October 5, 2023 | Sammy Tran

10 Gross Secrets Lurking in Your Hotel Room

10 Gross Secrets Lurking in Your Hotel Room

housekeeping and grossed out woman split image

Hotels are often seen as a home away from home—a place of comfort, relaxation, and luxury. Yet, behind the pristine sheets and gleaming lobbies, there are secrets that may make even the frequent traveler raise an eyebrow.

While hotels work hard to ensure our stay is memorable, some unsavory truths and peculiar happenings lie beneath the surface.

Dive with us into the lesser-known, and sometimes icky, facts about hotels you might never have suspected.

Remote Control Grossness

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Ever channel surf in your hotel room? Well, the remote control is often the dirtiest item! Many guests touch it, but it's rarely cleaned as thoroughly as other surfaces. 

Next time, consider using a disinfecting wipe before you click.

Not-so-fresh Glasses

Bottled water and drinkwareoleg_chumakov, Adobe Stock

Those glasses in your room? They might not be as clean as you think. Sometimes, housekeeping merely rinses them out or gives them a quick wipe, rather than a thorough wash. It’s better to rinse them yourself before use or request disposable ones.

Bedspreads Beware

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While sheets are regularly laundered, the heavy bedspread might only get a wash occasionally. Some guests toss it to the side, but if you like snuggling up, consider asking housekeeping if they have freshly-laundered ones on hand.

Pools and Hot Tubs

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While hotel pools and hot tubs may offer a refreshing escape, they're not always as clean as they might look. Even with regular chlorination, these shared water facilities can harbor a range of unwelcome microorganisms. Factors like inadequate disinfectant levels, imbalanced pH, and heavy guest use can lead to contamination. 

Pathogens like Cryptosporidium can survive in well-chlorinated water for days, posing a risk to swimmers. Additionally, hot tubs provide an ideal warm environment for bacteria to thrive if not properly maintained. 

Guests should always shower before using these facilities, avoid swallowing water, and consider wearing protective footwear around the pool area to mitigate potential risks.

Hidden Bedbug Histories

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No hotel is immune to the occasional bedbug infestation, from budget lodgings to luxury suites. Before settling in, it's always good to do a quick bedbug check by inspecting the mattress edges and headboard.

Elevator Button Filth

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Much like the remote control, the most touched button in the elevator, usually the ground floor, is a breeding ground for germs. Consider using a knuckle or a pen to press it or, better yet, have some hand sanitizer ready.

Bathroom Leftovers

Woman in a hotel bathroomMediteraneo, Adobe Stock

It's a disturbing thought, but not everything gets replaced or thoroughly cleaned in the bathroom. While towels and floor mats are regularly changed, items like the shower curtain can remain untouched for a long time. They can accumulate soap scum, mildew, and even traces from prior guests. 

It's also been reported by some hotel staff that the same cloth used to clean the bathroom might sometimes be used for other surfaces in the room, spreading germs. Always do a visual check before settling in and consider using an antibacterial wipe on frequently-touched surfaces.

“Clean” Isn't Always Clean

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If you find your room immaculate, it might be thanks to cleaning sprays, but sometimes it's due to strongly-scented air fresheners which mask less-pleasant odors rather than eliminate them.

Room Histories

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If walls could talk! Every room has a history that you're probably unaware of, from wild parties to more unsavory incidents. Of course, hotels are discreet and prioritize guest privacy, so these tales are rarely shared.

The Coffee Maker Conundrum

Young man pouring coffeePixel-Shot, Shutterstock

You might want to think twice before brewing a cuppa in your hotel room. The in-room coffee makers are not always cleaned properly, with some just getting a rinse between guests. It's not uncommon to find residue buildup or even mold inside. 

If you're particular about your morning brew, you might want to stick to the hotel's main coffee offerings or find a local café.

Jacuzzi Tubs

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At first glance, a jacuzzi tub in a hotel room might seem like the pinnacle of luxury, beckoning you to indulge in a relaxing soak. However, these inviting tubs might not be as pristine as they appear.

Due to their complex jet systems, jacuzzi tubs can be difficult to clean thoroughly. Over time, the internal tubing and nozzles can become a haven for mold, mildew, and bacteria, especially if they're not cleaned or dried properly between uses.

When the jets are turned on, any trapped residue and contaminants can be expelled into the water, exposing bathers to potential pathogens. If the tub's filtration system isn't maintained properly, the water can also become a breeding ground for harmful microorganisms.

To ensure a safe soak, it's always wise to run the jacuzzi with hot water and some disinfectant for a few minutes before hopping in or, better yet, consider skipping it altogether.

Final Thoughts

couple unpacking at a hotel roomMiljan Zivkovic, Shutterstock

Hotels provide a vital service for travelers worldwide. And while they generally strive for excellence, it's essential to remember that, like any other industry, shortcuts and oversights can happen.

By staying informed and taking a few extra precautions, travelers can ensure their stay is both comfortable and hygienic. Always trust your instincts and do a quick room check upon arrival, and remember: a little extra vigilance can go a long way to ensuring a pleasant hotel experience.


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