For the germ-conscious, the mindset upon entering a hotel room walks a fine line between the pampered world of room service and freshly made beds (gratefully made by someone else), and thoughts that could have you reaching for the hand sanitizer.
Microbiologist Philip Tierno, a clinical professor at New York University School of Medicine, assures that there’s nothing to fear. Once you know what to look for, your hotel room will be as tidy as home sweet home.
First things first – wash your hands. Tierno suggests giving your mitts a good scrub as soon as you arrive in your room to get rid of any germs you picked up during your travels.
Address germ hot spots such as doorknobs, telephones, tabletops and light switches by going over them with an antibacterial wipe and letting them air dry. “I usually bring a plastic bag to cover the TV remote,” said Tierno. In the bathroom, go over the counter, faucets, toilet lever and toilet seat.
Wash reusable glasses, ice buckets or coffee makers in your room before using them. You can use disposable cups and the plastic liner provided for the ice bucket.
As an extra precaution, you may also want to remove the bedspread or comforter. And if the hotel doesn’t use hypoallergenic mattress and pillow covers, ask for an extra fitted sheet and pillowcases and double up.
When it’s time to freshen up, Tierno says you’re better off with a shower than a bath, which can harbor germs that are not easily removed. In a shower, only the bottoms of your feet are exposed.
Whenever you take off your shoes, he suggests protecting your feet with hotel slippers or a pair you bring from home. “I would not walk around barefoot.”
Even at the ritziest hotels, hundreds of people have probably stayed in the same room. The key is not to overthink things. Unless it is visibly unclean, relax, settle in and use these strategies to keep your space hygienic and maintain peak health during and after your trip.
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