After reading this list of gross facts you will be booking into a monk's cell the next time you go on holidays, or you may never leave home again.

Have we all become just too precious for our own good?  I am sure a few people can remember eating bugs (in some countries considered to be a delicacy) in the garden as a toddler, but heaven forbid if you would find that happening now.  The immune systems of the 21st Century have been coddled so much that now it is necessary to pack antibacterial wipes for when you check into a hotel room.  Or, is it a case of mass germ hysteria?

The 7 Dirtiest Surfaces/Objects in Hotel Rooms - The Wise Traveller

Bugs and germs are everywhere, but you can lessen the chances of picking up a nasty one from your hotel room if you have some antibacterial wipes on hand and are prepared to give everything a quick wipe down when you first arrive.  Sorry folks, but to be super cautious you would have to do it after every time the maid comes into the room if you are pedantic about germs, as bacteria can be spread from one room to the next via cleaning cloths.

The dirty list for the cautious, the mysophobiacs and the germophobes:

  1. The fingertip/handheld items such as TV remotes, the phone and light switches, then head to all the door handles, as they are all swarming with little germy critters.  In fact the TV remote is said to be the worst - could be from the "sneezy" person before you or from other bodily secretions (depending on the hotel's viewing repertoire), which can't be mentioned.
    The 7 Dirtiest Surfaces/Objects in Hotel Rooms - The Wise Traveller
  2. That soft carpet you are walking on can hide years of built up grime, as the quick whizz around by the maid with the vacuum cleaner just doesn't cut it. In other words you may be better off keeping any mischief you want to get up to off the floor (it will also save you from grazed knees).  This is why hotels provide those flat slippers to shuffle around in.
  3. Crank up the air conditioning if you are cold (after you have wiped down the handheld control), as you never know when that luscious looking duvet or bedspread last saw the inside of a washing machine. You may then be playing Russian roulette if the air conditioning unit is dirty.  You will know if it hasn't been cleaned as you will wake up feeling stuffy - this is all the dirt particles spewing out into the room and filling your lungs.
    The 7 Dirtiest Surfaces/Objects in Hotel Rooms - The Wise Traveller
  4. Check to see if you are on the menu of blood sucking bed bugs before getting into bed.  If there are tiny dark spots on the mattress or sheets chances are you will have company playing in your bed, no matter what "star" hotel you are staying in, as dirt and bed bugs don't necessarily go hand-in-hand.
  5. Do you ever "wash" your couch?  I bet you don't, which is why antibacterial spray is what you need to arm yourself with and spray liberally.  The imagination can run riot over what people get up to on a couch in a hotel room.
  6. Those sparkling glasses may never get a good wash with detergent in hot water in their lifetime.  Most housemaids merely rinse them and wipe them dry, heaven forbid but maybe with the same towel that was just used on the toilet seat.  Ditto for the coffee pots. These are definitely items that without proper sanitization become breeding grounds for germs.
    The 7 Dirtiest Surfaces/Objects in Hotel Rooms - The Wise Traveller
  7. Steer clear of the water out of the tap when you are thirsty, as impurities such as lead and E.coli can be found in many municipal waterways.  This is why you have water in the mini-fridge at such an exorbitant price.

Yes, hotel rooms can be a party land for bacteria and bugs. Think of how many people have slept in that room before you walked into it.  A hotel is no different to everywhere else where germs gather.  It is just a question of keeping in mind basic hygiene practices with the aid of some wipes and sprays.  The first thing to remember is to make sure you wash your hands a lot.  

Not all bacteria will make you sick, as humans come into contact with thousands of germs every day and it is only a small percentage that are dangerous.

Gail Palethorpe, a self proclaimed Australian gypsy, is a freelance writer, photographer and eternal traveller. Check out her website Gail Palethorpe Photography and her Shutterstock profile.