekeeping staff in the weeks before your stay. There are ways to improve your chances of having a clean room, however.
Mostly, this comes down to two things: the research you do before you come, and the things to do while staying at a hotel to keep other people’s germs in check.
Before you stay at a hotel, there are some areas to research. First, check out the reviews. There aren’t really agencies enforcing your standard of clean, but the comments of other guests will reveal a lot about the cleanliness of the hotel you are considering.
In addition, a big part of it is what country you are visiting on your hotel stay. According to a Wall Street Journal, in an article compiling data from Hotel.info, Rio de Janeiro has the filthiest hotel rooms (followed by London, Oslo, Amsterdam, Copenhagen and Paris); the cleanest hotels were often in Asian cities (Tokyo was the cleanest, with Seoul and Bangkok in the top 10), or Eastern European (Warsaw, Bratislava and Sofia made the top 5). So depending on where you are staying, you may need to be more vigilant.
Asking questions is also important before you commit to a room. How often do they wash the bedspread? What is their policy about room changes, or bed bugs? These are unpleasant thoughts, but important to ask if you cleanliness is important to you.
Once you are in the hotel, there are a few things that you can do to keep your experience as ick-free as possible. The first is to make sure that you check the room – look for hair, or stains, and check to see if all of your toiletries are new or sealed.
It’s also incredibly important to simply ensure that you are regularly, and thoroughly, washing your hands. No matter how vigilant you and the housekeeping staff are, you are going to come into contact with germs, so washing your hands is the first step in keeping clean.
You might also consider removing the bedspread from the bed and using your own blanket, or just the sheets. Bedspreads are notoriously seldom washed, so unless you were satisfied that your hotel washes them after each guest, it might be best to avoid cuddling up to them.
Consider bringing a sealed container of antiseptic wipes to take care of commonly touched, but seldom washed items, like TV remotes and alarm clocks. And always give glassware a liberal rinse in hot water before using them.