Stay Healthy in Hotels

Beware of germs in hotel rooms; take sensible precautions.

By FamilyTime


We think nothing of traveling for business, to a cousin’s wedding, to visit folks during the holidays, or to see an old friend. And we love to take our kids along whenever possible.


All this travel means that many of us stay in hotels and motels along the way. If we’re lucky, they offer comfortable rooms with big, soft beds and perhaps an inviting pool where the kids can blow off steam.


They also harbor germs and it’s the savvy traveler who takes a few precautions to insure that she and the rest of the family stay healthy.


What’s the Worry?

Most experts agree that there is not much chance of getting sick from a hotel or motel room. But nonetheless, studies have shown that germs lurk in the rooms, even after they have been cleaned.


Recent studies have shown that cold viruses linger on hard surfaces, such as bathroom faucets, lightswitches, telephones, and remote controls. Other places where they have been found are shower curtains, alarm clocks and coffee makers.


Germs tend to dry out more readily on soft surfaces, such as bedspreads, carpets, and drapes and so these are not apt to carry much risk. Still, it’s wise to remove the bedspread when you lounge on the bed as it is not cleaned too often.


What to Do

While it's not too likely you will get sick from a hotel room, a few commonsense practices will help prevent you from catching a cold or another virus.


  • When you enter the room, check to see if it has been well cleaned. If not, call housekeeping and ask for another cleaning. If you see crumbs on the rug, streaks on the mirror, or find crumpled tissue under the bed, you have reason to complain.
  • Carry antiseptic wipes with you and use them to wipe the phone, the television remote, and maybe the faucets or lightswitch plates.
  • Bring a pair of rubber flip-flops to wear in the shower or on the bathroom floor. You may not feel the need for these, but in some situations you will be very glad you have them.
  • Ask for an allergy-free room. Not all hotels offer these, but those that do make sure the rooms are relatively dust free and that the beds are equipped with special mattress covers and pillow cases. You may not have allergies, but these rooms are cleaner.
  • Finally, wash your hands often. This is the best way to prevent getting colds, wherever you might be. It’s especially important when you travel; you never know what germs are present and you might be tired and little run down and more susceptible, too.

In the end, there’s no reason to be overly concerned. Most hotels and motels are clean and happy to have you as their guest. Be sensible and enjoy yourself!