Germiest items in your hotel room include TV remote

Consumer Reports News: June 18, 2012 03:08 PM

Forget the bedspread. When it comes to germ hot spots in your hotel room, the TV remote is among the items most heavily contaminated with bacteria, according to a study that University of Houston researchers presented to the American Society for Microbiology.

The study also found high levels of bacterial contamination on the bedside lamp switch, while some of the highest levels of contamination were found in items from housekeeping carts, such as sponges and mops, posing a risk for cross-contamination between rooms.

For the study, the University of Houston researchers, along with researchers from Purdue University and the University of South Carolina sampled various surfaces from hotel rooms in Texas, Indiana and South Carolina. They tested the levels of total aerobic bacteria and coliform (fecal) bacterial contamination.

"Items like remote controls, bedspreads, hair dryers, telephones, and unwrapped drinking glasses endure a lot of handling and personal contact," says Consumer Reports senior editor Tod Marks. "When I stay at a hotel, first thing I do is remove the bedspread, take out a disinfectant wipe or hand sanitizer applied to a wad of tissue, and clean the remote. Always keep some handy."

For our recent report on hotels and motels, 22,481 Consumer Reports subscribers spent a collective 94,981 nights at 44 national hotel chains. As part of the survey, subscribers detailed their top gripes about their stays, but cleanliness didn't make the list, which included lousy lighting, poor heating or air-conditioning and uncomfortable beds, among other complaints.

For Ratings, ways to save, and a battle of the budget hotels see, Get the best hotel room at the best rate.

The study presented to the American Society for Microbiology is preliminary, and its findings have not yet been peer reviewed.

The Most Contaminated Surfaces in Hotel Rooms [American Society for Microbiology]

Maggie Shader

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