These hotel surfaces are covered in germs

These hotel surfaces are covered in germs

Upcoming travel plans? Think twice before you grab the TV remote control.

The remote control is one of the hotel room surfaces covered with the most germs, according to several studies conducted in the U.S., Canada and Britain. Researchers found that remote controls and light switches were heavily contaminated with bacteria, along with bathroom toilets, sinks and faucets.

And these are strangers’ germs, not the ones your immune system lives with back home.

Alla Gutina, an Advocate nurse and infection preventionist at Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital in Barrington, Ill., says hand washing and packing disinfectant wipes can provide protection. She carries a pack of wipes in her purse at all times, wiping down the armrests for herself and her husband on the plane.

In the hotel room, she uses them to wipe surfaces people touch frequently. She is cautious about touching the hotel’s elevator buttons, as well.

She offers this advice: “Avoid touching your mouth and eyes after touching items that could have lots of germs. That’s not only when you’re in a hotel room, but anywhere.”

Here are other hotel room items that may have lots of germs and some suggestions for dealing with them:

Hotel bedspreads and comforters: Although sheets and towels are changed regularly, bedspreads and comforters are far less frequently cleaned. If the sheets alone keep you warm enough, consider tossing the bedspread on a chair or folding it down and away from your face and arms.

Drinking glasses: Gutina recommends using straws. If you don’t have straws handy, wash your hotel drinking glasses before sipping from them.

Telephones: Although most people use their mobile phones to make calls from their hotel rooms, they still use their room phones to call the front desk and in-house departments. Use disinfectant wipes before handling.

Coffee pot handles, door knobs and hair dryers: Pull out the disinfectant wipes again.

As for that remote control, if you want to be completely safe, slip it inside a plastic sandwich bag. You can still see the buttons, but you don’t have to touch them.

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  1. michael burack May 14, 2019 at 11:35 am · Reply

    Do not forget the remote controls… We are selling a device for that…And what about shoe soles?….We have a device for that as well: both using UV…..

  2. Please discourage use of straws, unless they are your permanent “stainless steel” type. Oceans and ocean creatures are dying from plastic, including straws. Thanks for the reminder, and thank you Michael for including remote controls!

  3. I do not touch the handrails on escalators.

  4. Lets not get too OCD. Some exposure to germs builds our immune system. Statistics show most illness acquired by people come from airborne bacteria and being around someone who is currently ill. Yes, bacteria can last on surfaces for long periods of time but most are harmless unless you have a compromised immune system. Viruses can last only a very short period of time on surfaces. Just got back from Florida where they only can use paper straws, plastic is forbidden. I am more concerned about plastic water bottles which within ten years may out number the fish in the ocean. It takes over a billion barrels of oil in one year to supply the plastic for water bottles which could provide enough gasoline to fuel one million cars. Don’t be lazy, buy a stainless steal water bottle and refill it. The water tastes better and you will be helping the environment. You may think garbage collectors recycle plastic but a lot don’t because its costly, a lot just bury the plastic bottles. By the way, there is no evidence that bottled water is any healthier than tap water!

About the Author

Kathleen Troher
Kathleen Troher

Kathleen Troher, health enews contributor, is manager of public affairs and marketing at Advocate Good Sheperd Hospital in Barrington. She has more than 20 years of journalism experience, with her primary focus in the newspaper and magazine industry. Kathleen graduated from Columbia College in Chicago, earning her degree in journalism with an emphasis on science writing and broadcasting. She loves to travel with her husband, Ross. They share their home with a sweet Samoyed named Maggie.