How to Check for Grime in a Hotel Room

We’re sure you’ve seen some of the undercover exposés on hotel upkeep, and what really goes down when it comes to cleaning. If you think things are a little sketchy, it’s best to do your own spot checks after you check in. Things are not always what they seem at first glance.

Bedbugs, athlete’s foot, or human fluids can be visible or invisible in hotel rooms and no one wants to run the risk of making contact. When traveling, it’s reasonable to have some level of expectation of cleanliness for your stay. Short of bringing your own bed linens and cleaning supplies – which is totally fine – what should you do?

Melissa Maker shared a video through Clean My Space about her recent trip to Miami. She booked a stay at a 4-star hotel, but ran a cleanliness check on the room to see if there were any problems. She points out places you should scan for grime and grit, and suggests either cleaning it yourself or requesting a re-clean. Here are a few things you may want to check out during your next hotel stay, no matter how many stars it has.

Bed Linens:

Melissa removed an accent pillow and throw blanket from the bed and deemed them unwashed. It’s questionable whether these items actually ever get laundered. You also want to check the comforter and sheets for stains, debris, hair, or odors. If they look soiled, remove them. Hotel beds are notorious for being unclean, and the sheets you sleep on may not have been washed for weeks.


All the stories you’ve heard about bedbugs are true. Melissa removed the sheets to see if there were any red or brown markings along the edges of the mattress. What are those colors from? Bedbug excrement! Check wisely, my friends.

Touched Items:

This may sound like a broad category, but what’s pointed out are regular points of contact like the phone, remote control, light switches, or lamps. You should check for fingerprint marks, crust, or staining, which would indicate they haven’t been disinfected in a while.


Chairs and other furniture pieces that don’t get slept on tend to get overlooked. Look for stains or debris on the cushions and arms of furniture. Your options are to either to avoid the furniture or cover it before using.


More than likely, the glassware hasn’t been cleaned thoroughly, so wash them out with soap and water or use disposable drinkware.


Melissa has her own habit of checking the bathroom floor first for hair, dirt, or other issues. Once you do that you can decide if you want to wear shower shoes during your stay, or request a re-clean. Other places to inspect include the toiletries, towels, bathtub, and toilet. Melissa also spotted a gunk of toothpaste on the door handle that was probably sitting there indefinitely.

You can check for soap scum or other grit either visually or by running a finger over the shower wall. If you still think the bathroom is suspect, either request that housekeeping do a re-clean or wear something on your feet.

In the video’s notes, it’s also mentioned that the carpets hadn’t been properly vacuumed and the windows were dirty, which is subpar for a 4-star hotel. Some of you may already have your own hotel habits and bring your own disinfecting wipes, sheets, or towels. We can’t say we blame you for taking precautions, or for having your own standards of clean.

Should you run into a problem like those mentioned here, let the hotel staff know if you want something to be cleaned again. It’s also good to note to give credit where credit is due, and to compliment the hardworking housekeeping staff if you are indeed pleased with your room. What do you check for when you arrive at your hotel room? Do you bring any items with you as a precaution? Tell us in the comments!