Don’t Lick The Pillow: How to Make Sure Your Hotel Room is Clean No Matter What

Don’t Lick The Pillow: How to Make Sure Your Hotel Room is Clean No Matter What

Don't Lick The Pillow: How to Make Sure Your Hotel Room is Clean No Matter What

Recently, Universal Studios Resort has found itself in hot water this October for the less-than-sanitary conditions in one of its RMB 2800 hotel rooms after being exposed by a hotel blogger.

This isn’t the first time a luxury hotel in Beijing has been caught for not cleaning its rooms properly. A piece of advice I generally go by when searching for a hotel is “don’t lick the pillow”, as even though it might be clean, it’s the one thing you’ll most likely avoid be it in a fancy hotel or run down motel.

But for those who prefer a little bit more sound advice than “don’t lick the pillow”, I consulted a colleague of mine who used to work in the hotel industry for advice. They provided me with some tips and tricks to keep your hotel free of bacteria, odors, and other odds-and-ins, like the previous occupant’s bodily fluids, whether you're on a vacation or staycation minor-latin; mso-bidi-font-family: "Times New Roman"; mso-bidi-theme-font: minor-bidi; mso-fareast-language: ZH-CN; mso-bidi-language: AR-SA" lang="EN-US" xml:lang="EN-US">– although the latter could be more likely given the current epidemic situation.


Before taking anything out of your bags, get out your disinfectant wipes, and give everything a wipe down; especially paying attention to often touched items, that housekeeping might not be touching at all. She also advises some disinfectant spray, if you plan to use things like throw pillows and other items that pretty much can’t even be washed.


Hotel towels might get the job done for drying your body until you get back to your own accommodations, but you might want to bring your own face towel if you are in question about what you are drying off with. It’s a way to pack less, but at least keep your face free from questionable materials.

The Kettle

You might be ok with the kettle, and might think that boiled water will kill the germs; but after hearing about people cooking in these water kettles, cleaning socks, and disinfecting their underwear; you might want to wait on the hot water, or think about an alternative. You can fill up your own bottle somewhere else in the hotel, or find a convenient travel one of your own.


Often times the only way to ensure cleanliness is bring it yourself, and my colleague mentioned a pretty cool, affordable, travel sheet; that will keep your body completely separate from the bed, pillow, and sheets. It is kind of like a hotel sleeping bag sheet that you can slip into, to keep anything else that may have slipped onto the bed, off of you.

A few more from other sources:


You’re in a hotel, so of course you can bring your own booze; but don’t forget to bring your own bottle and/or cup to keep from using possibly unsterilized cups.

Bag it
Some of these things can be wiped off, but some things you can take to the next level and “Bag it.” For example, the remote control. Put it in a clear Ziplock bag, and lock up the germs that might get missed.


Often times hotels have slippers and shower sandals, but bringing your own all-around sandal might be best. That way you know that they have not been used by thousands of others, and you can dry them off and wear inside too. You will also be a little more environmentally friendly by avoiding wasting those disposable slippers that are usually sub-par at best.


Hotels try to ventilate rooms, but if they are booked back to back, your room might benefit from some fresh air. Open a window, door, or patio for a while if possible.

The Key Thing

When you are disinfecting everything else, don’t forget your key card. Sometimes those keys are passed from person to person, and there is no need to share whatever the previous user had on their hands. Also, don’t forget your own stuff; luggage, cellphone, passport, etc. although it’s your stuff, a lot of people may have touched it along the way.

Hands Off

Remember your not at home, even though you have cleaned some things off, you are basically still in a public space, so give your hands scrub from time to time when necessary.

READ: A True Hermit Lives Right Downtown: Boutique Hotels for Your Next Beijing Staycation

Images: BoardingArea,, DHGate, Business Traveller

Back to blog