When we stay in a hotel room, the last thing we want to think about is it’s cleanliness. But according to a report from the University of Houston, we might well do well to add a bottle of disinfectant into your travel essentials whilst we’re taking a break.
After diligently swabbing hotel rooms in Indiana, Texas and South Carolina, researchers have labelled the Television Remote and Bedside lamp topped the list of items in a hotel room most likely to be contaminated by bacteria.
It seems that these two hotel room staples are most-commonly glossed over by cleaning staff, who might only give them a light dusting or polish. However, it would seem that many guests are handling the remote or lamp directly after using the bathroom – spreading bacteria.
Speaking of bathrooms, as expected, the toilet and bathroom sink were also high on the list, posting exceptionally high levels of coliform bacteria on their surfaces. By contrast, the headboard of hotel beds and the bathroom door handle were found to be the cleanest place in most rooms.
Katie Kirsch, an undergraduate who this week presented the results to the general meeting of the American Society for Microbiology, also said that hotel cleaning staffs’ mops and sponges were one of the main culprits behind the transference between surfaces, with Ms Kirsch also having the potential to cross-contaminate surfaces between rooms, too.
The conclusion of the study praised most hoteliers for their high levels of surface sanitation; but warned of the inconsistency between hotels. You might be surprised to learn that there is no universal cleaning ‘code’ for hotels – instead leaving it up to the best judgement of the cleaning staff, as well as spot-checks by managers and mystery customers.
Most researchers involved with the study suggested implementing the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) to the hotel-room cleaning process. HACCP is a NASA-developed system of cleaning and disinfection; designed to ensure the safety of food for astronauts – though it has been adopted by a number of industries.
Here at Total Clean, we don’t think contract cleaning needs to be rocket science – in the age of internet reviews and social sharing, a hotel with a bad reputation for poor cleanliness is soon outed.
The study is unlikely to become a landmark, however, as Ms Kirsch and her team of researchers feel a larger sample size would benefit the outcome of the study, as only three hotel rooms were tested in each state.
That said, if you feel compelled to give the TV Remote a once-over with a wet wipe next time you’re on holiday, we wouldn’t blame you…