Coronavirus can live on surfaces for hours or days: Here’s how to sanitize your hotel room


Originally Published by USA Today
Author: Caroline Costello

Your hotel room is your home away from home, with a few exceptions: the hundreds or even thousands of strangers from every corner of the world who have slept there. And the hotel staff may not have the same standards of cleanliness that you do at home.

Having a sanitary hotel room is important under normal circumstances but with coronavirus cases mounting in the United States, it’s a crucial way of helping protect travelers from picking up the COVID-19 virus, which a new study authored by scientists from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institiutes of Health, Princeton and UCLA says can live on surfaces for anywhere from a few hours to days.

If you can’t avoid traveling – or are trying to make your way home – during the coronavirus pandemic, try the following steps to achieving a clean hotel room to help improve your odds of staying healthy – and lower your anxiety level.

Read the reviews

There are no international standards for hotel cleanliness. Price, location, or a brand name will not guarantee completely sanitary digs. So until some international “clean commission” starts sending out fastidious officials to size up squalid toilets in hotels around the world, your best bet is to find out what your fellow travelers are saying. Most travel and hotel review sites have cleanliness as a category for evaluation. The largest hotel-review site is TripAdvisor (SmarterTravel’s parent company) with user ratings of thousands of hotels, restaurants, and businesses around the world; you can also find hotel reviews on major booking engines such as Booking.comHotels.com, and Expedia.

Read the reviews

There are no international standards for hotel cleanliness. Price, location, or a brand name will not guarantee completely sanitary digs. So until some international “clean commission” starts sending out fastidious officials to size up squalid toilets in hotels around the world, your best bet is to find out what your fellow travelers are saying. Most travel and hotel review sites have cleanliness as a category for evaluation. The largest hotel-review site is TripAdvisor (SmarterTravel’s parent company) with user ratings of thousands of hotels, restaurants, and businesses around the world; you can also find hotel reviews on major booking engines such as Booking.comHotels.com, and Expedia.

Grab some supplies from a nearby store

First, you’ll need cleaning supplies, such as Lysol Disinfectant Spray or Clorox wipes. Not all travel wipes and cleaners kill norovirus, so if that’s your goal, read labels and pick a product that does the job. (Note that if you buy something strong or hospital-grade, containing bleach, you might also need to bring gloves and a mask to keep yourself safe.) Also, grab a box of large zip-top bags; disposable gloves and dish soap are optional.

Can’t find these items at the local supermarket or drugstore? Try home improvement or office supply stores. And if you or a traveling companion are a veteran and there’s a military base in town, try the PX.

Wash your hands

Frequent hand washing has been proven to reduce the transfer of colds and viruses, and will prevent bacteria getting from whatever it is you’re touching (why is this remote control sticky?) to your mouth, eyes, or nose. So even if your hotel room is poorly sanitized, washing your hands will help keep the icky germs at bay. Oh, and once you’re done cleaning all the items on this list, wash your hands again.

Ditch the bedspread and decorative pillows

You’ve probably heard this one before: Most hotels do not wash heavy bedspreads after each unique guest. The frequency of laundering varies from hotel to hotel, so if the idea of an anonymous stranger cuddling up with the blanket that now lies across your queen bed creeps you out, call your hotel and ask how often the staff washes the bedspreads. Or bring your own travel-friendly blanket and remove the hotel’s altogether.

Carry wipes

If you’re feeling a little icky in your dumpy budget hotel room or you just want to be extra cautious, simply hitting frequently touched surfaces with some antibacterial wipes could make your life a whole lot cleaner. Key places to spray for germs include the phone, door knobs, toilet handle, ice bucket, remote control, and bathroom faucet handles. Another option is to wave a UV wand over places prone to germs.

Clean all hard surfaces

Wipe down hard surfaces, such as the night table, coffee table, desk and shelves. You don’t need to do them all, but prioritize surfaces where you will set down things that will go near your face or in your mouth. (Think shelves that house glassware, or nightstands where you put your glasses.)

Wipe down bathroom surfaces

Bathrooms can be germ central, so spray or wipe down all hard surfaces, including the toilet seat and lid.

Wipe down all door handles and light switches

These high-touch areas are used by everyone in your room, as well as housekeeping and anyone else visiting your room. Give them a good wipe down on day one; you might want to revisit the task later in the cruise, as well.

Avoid the glassware

There’s no guarantee that your room glasses and mugs aren’t simply rinsed off under the tap by the cleaning staff, or even wiped down with the same sponge that’s used to clean other parts of the bathroom. The quick way to deal with this is to run your cup under hot water for a minute or two before using it; this will kill most bacteria. Or you can pack a travel mug from home.

Bag the remote

It’s common knowledge that one of the germiest items in a hotel room is the remote control – touched by many and with lots of crevices that can’t be effectively wiped down. Pick it up with a tissue or gloves, put it in a plastic bag and zip it shut. You can still operate the remote, but never have to actually touch its surface.

Read original article at usatoday.com.