• This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

How to Tell if Your Hotel Room is Clean: a Former Hotel Manager tells all

… This is a guest post by Mel De Vries of The Sleep Studies …

Did you ever get into a hotel or hostel room and you felt like need a black light before you even lay down your backpack?

For nine out of ten travelers, the answer to the question will be YES, especially if you are traveling on a budget.

After a decline in demand and gradual increase in global room supply that followed the recession and the 2006 market collapse, 2016 marked the seventh consecutive year of RevPAR (Revenue per available room) growth in the hotel industry.

How to tell if your room is clean

The world has never been “smaller” and travel has never been easier, which is great. On the flip side, the increased demand had a direct impact on the erosion of hotel standards. That especially goes for the exotic destinations we all love so much.

How do you know if your hotel room is clean enough for your stay? Should you be worried about the bed bug stories?

Below are some actionable tips that will allow you to know the answers, relax in your accommodation and fully enjoy the trip.

1.    Look it up!

Hotel reviews from guests can often be your first red flag that something is wrong. If several reviews mention that the cleanliness left something to be desired, it’s a safe bet to look elsewhere.

Most of the better hotels receive a yearly inspection for their cleanliness, and will be happy to provide you with the scores if you call and inquire about them. With so much competition, hotels can’t afford to get a bad reputation because of subpar cleanliness.

Online reviews can help let you know if your hotel is clean

However, many bed and breakfasts and small, local hotels do not get inspected. So, it’s even more important to look up reviews from past guests before committing to stay at one of them.

Some hotels belong to Housekeeper’s Association or the International Sanitary Supply Association. The ones that are listed with these associations typically have high standards of cleanliness.

2.    Trust your first impression

Take in the hotel as a whole. Do the grounds look well-kept? Is the lobby pristine? Do the elevators look like they haven’t been cleaned in years?

When you actually get to your room, check out the bed first. Get a good look at the sheets, headboard, and top and bottom of the mattress, too.

We recommend asking for your bedspread and pillowcases to be changed as soon as you arrive. These are commonly overlooked, and you want to make sure you have fresh linens for your stay.

Next, check out the bathroom. You’d be wise to look for any stray hairs or dirt pushed in the corners against the wall. Check the mirror for any fingerprints, and look at the light switch and door handle from different angles. These are commonly missed, so a sign of a good hotel is if these are wiped down. There obviously shouldn’t be any mold or mildew anywhere.

A clean bathroom in a hotel is a welcome sight

If you’re not satisfied with how clean your room is, don’t hesitate to call and have it cleaned again.

3.    Glassware, linen and the TV remote

The glassware is usually wiped off with a cloth at best, so it’s always a good idea to just use the individually wrapped plastic cups.

Go ahead and toss the bedspread on the floor right now. Typically, they don’t get cleaned between guests and become a breeding ground for bacteria. Use the pillows from the closet; they’re more likely to be freshly washed than the ones on the bed.

There are some easy signs to spot if your hotel room is clean or not

The worst culprit in the hotel room is usually the TV remote. Be sure to either not use it, or give it a good clean using a disinfectant wipe. Never use the coffee machine. There’s just no way to tell what the last guests used it for.

Play it safe by not using the ice bucket either; we’ve seen guests use them for chewing tobacco.

Be careful where you set your toothbrush and toiletry supplies. Housekeeping often uses the same rag to clean everything in the bathroom, even if it is against official protocol.

4.    Be vigilant, but chill

Germs are everywhere and there’ simply no way avoiding them altogether when travelling.

Use common sense and know that not everything will be sterile. No hotel room will ever be completely clean, but that doesn’t mean you should put up with obvious grime. Help people who will be staying at the hotel soon by posting reviews of your stay on travel websites.

5.    Come prepared

If you’re traveling to a corner of the world that’s notorious when it comes to budget accommodation, come prepared, especially when it comes to sleep.

Wherever you might go, you will likely spend most of the day outside exploring, but come night time, you’ll have to face whatever you left behind in that hotel or hostel room.

When traveling on a budget, there will be cases when you dread the moment of going back to your room.

It’s these outlier scenarios when sleeping on an air mattress will be your best bet. Today, they make them make them small and light enough that you can easily pack and bring one from home.

Alternatively, you can add getting one from a local store to your to-do list for the first day. They’re cheap and you’ll be the first person to ever sleep on it. If you choose a good one, chances are you’ll be taking it home with you.

6.    Don’t be afraid to ask

You’re the guest and you’re the one paying good money for your stay. So, don’t be afraid to ask for what you want. If something is concerning to you, let them know.

Bell at Hotel

If it’ll make your stay better to have the room cleaned again, then by all means call the front desk and have them accommodate you. Most hotels will be very willing to work with you and make your stay the most comfortable that it can be.

Use the tips above to take precaution, but don’t obsess about it

The tips we’ve covered above will allow you to be safer than 99% of travelers. What you should not do is develop a pattern of obsessive behavior about the cleanliness of the place.

It can become the focus of your trip and you’ll end up talking about the lipstick on the glass in the hotel room while you should be soaking in the experience of the trip.

As we said, stay vigilant but chill. It’s all about new experiences, not about hotel rooms.

This has been a guest post by Mel De Vries of The Sleep Studies

Want to check out some lovely (and clean!) hotels we’ve stayed at over the years? Our hotel reviews page is packed with great options from around the world. 

I also share why I now travel with my own pillowcase in this travel packing essentials story.

This post contains some affiliate links, so if you click on a link and book something I will get a little something to help pay those blogging bills, but don’t worry, it’s no extra cost to you.

We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.