The Dirty Low-Down – Checking Your Hotel Room Cleanliness

These days hand sanitizer is a common item on back-to-school-shopping lists, and liquid soap that is not antibacterial is passed over by most shoppers. Even the most “normal” folks out there have become somewhat germophobic, but many fail to realize the icky-ness that is potentially lurking in their hotel rooms.

Hotel room cleanliness

Whether you travel regularly for business or enjoy the occasional vacation with your family or significant other, chances are that you have spent at least one night in a hotel somewhat recently. From extravagant inclusive resorts to roadside motels, here are five things to watch out for.

1. Registration Desk

You never get a second chance to make a first impression! When you first arrive at the hotel, give the registration area a quick once-over. Does it appear to be organized and, well, clean? Are you greeted properly? This can give you a good idea of the facility in general. If supplies and paperwork are in shambles or the employees look disheveled and act crabby toward customers, the rest of the facility may be treated in the same manner.

2. Dirty Floors and Carpets

The occasional spill that needs to be mopped up is one thing. Filthy tile floors and dirty grout are another. If hard floors, carpets or rugs throughout common areas look worn or dirty, there’s a fairly good chance the carpet in your hotel room will make the bottom of your white socks turn gray. Keep your eyes peeled. If the carpet is dirty, who knows if the bathroom has been cleaned?

3. Sheets and Duvets

When you spend money to lodge somewhere, you probably assume that your linens are clean. In most hotels this is the case, but just because the bed is made doesn’t mean it was made with clean sheets. Give your sheets and comforters a quick perusal (and even a quick sniff!) if you want to be certain. Do seams appear gray or dark? They just might be dirty.

4. Mattress

Bed bugs feast on human blood, and they primarily eat while their “host” is sleeping. They can live in cracks and crevices or any area small enough for them to hide, but they are most often found in beds as their name implies. An increase in international travel and the growing use of “green” pesticides has been suspected for their recent resurgence, so pull those sheets back and take a peek for any black or brown dots when you get to your hotel room. Bed bugs can spread quickly if they hop into your luggage. You never know who was in that room before you and where their suitcases have been.

5. Doorknobs and Remotes

Door knobs and remote controls have a tendency to be among the dirtiest items we touch on a regular basis. Although the ones in hotels are not necessarily any yuckier than the ones in your own home, you don’t know who was touching them before you were or where their hands had been before they touched those items! You can ask housekeeping to clean them in your presence if you’d like, but it wouldn’t hurt to wipe them off with an antibacterial wipe yourself.

Whether you are traveling through the Netherlands or visiting North Dakota, germs are out there. It’s a fact of life. If you take common precautions and give your hotel a visual inspection, you should be good to go. Enjoy your vacation!

Photo License: Creative Commons image source

Lorena Starkey works with Hyatt House in Minot, ND focusing on guest comfort and enjoyment of their stay.


  1. Hotel filth seems to really not abide by a star system. Some of the worst stuff I’ve seen has been at very very nice properties.

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