Bathroom Bacteria: What’s Lurking in Your Hotel Shower?
In today’s world of frequent travel and bustling tourism, many people find comfort in booking a beautiful hotel room or a charming home-sharing space. Have you ever considered that beyond the plush towels and gleaming tiles, there’s an unseen world alive and thriving? To reveal the hidden microscopic inhabitants of these inviting spaces, we swabbed and tested multiple surfaces in hotel and home-sharing bathrooms. Join us as we pull back the curtain on bathroom hygiene and discover who your silent shower companions might be.
📌 Key Takeaways
- A sink faucet is the dirtiest place in a home-sharing and hotel bathroom.
- Home-sharing bathrooms contain 3x more bacteria than hotel bathrooms.
- A home-sharing sink faucet had nearly 60,000x the bacteria of a toilet seat.
- A home-sharing tub had 1,500x the bacteria of a hotel tub.
The Hidden World of Hotel and Home-Sharing Bathrooms
The allure of a luxurious hotel bathroom, with its polished chrome and sparkling surfaces, suggests purity and cleanliness. But our swabs tell a different story.
The results are in, and the winner of the germiest place in either bathroom was the sink faucet. Hotel showerheads were also teeming with bacteria: 9 million colony-forming units (CFUs) of Gram-positive rod bacteria, 4 million (CFUs) of Gram-negative rod bacteria, and 300,000 CFUs of its type II variant. Even the shower handle harbored 50 CFUs of bacillus and 20 CFUs of Gram-negative rod bacteria. And that inviting hotel tub? It hosted 20,000 CFUs of bacteria.
Turning our attention to home-sharing bathrooms, we uncovered a surprising find — they had three times more bacteria than a hotel bathroom. The home-sharing showerhead presented 30 million CFUs of Gram-negative rod bacteria, while its sink faucet had a significant 30.4 million CFUs of bacteria. The sink handle and bathtub were also germier than the hotel’s, with 30 million CFUs of Gram-negative rod bacteria each.
These eye-opening findings reinforce the importance of keeping up with healthy habits, even while on vacation.
Home-Sharing vs. Hotel Bathrooms: A Microbial Showdown
Below is a clear comparison of home-sharing and hotel bathroom surfaces. How unhygienic can personalized, cozy spaces be compared to the standardized cleanliness of hotels?
Hold onto your soap bars because the results are a whirlwind. The sink handle in a home-sharing bathroom took the crown, hosting an astonishing 250,000 times more bacteria than its hotel counterpart. Dipping into the tub, the bacterial count in a home-sharing setting surged to 1,500 times that of a hotel bath.
Even the home-sharing shower was germier than a hotel’s. Its shower handles had 65 times the bacteria, while the showerhead had more than double the microbial guests. In a twist of bacterial fate, both home-sharing and hotel sink faucets seemed equally contaminated, showing roughly the same bacterial levels.
As travelers navigate their choices, it’s evident that while home-sharing offers warmth and authenticity, it might also offer a little extra in terms of unseen companions. The next time you check in, perhaps it’s worth packing some disinfectant wipes alongside your travel essentials.
As we examined the microscopic worlds of hotel and home-sharing bathrooms, we couldn’t resist juxtaposing these findings with everyday household items. We think the findings are enough to make most people reconsider their bathroom and showering habits.
The sink faucet in a home-sharing space contained 60,000 times more bacteria than an average toilet seat — making one rethink those hand-washing habits. Meanwhile, a hotel’s sink faucet was a hotbed for germs, boasting three times the bacterial count of a kitchen sink. Venturing to the bathtub, we found that a home-sharing tub was a bacterial hub with 12 times the germs of a toothbrush holder.
But wait, there are even more findings to make you think twice about the cleanliness of certain spaces, including the following:
- A hotel sink faucet had over 55,000 times the bacteria of a toilet seat.
- A hotel showerhead had 25,000 times the bacteria of a toilet seat.
- A hotel tub had 40 times more bacteria than a toilet seat.
However, there’s some good news. Two handles you often reach for in a hotel were cleaner than a porcelain throne: A toilet seat had 7 times more bacteria than a hotel shower handle and 4 times more than a hotel sink handle. And that’s not all. We also have these additional home-sharing stats to share with you:
- A home-sharing sink faucet had nearly 60,000 times the bacteria of a toilet seat.
- A home-sharing showerhead had almost 55,000 times the bacteria of a toilet seat.
- A home-sharing sink handle had about 55,000 times the bacteria of a toilet seat.
- A home-sharing tub had over 55,000 times the bacteria of a toilet seat.
- A home-sharing shower handle had nearly 10 times the bacteria of a toilet seat.
These statistics emphasize the importance of maintaining good hygiene practices while using bathroom facilities. And the next time you want to get away, it might be worth checking the host’s or hotel’s cleanliness standards and practices before booking.
The Final Verdict on Travel Accommodation Hygiene
Cleanliness goes beyond what meets the eye. Our investigation uncovered a hidden world where microscopic organisms quietly coexist with us, both in luxury hotels and private home-sharing spaces. Equipping ourselves with knowledge and prioritizing cleanliness is essential for ensuring every stay is memorable and safe. After all, a well-informed traveler is not just a happier traveler but a healthier one, too.
For this study, we collected samples from various hotel and home-sharing bathroom surfaces; each surface was swabbed once, and the CFUs per swab were averaged for each surface type.
There is a number of total bacteria that can be counted on the surface of the culture plate before the colonies begin to overlap. The counts were made in the 1:100 000 dilutions and a comment was included indicating counts could actually be higher. It’s possible that we could have gained further insight into CFU levels with a larger sample size of surfaces. This content is purely exploratory and future research should approach this topic in a more rigorous way. Bacteria definitions were sourced from revive.gardp.org, sciencedirect.com and ncbi.nlm.nih.gov.
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