UH researchers find TV remote, light switch among dirtiest items in hotels

June 18, 2012 4:00:58 PM PDT
Before you head out on your summer vacation, you may want to invest in some antiseptic wipes -- not for your hands, but for your hotel room.

A new survey found some unexpected places in hotel rooms that are not exactly clean. A University of Houston student found some of the worst places in a room are places you touch every single time you are in a hotel.

The bedside light switch and the TV remote control -- two hotel objects everyone touches are also among the most contaminated surfaces in a hotel room, according to a new study. The research finds those two hotel room staples are often contaminated with fecal bacteria.

Traveler Marianne Soeremsen said, "Oh, It's gross, I thought it was clean."

Soeremsen and her friends are visiting from Denmark and are now having second thoughts about touching light switches and remotes that they themselves do not sanitize.

The TV remote and light switch findings comes from a University of Houston student who sampled bacteria on 19 common hotel room surfaces and 81 percent of the samples detected contamination.

Houstonian John Hernandez said, "Is that right? Nobody really washes their hands nowadays, do they?"

The hotel industry is not laughing at the survey. A spokesperson for the Hotel & Lodging Association of Greater Houston says hotels routinely review their sanitation policies, adding, "When reports like these do come up, however, it gives hotels the opportunity to review those policies and be ready to assure guests that safety and comfort are priorities."

Some travelers we spoke with say the trouble with bacteria is that it may be on surfaces and they would never know.

Houstonian Kelvin Bell said, "Because you don't have a kit there to test or anything like that so you would not know. And you know you are not going to smell it, because that would not even come to your mind. Yeah, that's nasty."

If you're concerned, take some antiseptic wipes and give the remote and light switches a good cleaning.

You can read more about their findings here: http://www.livescience.com/21007-hotels-bacteria-contamination-remote.html

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