Never Use This One Thing on Your Hotel Bed, Experts Warn
Travel pros toss these aside immediately out of concern over dubious washing protocols.
If you've ever watched a black-light exposé on a sensational news program, you might have a major fear of any dirty but unseen organisms potentially lurking within hotel rooms. On the other hand, one silver lining to emerge from the COVID pandemic is a heightened attention to cleaning and sanitization protocols, which is especially important for the hospitality industry as a way to instill confidence and reassure travelers. Still, there's one thing in a hotel room whose cleanliness you might not always want to blindly trust—even amid so much extra emphasis on keeping things spotless. Read on to find out which standard hotel room item still grosses out travel experts.
RELATED: See the Germiest Spots in a Hotel Room.
The duvet on your hotel bed might not be washed between every guest.
Even if you're not in a five-star hotel, you can safely assume that the sheets on your bed are washed thoroughly between guests. But that's not necessarily so for the duvet, says Brandon Berkson, hotel expert and founder of the new HAP Concierge trip planning service.
"Many hotels do not change duvets regularly," Berkson explains. "So, with that in mind, I often take off the duvet first, before anything. And, this is hard for me to do, being that I'm obsessed with sleeping entangled in my duvet at home."
If you're not sure about the cleanliness of the bedding, you can ask.
Keep in mind that the duvet is typically encased within a duvet cover, which you can assume has been fully cleaned in a top-end hotel. Washing protocols also vary from hotel chain to hotel chain. If you want to explicitly confirm that your duvet has been washed, research the hotel chain or ask the front desk about the policy. Some global brands publicize or promote their bedding cleanliness policies, USA Today notes, especially since COVID.
Beware colorful decorative bedding and throws.
Aside from the bedsheets and duvet, which are typically white in hotel rooms, you might see a decorative strip at the foot of the bed known as a bed runner, along with an array of decorative throw pillows. These typically come in darker, colorful, or patterned hues—and that's by design, so they won't show stains as they cannot be easily washed. Travel experts say you may want to toss these away from the bed instead of snuggling up with them.
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High-touch surfaces like TV remotes can also be sources of germs.
Other potentially germy items in a hotel room include the TV remote, which is a high-touch surface that many fingers before you have handled. Travelmath found that five-star hotels in particular had some seriously dirty remotes, with an average of 2,002,300 colony-forming units. Modern COVID-era protocols should take care of this: You might even find your remote encased in plastic to indicate it's been sanitized before your arrival. But if you're not sure, simply give it a good wipe down with a sanitizing wipe before use for peace of mind.