How to Tell if Your Hotel Room is Actually Clean

What is one of the worst things about traveling? Dirty hotel rooms. It can be downright awful when you have spent an entire day just trying to get from point A to B, only to arrive at your room and realize it is disgusting. What’s worse yet is spending time in the room only to find dirty clues later that the room was not properly cleaned.

So how do you really know if you your hotel room is actually clean?

Here are a few things you can check.

hotel room door open

Do Your Research

Before you book a room, be sure to read reviews and check out sites like Hotwire, JetRadarBooking.com and the like. If the hotel is notorious for filth, you will definitely read about it. If you get a mixed bag of reviews and still don’t have a good idea of its cleanliness, go ahead and give the hotel a call.

You can outright ask them what they received on their last “clean score”. Most hotels are regularly inspected and rated for cleanliness. Hotels will be more than willing to offer up that information, especially if they have a good rating.

Check for Fingerprints

Check light switches and door handles for fingerprints or dirt. If the room has really been cleaned, those frequently touched areas will be cleaned regularly.

The last thing you want to touch is an area filled with grimmy old fingerprints because it’s likely covered in germs too!

hotel bed and nightstand

Toss The Covers

As soon as you get in your room, head for the bed. I am sure you have heard this hundreds of times, but take the comforter off immediately. These are not typically washed often, so take it off and use sheets only. If you need more blankets, use the ones in the closet or ask the front desk.

With the comforter off, do a good inspection of the bed. Make sure everything looks clean, and there aren’t any bugs especially around the headboard (bed bugs like to hide there, too). Also be sure to take a close look at the sheets.

how to check if your hotel room is actually clean
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How do you tell if hotel sheets are clean? Make sure they look crisp and not crumpled or wrinkled like someone slept in them and the bed was just remade. A clear indication of this is to look for the fold lines. You can also use a travel blacklight for stains and perform your own blacklight hotel room inspection by including surface checks throughout your room.

If you have any doubt that the sheets are fresh, you can call the front desk and ask that they be changed.   

Hit the Shower

Do a thorough check in the bathroom starting with the shower. Make sure there is no soap scum in the tub or hair left behind in the drain. Look for mildew on the shower curtain or signs of mold in the corners.

Do a check around the toilet to look for stains, grime, or anything that should have been scrubbed away. Don’t just look on the floor – check the walls near the toilet for pee (gross).

The bathroom is one of the dirtiest places, if the room hasn’t been cleaned properly chances are you will find dirty clues in there.

hotel shower

Do Some Snooping

Once you are done with your superficial inspection, start looking in the hard to reach places. Lift up the night table if possible, just to see if there is anything gross underneath. Cockroaches love to hide in dark places so look in those dark, hard to see spots.

Look behind photos on the wall, in the closet, or anywhere else that isn’t easy to reach, which also means it isn’t easy to clean. Look at the spaces in between furniture. Make sure it isn’t dusty or littered with forgotten garbage.  

Do a Little Cleaning of Your Own

If you are an exceptional germaphobe, bring your own set of sanitizing wipes and wipe down germ-ridden areas to be absolutely sure. A quick hotel room cleaning checklist would be to make sure you wipe off:

  • the handle on the toilet
  • door handles
  • light switches
  • the TV remote
  • the phone
  • the bathroom counter
  • the bedside table
  • drawer knobs
  • closet doors
  • and any other area that sees a lot of use.

Also be sure to avoid using items such as the ice bucket or coffee maker. You have no idea how they were previously used or if they were properly cleaned. Best to just avoid them altogether.

TIP: I always carry a few wipes in a small resealable bag in my carry-on as they are great for wiping down plane seats and trays too!

hotel 595121 1280When in Doubt, Ask

You are the customer. If your room isn’t clean, you can always ask them to clean it again or switch to another room. 

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