Never Check In to a Hotel Without Requesting This, Experts Say
Not asking for this when you get into your room is a big mistake.
No matter if you're staying in budget accommodations or a luxury five-star retreat, there's no doubt that hotel rooms can be downright dirty. And even though many operators have become hyper-aware of cleanliness and hygiene in their properties due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there may still be some surprising blind spots in housekeeping practices. To keep yourself safe, there's one thing you should always request as soon as you get to your room the next time you check in to a hotel. Read on to see what you should be a top priority after arrival.
Request that clean glasses be brought up from the hotel's bar or restaurant as soon as you check in to your hotel.
After a long day in the sky or on the road, it's only natural to want to get immediately comfortable and unwind once you've arrived at your destination. But before you fully kick back, know that experts warn that you should always request a clean set of glasses for your room as soon as you check in. This includes water cups, coffee mugs, and wine glasses—even if they're covered with a paper cap.
According to experts, even if the glassware looks clean, there's a good chance they're teeming with germs. "I wouldn't be using the glasses in the room," Adrian Hyzler, MD, the chief medical officer of Healix International, a company that specializes in international security, medical, and travel assistance services, told The Washington Post.
Undercover reports have found that glasses in rooms often don't get replaced or cleaned by housekeeping.
It's no secret that housekeepers in hotels have their work cut out for them on any given day, tending to all sorts of messes left by current guests and sanitizing key features of the room after they check out. But while sheets may get changed and toilets may get scrubbed, drinking vessels are rarely swapped out as part of cleaning duties between guests, according to an undercover investigation by local San Francisco ABC affiliate KGO-TV.
"The drinking glasses in the rooms are not cleaned with any cleaning products. It's just rinsed with water and dried with a towel," one anonymous housekeeping worker posted on a Quora forum. "Housekeeping staff want to clean as much rooms as they can, so the faster you do it, the better. No time to thoroughly wash these things. Only the shower, bathtub, sink, and toilet [are] cleaned with cleaning products."
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Only use plastic-wrapped single-use cups in your hotel room or bring your own water bottle.
Besides requesting a fresh set, there are a few signs that the cups in your room are safe to drink from. Any single-use cups wrapped in plastic can usually be considered clean and safe to use. This has also become more common among hotel chains due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
If you want to be extra sure about hygienic hydration, experts recommend going one step further by bringing along your own reusable water bottle or collapsable cups on your next trip. These not only have the benefit of being more environmentally friendly but can also make it easier to bring your water along with you as you venture out of your hotel room.
Don't forget that your room's ice bucket is also probably pretty dirty itself.
If you do find yourself imbibing in your room, it may not just be the glasses you have to worry about. Research has shown that ice buckets also contain an impressive amount of germs, particularly because they're often used for things other than collecting ice—including as a place to vomit for a sick guest.
If that wasn't horrifying enough, an investigation conducted by public health inspectors in Minnesota found that because they're not required to be cleaned or sanitized in between guests, ice buckets are loaded with bacteria and are a hotspot for norovirus. Instead of risking it, follow the same tactics as glassware and call the front desk to request a bucket of fresh ice if you need any.