By Melissa Locker
August 14, 2017
© Amy Whitt / Radius Images
Amy Whitt/Getty Images

Whether you’re staying in the lap of luxury or in a side-of-the-highway budget motel, one of the few amenities that you can always count on is for a hotel to supply a hair dryer. Despite that convenience, after you read this article, you might want to start bringing your own.

According to an investigation by ABC, one of the biggest germ magnets that travelers encounter on their journeys is a hotel hair dryer. ABC asked microbiologist Chuck Gerba to swab items in nine different Los Angeles-area hotels and test them for germs. He tested toilets, sinks, drinking glasses, and even in-room irons. Their investigation found that those helpful hair dryers were covered in germs. “There must be some things you can do with a hair dryer that I am not aware of, because some of them were pretty germy,” Gerba said.

The result isn’t that surprising once you learn that state health codes typically don’t require that hotels sanitize hairdryers, instead focusing on more obvious areas like toilets and drinking glasses. As they are cleaning bathrooms, changing dozens of beds, and swapping clean towels in every hotel room, housekeepers may not get around to disinfecting the hairdryer too often. While that may sound unsavory, when was the last time you cleaned your hair dryer?

Of course, hair dryers aren’t the only germ-filled item in hotel rooms. ABC’s study also found that the room service menu was home to a lot more than over-priced eggs, as was the phone you use to order those eggs. Other spots to avoid, including hotel ice buckets and as Reader’s Digest points out, don’t take a bath in a hotel tub. Bacteria aren’t just checking into budget hotels, either. Last year, TravelMath conducted a study that found that bathroom counters, remote controls, hotel room desks, and telephones all harbored germs—and that study was conducted in four- and five-star hotel rooms.

WATCH: Book the Best Hotels with These Three Tools

While studies like this may have you researching hazmat suits before your next vacation, remember that bacteria are everywhere and not all germs cause disease. As Joe McInerney, of the American Hotel and Lodging Association told ABC: "Roughly 4 million people sleep in hotels every day and there are very, very few cases of anybody catching any type of a disease from staying in a hotel." Still, it can’t hurt to pack your own hair dryer.

Advertisement