Hotel Secrets: Insider Reveals 10 Dirty Details to Know Before You Book Your Next Room

An NBC4 I-Team investigation uncovered four out of five hotels we tested did not change some items like the sheets and towels in between guests. So how can you guarantee your next room is clean?

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Tomsky: The TV remote and in-room telephone. Lots of germs, bacteria end up on these and they don’t always disinfect them. Also, the decorative pillows. The pillows are rarely cleaned and constantly tossed from the bed to the floor and back to the bed. If it looks like it would be hard to clean in your own house it’s hard to clean in hotel room.

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Tomsky: Everything happens in hotel rooms. People die, sometimes on purpose. Remnants of a sexual fetishes or kinks. Basically, a lot of blood, feces, and sexual fluids. All of them, and sometimes all of them at once.

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Tomsky: Start with first impressions. The cleanliness of the lobby and public areas are great indicators. If a hotel doesn't seem to care that the lobby looks used, tired, and dirty, they probably feel the same way about the hotel rooms above it.

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Tomsky: If it's plastic and it's wrapped, it's safe. If it's glass, consider this: Unfortunately housekeepers have to clean the glasses in the hotel rooms themselves. And they use what they have been given to do this: sometimes it's nothing. Sometimes it's shampoo. Hot water. Sometimes even furniture polish can give it a nice, um, clean look. Don't drink out of glassware.

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Tomsky: Failures in this category can come from several sources. Perhaps the particular housekeeper is having a bad day and felt compelled to cut corners in order to leave work as fast as possible. Perhaps the hotel is so understaffed in general they don't even have the work force needed to either wash or change the sheets and towels.

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Tomsky: The management! Are they providing the housekeeping department with the necessary tools to even do their job well? Are they training new hires properly? Are they hiring employees who actually care about doing a decent job? Are they running constant, random inspections to make sure everyone currently on staff is maintaining standards of cleanliness?

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Tomsky: Take the throw pillows off the bed immediately. If you think the remote is unclean (which it probably is) put a shower cap over it. Hotels also love to take the toilet paper and tissues and give it that origami-style triangle tip. Throw that part in the trash immediately because it's obviously been manipulated by someone else's hand so why on earth would you then use that directly on your body?

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Tomsky: Rooms can look clean even when they are not. So look for other details that might indicate it's not as clean as it appears. Is there dust on top of the picture frames? Take a quick peek under the bed, in the drawers, in the corners of the bathroom. If these details seem dirty and appear to have been overlooked then that's a good indication larger, much more important details may also have been overlooked.

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Tomsky: Call down and ask for another one! This happens all the time and you won't upset the staff by asking for another room. You don't even have to be specific or do it in person. Call down and say, "You know what, I just checked in but is it okay if I move to another room? I just don't feel comfortable in this one." If they press you (which they shouldn't do if it's a decent property) just say it doesn't feel as fresh as you'd like it too. Or, say you think someone might have smoked a cigarette in the room. Guests smoke all the time without telling us, so that's an easy excuse, and the hotel should move you to another room immediately.

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Tomsky: Gave them another room. And another. And if they didn't like that room I'd give them another. I think my record was ten rooms before I finally got this one particular, very selective, guest settled. Any real hotel, any hotel that wants to stay in business, takes cleanliness extremely seriously. It's always worth finding a way to apologize and correct any failure on a hotel's part, cleanliness or otherwise, rather than have an upset guest tell 10,000 of his or her friends to never step foot back inside that particular property or hotel chain.

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