Are Bathrooms the Cleanest Places to Eat in Hotel Rooms?

It’s more than likely that you will stay in a hotel room at least once this year.

And we’re pretty sure that taking your meals into the bathroom while travelling probably doesn’t appeal to you.

In fact, just the thought of it is sure to gross you out.

But a recent study conducted by microbiologist, Keith Warriner, for Marketplace‘s two-part investigation of hotel cleanliness, included more than 800 “high-touch” spots that were tested in 54 rooms at six hotel chains.

Warriner found that because hotel bathrooms are the most thoroughly cleaned, they typically contain the least amount of bacteria.

However, duvets and mattresses are hardly ever (if at all) cleaned, making them the dirtiest places in a standard hotel room. Room attendants have often come forth and confessed that unless there are visible stains on the comforters… they never get washed.

Consider this: beds in hotel rooms are slept in by countless people. Yes, people even have sex on these beds and bodily fluids are sure to be left behind by previous travelers.

Unfortunately, these things often go undetected by attendants and therefore, you get the privilege of sleeping and/or eating beneath that comforter.

“When we step into a bed, we’re exposing our bodies to it,” Warriner said. “And we’re there for a long time. This poor comforter is getting exposed to all these different people, depositing their microbes down, and you’re just acquiring theirs. So it’s a significant transfer route.”

To prove that looks can often be deceiving, Warriner used ultraviolet lights to search for stains that would otherwise be invisible to the naked eye. In rooms that appeared to be clean, researchers discovered stains that could have either been beer or worse, urine.

Other “hot spots” such as the sink, toilet and remote control were tested using an adenosine triphosphate (ATP) measuring device to determine microbial contamination on surfaces. The findings were shocking.

Close exposure to such highly contaminated areas in the bathroom can be very risky, as they could lead to various illnesses, such as sexually transmitted diseases or urinary tract infections.

Check Safety First, a firm that offers health and safety risk management systems to hotels, found that one in five women tend to suffer from some form of illness during a hotel stay.

Warriner also uncovered antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria in the rooms examined, such as methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).

“I was absolutely amazed to see how high those [ATP] counts were!” exclaimed Warriner. “They were beyond the sort of limits that you would accept even as a moderately sanitized surface. Those ATP counts, both in the comforters, and all around the hotel to be honest, were very alarming. I wasn’t expecting the bacteria to be so prolific.”

So, why are these rooms so dirty?

Apparently, the hotel staff are often burdened with so many tasks that they are unable to finish the job. And in a twist of irony, it was found that the cleaning supplies the housekeepers used, such as mops and rags, were among the worst. Germs are carried over from one room to the next, actually making it filthier.

It doesn’t matter where you stay, whether it be an economy priced room or a penthouse, your hopes are that you will open the door to cleanliness. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case.

You’d be surprised to know that high-end hotels were no cleaner than “roach” motels.

And we didn’t even have to get into the bed bug issue.

Okay, we’re never staying in another hotel, ever! Just kidding. We’ll just make sure to bring along our box of Clorox Disinfecting Wipes to kill these disgusting hotel germs.