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Travel Health: Hotel Drinking Glasses

John Deiner

Okay, I'm switching to plastic.

You ever wonder how clean those hotel glasses are in hotel rooms? Well, according to an Atlanta TV station that mounted an undercover investigation last fall, not very. The station hid a camera in various hotel rooms around town, and used drinking glasses were set out in plain view. For the most part, maids barely cleaned the glasses -- one used mystery cleaner, another simply ran water in them and put them back on the sink, another one used a dirty washcloth to clean them out.

The health experts they spoke to were similarly appalled, checking off a list of maladies you could catch from the dirty glasses, including staph.

Ick. The video has been around for a while, but if you haven't seen it (and it was new to us when we found it on TravelPost.com), it's worth a gander.

Then tell us: Do you use those glasses in hotel rooms? Will you continue?

By John Deiner |  January 30, 2008; 2:20 PM ET  | Category:  John Deiner , Travel Health
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Well, I used to use the glasses...

Posted by: Mandy | January 30, 2008 3:27 PM

I'm going to start packing my own cups now.

Posted by: Traveler | January 30, 2008 4:12 PM

Bottled water only...and don't eat the ice either.

Posted by: Ex-hotelier | January 30, 2008 5:02 PM

For camping there are collapsible drinking cups that work wonderfully well for the intrepid traveler. I have a victorian one that is sterling from my grandmother, and use the present day plastic version as well.
Of course we all know not to drink coffee or tea in flight as well. Taking your napkin and wiping your utensils in restaurants is an idea a world traveler taught me as well.

Posted by: pr@serendipitytraveler.com | January 30, 2008 6:44 PM

never!usually i use the cup i carry

Posted by: mars | January 30, 2008 8:41 PM

My husband's cousin manages a motel (one of the national chains) and she says that they will only use the plastic cups that come in a wrapper for their guests. As long as they are sealed, they should be OK .. but after watching the video, I'm sure I'll never use the 'glass' glasses again!

Posted by: peapod | January 30, 2008 8:53 PM

I contracted Mononucleosis in the mid-1990's, which was something of a surprise. Because I was in my 20's and was in a dating "dry-spell" - no saliva trading going on in my life.

When I talked over the time-line with my doctors, the only thing they could think of was that I caught it from using hotel. Because the only change in my routine was I had recently completed some extended travel for my company, so I had been staying in hotels for a few weeks running (not 5-star facilities, but not flea-bags, either).

I used the glasses only once or twice, so they weren't sure that was the cause. But that was the last time I've used hotel glasses, unless I brought some antibacterial dish-soap and scrubbed the glasses thoroughly myself. I pretty much stick to canned or bottled sodas when I travel.

Posted by: Chasmosaur | January 30, 2008 11:26 PM

As a former night manager at a hotel. I know there was a small glass washer in the laundry room for the housekeepers at the one I worked at. And when I first started, I saw that machine being used all the time. They have since switched to the plastic wrapped cups. You can only blame it on poor/thin management. When I first started at that hotel they had an Inspectress, who checked all the rooms prior to them being put back in service. She would also check the Housekeeper's carts etc. When she left, they never replaced her, so the houskeepers had no one checking up on them.

Posted by: rja112 | January 31, 2008 12:37 AM

I wear gloves on my hands and always carry a bottle of santizer with me everywhere I go. I use it to clean my silverware and plates at restaurants as well as after touching doors, walls, or people. I also wear a surgical face mask in public so that I don't catch any germs floating in the air. Sometimes I even cover my head so the germs don't get on my hair. You have to be careful, germs have already eaten away at part of my nose. Luckily, I've been able to pass on my habits to my children so that they don't suffer the same fate.

Posted by: Michael J. | January 31, 2008 9:52 AM

Good stuff, gang, and from all different angles. Honestly, I'm never using one of those in-room glasses again. Never.

Posted by: John Deiner | January 31, 2008 9:54 AM

Great, I already take sanitizer wipes to clean all surfaces (light switches, phone, the remote!), now I have to stick to bottled water too.

Posted by: 1shot | January 31, 2008 11:59 AM

I'm curious about the experience of the poster who says not to drink coffee or tea on planes. I once drank tea on a flight and later just made it to the lavatory in time to throw up as we were descending. The flight attendant blamed it on bumpy air (it wasn't bad at all). I KNEW it was the tea, but couldn't figure out why.

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