Just Take Home Good Memories of Your Trip


How can you keep germs away from your hotel room? We used to travel, stay in a motel, wallow on the bedspread, walk around barefoot on the carpet, and never give it a thought. Now we are more aware- especially since we’ve seen reports of high class hotels with the nightmare of bed bugs, as reported recently on MSNBC, tales of guests taking home athlete’s foot from the pool, or bedspreads full of romantic history. All this can really fuel a paranoia that can take some of the fun out of a few nights away from home – and our own familiar germs.

What can you do - once you slide that plastic key into the lock and open the door on ‘your home away from home – where they left the light on for you’ -to keep the germs at bay? There are quite a few things you can do to keep from coming in contact with E.Coli, salmonella, rhinovirus which causes cold, hepatitis A or C, H1N1 virus, herpes simplex, or the fungus that causes Athlete’s foot, plus a lot of other unfriendly germs.

First, follow that old Boy Scout motto– “Be Prepared!”
Take plenty of hand sanitizer – like Purell on your trip. The 8 ounce dispenser size is more practical but do tuck the smaller size bottles into the kids’ backpacks and your purse. They WILL come in handy.

Wipe off commonly touched items in the room like:
Door knobs and locks
Light switches
Desk and drawer pull knobs or handles
Pull handle for the room drapes
Bathroom faucets
Toilet flush handle
Toilet seat
Shower knobs
Bathroom counter
Handle on room refrigerator, if there is one
Microwave door handle, surface, interior
TV remote control
Telephone handle and mouthpiece

Remove bedspread and put it away
The previous guest may have lain down with his shoes on, tracking in germs, dirt and anything else he walked on; now it’s all on that bedspread. Maybe his messy Pomeranian puppy slept on the spread.

Only use glassware that is sealed in plastic
Did housekeeping touch the rim of your glass with the same fingers that she just used to clean the toilet?

Put your ice into a plastic bag – then into the ice bucket -not directly into an ice bucket.
That same ice bucket might have served as the last guest’s water dish for his dog.

Don’t walk around barefoot in the room. Make the kids wear flip-flops or slippers.
You do not know when the carpet was last shampooed and you do not know if that Pomeranian puppy was really house-broken. Besides, who wants to take home a foot fungus?

Keep your tooth brush off that counter!
Even though you wipe it off, put the toothbrushes on a clean wash cloth or keep them in your overnight bag

Put your luggage on the rack or bench that is in the room.

Keep your bags off the floor – don’t make it easy for unwanted little critters to jump in for a trip back to your house.

Check out the coffee pot
Coffee fiends really want that first cup of coffee NOW and don’t want to trek to the lobby for the free cup. So if you are one of these folks, just wash out the pot before you use it. You can bring a little bottle of detergent along or the Purell sanitizer will do just fine. Be sure to rinse the pot thoroughly before making your java.

Look over the pillows and blankets
Hotels change the sheets but it’s likely that the blankets are not laundered between guests – the same goes for the pillows. Ask for new blankets if there is any soil visible or if it will make you feel more comfortable. Some people bring their own pillows from home. This is easy when traveling by car but planes present another problem.

Take the time to follow these simple little steps as they will ease your mind and will also decrease your chances of getting ill. Children can be enlisted to help and ‘cleaning up the room’ can become a fun task that teaches the kids about germs – and a bit of self-reliance.

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