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Your Worst Fears Confirmed: There's Poop All Over Your Hotel Room

June 18, 2012 at 9:09 AM | by | ()

We've long known that hotel rooms, even the most expensive ones, can't always be completely germ, stain or hole-free but a new report from ABC News's "Medical Unit" has us thisclose to buying our own personal germ zapping blacklight wand.

Researchers from the University of Houston swabbed 19 hotel room hideouts, from door handles to headboards, and found the fecal bacterium E. coli hiding on 81 percent of the surfaces, including the remote control, the telephone and the bedside lamp.

We've long avoided touching the remote control by either placing a shower cap over it or wiping it down (and thanks to the Lodgenet iPhone app we can avoid the remote entirely) but we never thought about the telephone, where we make our room service calls, or the bedside lamp. Gag.

As it turns out, the folks responsible for flinging the poo are not just the guests who stayed in the room before you but also the housekeepers. Apparently, bacteria was found on the mops and sponges they use to clean the hotel rooms. Oh dear lord.

So what's a traveler to do? Well, you could avoid hotels completely but that's no fun. Here are HotelChatter's Tips for a Cleaner Hotel Stay:

· 1. Stay at New Hotels. Pick hotels that have just recently opened. The less people that have been in that room before you, the better. Similarly, look for hotels that have undergone recent room renovations. Having newer sheets might help you sleep more soundly.
· 2. Choose Smaller Hotels. Again, smaller hotels will have less guests traipsing all over the place. Also, housekeepers will be cleaning less rooms in a single shift and hopefully, giving the rooms some extra TLC and 409.
· 3. Splurge. It's not always guaranteed that a luxury hotel will have cleaner hotel rooms but it's more likely. You can also splurge on a larger room or suite at your regular hotel as those rooms are used less frequently.
· 4. Consider a Best Western: Last month, the budget chain announced that it will be equipping its housekeepers with germ-zapping blacklights to ensure those nasty germs are gone before the next guest arrives.

Got some helpful cleaning tips to share with your fellow hotel guests? Put 'em in comments below!

Archived Comments:


I'm telling ya, Lodgenet is where it's at. Best hotel tech experience I've had in a while! Getting to control the TV from my iPhone was such a weird, unexpected bliss--since then I just dream about how one day I can control everything else in my life with an iPhone too.  

Cleaning Tips for Horrified Guests

As a Microbiologist's daughter, I was taught to bring these cleaning supplies while traveling, to take care of E. coli and other horrors lurking in my hotel room:

  1. Hibiclens surgical scrub:  (Chlorhexidine gluconate solution 4%) This antiseptic/antimicrobial skin cleanser can be diluted with water to clean/rinse any hard surface. Downside: iodine is active ingredient, can stain red color on soft surfaces, such as fabric or carpeting. Great for washing hands after touching tainted hotel doorknobs, remotes prior to cleaning. The 4oz bottle be bought over the counter at most drugstores. Walgreens carries a  box of single use , foil wrapped wipes that contain a solution rather than a lathering soap; these are useful for travel, if not as as multipurpose as liquid Hibiclens.

  2. CVS Hand Antiseptic Foam (62% Ethyl Alcohol): This hospital grade formula of Aerosol Foam is like a Purell Souffle. Colorless and almost odorless, you can put this on hard or soft surfaces. It dries quickly, can be dabbed with a Kleenexor sprayed directly. The 5.4oz can we use is a generic CVS product, other drugstores do their own versions. Of course, there is always Purell or any other gel sanitizer, this foam formula is just easier to apply.

  3. Vodka. If you are stuck without any of the above antiseptics, open your mini bar. Vodka is a colorless, odorless alcohol that can kill many microbs. When Kirstie Alley was on Oprah, she told of cleaning houses using Vodka. We have heard of many hotel toilets being freshened by Vodka wielding guests.

Good luck chasing E. coli from your hotel room!