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Hotel Cleaning Checklist: What to NEVER Touch in your Hotel Room

Hotel Cleaning Checklist: What to NEVER Touch in your Hotel Room

Typically when you walk into a hotel room, it looks clean. But, how clean is it, really? The truth is out! This hotel cleaning checklist will tell you everything you need to clean before you use it!

When you think of how many people stay in a single hotel room, it is no surprise that there are loads of germs, swarming around the entire room. 

Don’t let those germs get the best of you and your vacation. No one wants to be sick during a trip! Become aware of the germs lurking in your hotel room, and avoid those places like the plague until you can disinfect! 

I don’t mean to ruin future hotel stays for you by sharing just how gross they are, but you should know! Additionally, here are some great tips for booking the cheapest hotel possible!

Continue reading for more on our hotel cleaning checklist!

Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

Grossest places in your hotel room

TV Remote

Close-up of hand holding remote control

The TV remote is one of the top items to never touch in your hotel room, and should definitely be on your hotel cleaning checklist. Think of your own TV remote at home: you touch it every day, with or without clean hands, touch it after eating with sticky hands, sneeze then touch it, etc. And that’s just in your own home!

Can you imaging that happening with multiple guests, each week! It’s no wonder TV remotes are swarmed with germs, as they are rarely cleaned. 

So, what can you do? 

  • Wrap the remote in a zip lock bag or the hair cap to avoid touching it.
  • Wipe with an antibacterial wipe.
  • Avoid touching all together

Consider bringing a pack of these on your vacation, as you will use them frequently! Think about all the gross parts of airplanes!

Comforter/Decorative Blankets

White Bed Next to White Accent Table

Comforters and decorative blankets on hotel beds are rarely washed. Use your imagination to think of what could be on these comforters. 

Hotels do not wash them often because, well, they are big and bulky and more difficult to wash than sheets. Sometimes, they are only changed 4 times a year! Gross!

If there are any obvious stains or unwanted guests in your bed, be sure to tell the front desk immediately for a room change. However, given that everything looks clean, here is what you can do:

  • Put the comforter aside, and sleep with just the sheets
  • Bring some travel-sized disinfectant spray and go crazy with it
  • Avoid placing clothing and personal items on the bedspread


empty glasses next to ice bucket and coffee

Drinking glasses, especially if in the bathroom, are one of the grossest places in your hotel room, and are definitely on our list of items to never touch in your hotel room! Make sure you put this on your hotel cleaning checklist!

One study found that 11 out of 15 hotels across the country did not remove the glasses for additional cleaning. Gross! 

Many drinking glasses just get a quick rinse or wipe down with a cloth. You can imagine the number of germs here!

Here is what you can do to avoid germs!

  • Use paper cups if available
  • Bring your own water bottle
  • Clean the glass your self!


couch, table, and lamp inside hotel room

Chairs, sofas, or basically anything with fabric hardly gets cleaned in a hotel room, making it one of the items to never touch in your hotel room, so it definitely needs to be on your hotel cleaning checklist!

Guests eat on the chairs, leaving crumbs behind which could attract bugs. Many guests often sit naked, maybe even leaving stains behind! Think of kids and babies having accidents on the couch, or rubbing their dirty fingers and snotty nose all over! Use your imagination, I’m sure it has been done…

With that being said, any stains or signs of use are just dabbed away with cleaner until you can no longer see it. This is not necessarily cleaning, just masking the problem. 

Here is what you can do!

  • Lay a towel down before sitting on the chair/couch
  • Inspect for bugs before using 
  • Spray with disinfectant spray 

Coffee Maker

coffee maker, creamer, and sugar in hotel room

Making a cup of coffee in your hotel room might seem like a good idea, but it could potentially ruin your vacation. The coffee maker is one of the grossest places in your hotel room, even though it might look perfectly clean!

Between guests, coffee makers are simply cleaned up with water or a cloth, and the inside does not get touched often. 

One study suggests coffee makers have moderate to high levels of bacteria in them. Drinking all these bacteria in your cup of coffee is not a great way to start the day. 

Here is what you can do:

Room Key

person holding blank card

Just think about how many hands have touched each hotel key. You cannot really “wash” a hotel key, so you can imagine they aren’t wiped down individually in between uses! 

Hotels simply activate the room key for your room and hand it over to you. So many hands, purses, and wallets! Also, think about how many times room keys are dropped on the dirty hotel floor, and placed on virtually any surface in the hotel room. A LOT of germs!

Because you cannot wash a hotel key with soap and water, and there is no way to avoid using one, there are only a couple of options:

  • Place the key into a zip lock bag (make sure the scanner will still read it through the bag)
  • Wipe the key with an antibacterial wipe

Pillow Cases

white bed with white and red pillow

Hotel sheets are changed between guests, so you would think pillowcases are too, right? Wrong.

As gross as it sounds, hidden cameras have shown pillows being fluffed up and used again, with the same pillowcase. 

Who knows who used that pillow before you. Maybe they drooled on it, their greasy hair or face wiped on it, or BO! 

Here’s what you can do:

  • Bring your own pillow 
  • Pack some pillowcases
  • Ask the front desk for extra pillows- these are more likely to be clean

Light Switches/Door Knobs

Deadlock With Key on Hole

Even in your own houses, light switches and doorknobs get very dirty, very fast! It is no wonder then, that light switches and doorknobs are among the grosses places in your hotel room!

Think of those people who don’t wash their hands after using the bathroom, moms who just changed a dirty diaper, or tourists coming back from a night out on the town.

Whatever the case, be cautious about touching door handles and light switches until after you have cleaned them! Hotels do not have time to sanitize these parts of the room, but you do! Here’s what to do:

That’s all you can really do, unfortunately, unless you want to wear gloves the entire stay!


white telephone

If you think about how many people have used the hotel room phone, you can imagine why this is on hotel cleaning checklist.

Besides people touching the phone with their hands, the phone also touches your face. Be mindful of this before using the phone. Here is what you can do:

  • Again, wipe the phone down with a disinfectant wipe before using it. 
  • Or, just use your cell phone! Only use the hotel room phone if you need to get in contact with the front desk (or just take a walk down there)


Gray Socks on carpet

The last item on our list of items to never touch in your hotel room and hotel cleaning checklist is the floor. At the end of each customer’s stay, floors are vacuumed up, but not shampooed or deep cleaned. 

Any stains on the carpet are cleaned with spot cleaner, just until you can’t see the stain anymore (it at all possible)

Between bare feet, dirty shoes, and things falling on the floor, you don’t know what is in those carpet fibers!

Here is what you can do:

  • Never walk around barefoot: bring slippers or wear flip flops around the hotel room
  • Opt for rooms that don’t have carpet, if possible.
  • Try not let your belongings touch the floor

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