When you travel, there’s no way to avoid germs completely. The plane and airport, for instance, are full of germ-infested surfaces. But don’t think you’re out of the woods once you land and high-tail it out of the airport, either.
As Time reports, studies of hospital cleanliness have recommended an upper limit of 5 colony-forming units of bacteria per cubic centimeter squared — which is a much lower level than what you’ll find on many surfaces in your hotel room. If you’re planning to rest your head at a hotel, you can count on being surrounded by lots of germs and bacteria. From the moment you flick on the light switch to when you kick back with the TV remote at bedtime, you’re touching some of the dirtiest surfaces in the room.
Hotels offer plenty of freebies, but maybe they should start handing out bottles of hand sanitizer! Below, check out the germiest spots in your hotel room.
14. Headboards, curtain rods, and bathroom door handles
How much bacteria? Not reported, but these surfaces had the lowest level of contamination. Go figure!
Time reports that researchers at Purdue University and the University of South Carolina tested hotel rooms for total aerobic bacteria. (That includes the bugs known to cause illness like streptococcus and staphylococcus, plus fecal bacteria.) While some surfaces are pretty gross (more on that in a minute), the researchers also shared some findings on the hotel room surfaces that had the lowest level of contamination, according to their tests. Those least-contaminated surfaces included headboards, curtain rods, and — surprisingly enough — bathroom door handles.
They also note that even if you do touch the most-contaminated surfaces in the room, you probably won’t get sick. That being said, bringing along some hand sanitizer — and perhaps some sanitizing wipes for particularly iffy surfaces — also won’t hurt.