Coffee maker? Nope. Bed sheets? Nah. Toilet bowl? Not even close.
TV remotes are still considered the hands-down germiest part of hotel rooms, years after an initial study tested them for fecal bacteria as well as bacteria known to cause strep throat and staph infections.
BBC Travel recently polled frequent travelers on their most egregious hotel secrets. Respondents were quick to point out that the TV channel changer is grossly germ-encrusted. (To be fair, the light switch is even more germy, but remotes definitely cause travelers more willies.)
Most panic stems from a 2012 study that found the average hotel room remote has 67.6 colony-forming units of bacteria per square centimeter (a typical hospital standard is five). It's unlikely that hotel remotes have become less germ-laden in the years since, and travelers are still grossed out.
How do you protect yourself from this sneaky sickness agent? A few suggestions:
- Bring a plastic bag. Put the remote inside, and control it from there.
- Clean the remote with your own antibacterial wipes. "Natural" or plant-based wipes will remove the most germs, but traditional bacteria-fighting chemicals will kill the most germs once they're removed.
Or, alternatively, channel surf, wash your hands thoroughly and hope for the best!