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Nina In New York: The Dirtiest Things In A Hotel Room Are All The Things

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By Nina Pajak

As a mild lunatic, I’m always gratified when someone from a fairly legitimate news outlet reports on the things which at once torment and endlessly interest me. In this case, I am referring to an extraordinarily important article posted on Yahoo! yesterday entitled: “The Dirtiest Things in a Hotel Room Revealed.”

How can you not look?

There aren’t a ton of surprises here. At least, not for those of us who think about these things. The TV remote and light switches rank among the filthiest items travelers can touch, second only to the actual cleaning carts used by hotel maids to wipe bacteria around and transfer it from room to room. Sharesies!

More: NYC’s 5 Most Notorious Hotels

I’ve long suspected that virtually everything in a hotel room functions as a petrie dish teeming with every invisible germ, sneeze, globule, pathogen, virus, flake and oogie from thousands of anonymous strangers. Being one who scours for bed bugs or evidence thereof does not help dispel this theory. I see more hairs, stains and smears than anyone ought. Then again, I’m not dead yet.

More: NYC Hotels: Where Not To Stay In The Big Apple

I once worked with a woman who once had been a higher up at a major hotel chain. She confided some pretty horrific secrets, most of which I forget now due to my self-preservation instinct to block out the information. But I do remember one fact which I’ve never been able to set aside.

She told us that when she stays at a hotel, she never uses the drinking glasses provided in her room. Why? Because of what she knew about the cleanliness of the hotel at which she worked. When turning rooms over, the maids would look to see if the glasses were obviously dirty. If they were not, they’d wipe off the rims and put them down on a new paper cap, good as new. It’s sort of like when an exterminator, while helping my brother with his bed bug problem, told him he’d never go to the movies anymore for fear of the pests. One must do as the experts do.

But don’t worry, germophobes. It isn’t an entirely bleak tundra of cooties. According to the article, “the lowest levels of bacteria were found on the headboard, curtain rods and bathroom door handle.” This is good news for me, because I do happen to spend a lot of time removing the curtain rod, dancing with it like it is Alexander Skarsgård (roughly the same size and shape), and then replacing it. Also, it isn’t a trip to a hotel for me if I haven’t rubbed my face against the headboard for a while. Phew.

Dear Readers: While I am rarely at a loss for words, I’m always grateful for column ideas. Please feel free to e-mail me your suggestions.

Nina Pajak is a writer and publishing professional living with her husband on the Upper West Side.

The Nina In New York Archives:

Inside The Flight Delay Fish Bowl

Apparently, We’re All Covered In Germs – And That’s Not Terrifying

Bacon! It’s Not Just For Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Snack Time, And Drunkfood Anymore!

Sleep Yourself Thin? And Other Deliberate Misinterpretations Of A Scientific Study