Ridiculous or not? Housekeeping secrets of your hotel towels

Christa Webster doesn’t trust her hotel towels. And with good reason.

She lived in a hotel for a year and a half, and still travels frequently. Webster says just because the towel is folded on the rack doesn’t mean it’s clean. Once unfurled, she, like other hotel guests I’ve spoken with, has discovered the towel in various states of uncleanliness — soiled, discolored or covered with hair.

“I inspect them carefully and then wet the ones I’m getting rid of to make sure they give me new ones,” she says.

I recently investigated the hygiene of hotel sheets on this site and found that while most linens are changed between guests, some aren’t. After the series, readers urged me to look at towels, too. They said towels could be a far bigger problem, since hotels often urge guests to recycle those items.

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Ridiculous or not? Hotels don’t always change sheets between guests

Glenn Robins is grossed out. As a frequent traveler, he assumed the sheets on his hotel bed are changed between guests.

But a new TV ad by the Hampton Inn chain calls that assumption into question. It shows housekeepers changing sheets in hazmat suits, at what appears to be a competing hotel chain.

“The implication was obviously that other hotels do not change the sheets for every new guest,” he says.

Robins is troubled by that.

“It’s a disgusting enough thought that the sheets were not changed,” he told me. “It gets even more disgusting when one considers the previous tenant’s possible activity.”

A confession: I changed the last part of Robins’ quote to spare you some graphic detail. Use your imagination.
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