Sure, trying to fit a hair dryer into your already overstuffed luggage may sound like a pain, but trust us, you’ll want to start making space for it after reading this.
According to an in-depth investigation by ABC, hotels have a plethora of issues when it comes to cleanliness. And though this issue has been well documented, what hasn’t been focused on until now is just how gross hair dryers in hotels can be.
Chuck Gerba, a microbiologist who worked with ABC for their hotel cleanliness experiment, swabbed items in nine different Los Angeles–area hotels to find out which ones are the nastiest, and he was not impressed with what he found. “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,” he said.
The investigation noted that items like the hair dryer may become even dirtier than sinks and toilets because they are often overlooked as an item in need of cleaning by housekeeping, and thus can go days — or even years — without ever being disinfected.
And it wasn’t just in low-cost motels that Gerba found the hair dryers to be particularly disgusting. According to ABC, Gerba tested the dryers at a number of hotels, which varied in price from $98 to $500 per night.
Beyond the dryers, Gerba also found that six of the nine bathroom sinks he tested had germ levels considered excessive.
“The biggest concern in a hotel room is picking up cold, flu virus or viruses that cause diarrhea,” Gerba said. “It doesn’t take very many to make you ill.”
Gerba also noted that looks and price can be deceiving when it comes to hotel health safety. He added that some of the items often found in low-cost hotels, like plastic cups in wrappers or plastic bags for the ice buckets, can actually offer more germ protection than their swankier counterparts.
So next time you travel, consider packing a blow dryer, or let your mane go au naturale – you are on vacation, after all.