How to make your hotel room cleaner so you can sleep tight

Get a better night's sleep during your next hotel stay by quickly wiping down your room. Take precautions against lurking bacteria and bugs.

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  • When I was a teenager, I worked for two summers as a housekeeper at a local hotel. My sister joined me, and we shared lots of laughs as we dusted, vacuumed and scrubbed our summers away.

  • I clearly remember my cleaning routine in the hundreds of rooms I tidied up. When I visit hotels now, I particularly recall the parts of the rooms that I never cleaned. Ever.

  • Typically, hotel maids have a checklist of what they’re obligated to tend to. Stripping and replacing the sheets and towels, vacuuming the floor, dusting the table tops, wiping down the sinks, and sanitizing the toilet and tub are part of the routine.

  • Considering the parts of the rooms that probably don’t often get attention, here is a checklist of what you can do as a guest to sanitize your next hotel room.

  • You’re not the only guest in the room

  • Who knows what types of germs (E. coli, anyone?) cover the many surfaces in a hotel room. Before you and your family make yourselves at home, take an antibacterial wipe or soap and washcloth to the places touched by thousands of fingers.

  • The doorknobs, TV remote, light switches, phone, refrigerator handle, ice bucket, toilet flusher and faucet handles are probably pretty yucky.

  • Be wary of reusable drinking glasses, as well. Who knows if they have been washed thoroughly with soap and hot water, or simply rinsed out.

  • The bedspread and blankets are likely dirty

  • What’s the first thing we do when we enter a hotel room? Usually, we plop down on the bed. But how clean is that bedding, really?

  • When I worked as a housekeeper, I don’t remember the bedspreads ever being washed. The sheets, of course. Clean sheets are normally a given in a room. But the coverlet or comforter and extra blanket in the closet possibly haven’t seen a washing machine in a while.

  • One solution is to strip them from the bed altogether and sleep in the sheets.

  • Beware of stowaways

  • Bedbugs have become a major epidemic in many hotels. Rather than setting your bags on the floor, elevate them on a table. Or, store them in the bathroom, where bedbugs normally don’t hang out.

  • Also, don’t leave your clothes lying on the floor. This decreases your chances of returning home with uninvited friends.

  • Wear slippers or shoes

  • Ever notice that the carpeting in hotel rooms is dark colored? Have you ever wondered how often the floors are shampooed? I have too.

  • Admittedly, I’m pretty squeamish. I cringe as my or my kids’ bare feet walk over dirty hotel room carpeting.

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  • Flip flops. Enough said.

  • The occasional night away in a hotel or inn is always an adventure. If you don’t worry about a little grime or bacteria, you’re lucky. You can relax and enjoy your stay. And you probably won’t return home with a fatal illness, anyway.

  • But if you’re like me and want an easier night’s sleep, take a few precautions and tend to the areas the housekeeper may have neglected.

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Megan Gladwell, a freelance writer and sometimes teacher, lives in beautiful Northern California with her husband and four children.


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