The grimiest places in a hotel

March 11th, 2016 Category: Commercial

Some hotels can be strangely deceptive at the best of times. On one hand, they may look extremely clean and accommodating.

However, appearances may not always be what they seem. Indeed, you may be surprised to find out just how grimy your hotel is.

The cleanliness of a hotel room may not necessarily be determined by its neatness or the fact that there is not one speck of rubbish in sight.

The real test of hygiene lies depends upon how many germs it is harbouring. 

A number of studies published over the years have helped to unveil the real world of grime that is present in even the most innocuous of rooms.

Light switches

For example, a study published by the University of Houston found that light switches are often the most contaminated place within a hotel room.

Samples were collected from 19 surfaces in nine hotel rooms and tested for harmful bacteria including E.Coli.

Measurements were taken in colony-forming units (CFU) of bacteria per cubic centimetre square. 

It was discovered that light switches had 122.7 CFU for aerobatic bacteria and 111.1 CFI for faecal bacteria.

The remote

TV remotes were also found to be crawling with germs and were found to contain an average of 67.6 CFU.


This was perhaps the least surprising of all. The toilet and the sink were found to contain the highest number of bacteria, followed closely by the showerheads and bathing areas.

Maid’s cleaning cart

Even the cleaning equipment used by the housekeepers were found to be a hotbed for nasties, particularly on mops and brooms.

While this is hardly surprising, it does mean that germs are being transferred easily from room to room.


Perhaps the most worrying finding of all is that on 81 per cent of the surfaces, faecal matter was found, including on light switches and door handles.

Other findings

A separate study unveiled last year by Travelmath highlighted similar findings. It showed that hotels contained more germs than the average home.

They tested three, four and five-star hotels and swabbed the same objects in each room to compare results: the desk, bathroom counter, phone and remote control.

Surprisingly, they discovered that the more stars a hotel had, the filthier they were likely to be.

Travelmath outreach manager Cristina Lachowyn explained: “That was definitely kind of a surprise for us, because the five-star hotels are known for those extra amenities, the extra service, the extra luxury.

“So one would assume that the extra money you’re spending for those extra stars would also go into housekeeping!”