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Here’s What You Should Clean Yourself When You Check Into a Hotel Room

By Bennett Kleinman
Read time: 4 minutes

When staying at a hotel, sometimes ignorance is bliss — it’s probably best not to think too much about who slept in the room before you or what kind of mess they made. Thankfully, hotels have top-notch cleaning staff who tidy up the room and get it ready for each new guest. But with so many rooms to clean each morning, even the most talented cleaners may miss a spot here and there, especially if the staff is stretched thin. This begs the question: Should you clean your hotel room when you check in? There are definitely a few reasons why it’s worth considering — here’s what you need to know.

Bring Supplies

Traveler rolling suitcase into hotel room
Credit: Pattarisara Suvichanarakul/ iStock via Getty Images 

Some people might argue that cleaning your hotel room after check-in is more out of an abundance of caution than anything else. Even so, there’s no harm in doing a quick wipe down after arriving for a little added peace of mind. Rather than bother the front desk for cleaning supplies, consider traveling with a few small items that can easily fit into any travel bag. Some of the best products to travel with include Clorox disinfecting wipes, Windex pre-moistened wipes, and even microfiber cloths to do a quick dusting. And you can always bring a few more products if you’re feeling particularly germ-conscious.

Wipe Down Common Touch Points

Person wiping down sink
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Think of all the surfaces in each hotel room that are repeatedly touched during each stay, like light switches, door handles, the TV remote, the sink faucet, and the phone — the list goes on and on. While the cleaning staff may have quickly wiped down these areas with a wet cloth or duster, it doesn’t hurt to give them one more clean with some disinfecting wipes. Be sure to get down in the cracks and crevices that are harder to reach in order to ensure a thorough clean.

Swap Out the Bedding

Person changing bed sheets
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Even though it’s cleaned after every stay, hundreds upon thousands of guests share the same sheets and pillowcases. Furthermore, hotels use harsh detergents to clean sheets, which may cause irritation for people with sensitive skin. If you’d rather not risk sleeping on this type of bedding, consider bringing a set of sheets in your luggage. Just take note of the bed size when you make your reservation, and pack some sheets and pillowcases accordingly (there are also ultra-light travel versions you can buy). Then when you arrive, swap out the bedding for the sheets you brought from home that you know and love. 

Wash Glassware

Water jug and glasses in hotel room
Credit: Vladimir Razguliaev/ iStock via Getty Images 

Many hotels offer disposable drinkware to make cleaning up easier, but some still include drinking glasses in every room. If your hotel has actual glassware, it’s worth running each cup under the sink before drinking out of them. Just because there aren’t any visible stains or smudges doesn’t mean that the glass has been recently cleaned. For instance, a previous guest may have picked up a drinking glass, changed their mind, and put it right back in its original place. Nobody really wants to drink out of a glass that’s been touched by somebody else, so it’s best to just take some added caution.

Clean the Coffee Maker

Pot of coffee and coffee mug on table
Credit: Yana Iskayeva/ Moment via Getty Images 

Coffee makers can be some of the dirtiest items in a hotel room — you never quite know when the machine was last thoroughly cleaned. Before using the coffee machine to brew coffee, run several cycles with plain water to flush out any leftover grounds or other bacteria that may have formed. If there’s a nearby convenience store, pick up some distilled white vinegar and run it through the coffee maker for added cleanliness. Once you’ve done two or three cycles of plain water or distilled vinegar, you can sip your cup of joe with peace of mind. Alternatively, you can grab your morning coffee from the lobby, as those urns are typically cleaned more thoroughly and frequently.

Avoid Tracking in Dirt

Traveler entering hotel room with suitcase
Credit: Anchiy/ E+ via Getty Images 

Lastly, don’t forget about the germs you might be bringing into your hotel room. You’ll want to first take off your shoes in the doorway and keep them there for the duration of your stay. You never know what dirt you may have picked up at the airport or while walking around town, so it’s best to decide upon a dedicated spot for your shoes close to the door. For similar reasons, avoid putting your luggage on the bed. Again, you’re never quite sure what germs your luggage may have picked up at the airport, so avoid tracking them in at the risk of contaminating where you’ll be sleeping.

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