By Janet Fang
Posting in Design
What else is up there with toilets and bathroom sinks? You might be surprised. A new study examining fecal bacteria tries to offer a scientific basis to hotel housekeeping.
This isn’t meant to freak travelers out. You see, during every 8-hour shift, housekeepers clean 14-16 rooms, spending about half an hour on each room…
And identifying high-risk items in a hotel room would allow managers to strategically design cleaning practices, allocating time to efficiently reduce potential health risks posed by microbial contamination, according to researcher Katie Kirsch at the University of Houston.
They sampled nearly 20 different surfaces from hotel rooms in Texas, Indiana, and South Carolina. And then tested the levels of total aerobic and coliform (fecal) bacterial contamination on each of the surfaces.
About 81% of hotel room surfaces sampled held at least some fecal bacteria.
- TV remote
- bedside lamp switch
- toilet and the bathroom sink
- items from the housekeepers’ carts, including sponges and mops, which pose a risk for cross-contamination of rooms
Surfaces with the lowest contamination:
- headboard on the bed
- curtain rods
- bathroom door handle
The researchers can’t say whether or not the bacteria detected can cause disease, however, the contamination levels are a reliable indicator of overall cleanliness. And many could pose a threat to those with compromised immune systems.
So how do housekeepers and managers tell if a hotel room is clean enough? “Visual assessment,” Kirsch says, “which has been shown to be ineffective in measuring levels of sanitation”
Hopefully this is just the beginning of research offering a scientific basis to hotel housekeeping, she adds.
This preliminary study was designed to apply food safety’s Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) system to hotel room cleanliness for the first time. Originally developed by NASA, the system identifies potential physical, chemical, and biological hazards and designs measurements to reduce risks to safe levels.
Image by miggslives via Flickr
Jun 20, 2012
It is really essential to clean the contaminate areas of hotel rooms in order to give a good atmosphere. http://www.motellagil.ro/foto-motel-bucuresti
Hm, the bathroom door handle being one of the least contaminated is a bit counterintuitive. Maybe most people don't bother closing the door when they're at a hotel room by themselves.
It is not surprising. My cousin works in a hospital, they have pared back the cleaning staff, we joke that they will be handing the patients mops and buckets to clean their own rooms next. They are pulled away from the rooms that are scheduled to go clean rooms that the patients have been discharged. Not enough workers, not enough time and they expect them to make everything clean. I have no doubt it is the same in large hotels. This is what happens when they cut costs by eliminating workers and lack of training.
Contamination is not restricted to some of the surfaces. Contamination could pass on to reach other surfaces and furniture especially linen and bed. Unless Hotels, Motels and public places of rest, recreation and seminars, business meetings and tourist accommodation meet stringent cleanliness standards and mandatory inspection leading to fines, the matter will remain a major problem.
You aren't talking about the majority (most of) of surfaces, you are talking about the surfaces that are most contaminated. The word "most" here modifies the adjective "contaminated," so to make that clear there must be a hyphen between them: the most-contaminated rooms.