A recent study that looked at bacteria levels in colony-forming units (CFUs), found that three-star hotels fared better (less germ-ridden) than four- and five-star hotels. According to the study, “The dirtiest surface in a three-star hotel room, the bathroom counter, contained an average of only 320,000 CFU/sq. in.” This was roughly eight times less than what was found in the four-star hotel room, and three times less than what was discovered in the five-start room.According to reports from The Today Show, the study included testing surfaces such as the remote control, desk, in-suite phone and the restroom countertop. A total of 36 swab samples were taken from nine chain hotels (since cleaning practices are thought to be held to the chain’s standards, no matter the location).Although even those who conducted the study were surprised by the results, the report tries to calm the public by suggesting ways for hotel guest to disinfect their temporary resting spots. But shouldn’t the message, instead, be used to train housekeeping staff on proper cleaning and disinfecting techniques? This article provides some great tips to proper cleaning and disinfecting of hotel rooms.
A few people have asked for the original study results. Ask and you shall receive! Here is a link.
A reader just wrote this comment, asking me to post on their behalf.
As a cleaning professional, I have to question the three points made in the article: 1. "Germs like influenza can survive on surfaces for hours, providing ample opportunity for the spread of infection." The influenza virus can survive 2-8 hours depending on the virus and the environmental conditions in which the virus is located. A virus can cause an infection,n but a virus is not an infection. 2. "It is important to use products that are EPA-registered to kill germs of most concern." Most likely the hospitality staff has no idea about the "dwell time" needed for disinfectants to be effectively and have no idea about the difference between cleaning and disinfecting. As for "kill germs of most concern," it is doubtful anyone except Executive Housekeepers with IEHA REH or CEH certification or AHE CHESP certification has any idea of which germs to be concerned about. 3. "Eliminate Unpleasant Odors" with aerosol products to "remove odors directly from the air"? The smell of clean is NO SMELL. An odor in a hotel room is present because something is causing the smell and the cause of the odor must be removed, not covered up. The cause of the smell, the bio-burden or biological source, must be dealt with. It must be removed, not covered up. Get rid of the odor causing bacteria by removing the source or killing the source then removing the source. This is a process and it cannot be done by untrained people using improper tools or tools they don't know how to use. 4. As for the last point "Don't Neglect Soft Surfaces," I shudder at the recommendation. "Refresh and sanitize . . . with a one-step, multiuse product"? That's what they think they are doing now and look at the results! A quote from the article: "While each hotel has its own unique cleaning protocol." One would have to question if, in fact, the hotels tested had any kind of "cleaning protocol" much less one that is unique. And "a foolproof cleaning regimen," what is that? Obviously it is something that is eluding too many hotels. Training, training and more training with education (the "Why" of what is needed) is what is lacking and desperately needed.
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