10 Things to Clean in EVERY Hotel Room You Stay

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Help your family avoid nasty leftovers from the hotel guests who stayed in your room before you. Just 5 minutes of cleaning with a little teamwork give you peace of mind on your family trip.

A bottle of bleach wipes.

Nothing is more devastating to a family trip than to have someone get seriously sick on vacation.

I planned our epic family Halloween Disney trip for 6 months. I made handmade costumes for the Halloween party at Magic Kingdom that cost us a significant part of the trip budget and was completely non-refundable.

Only to have my youngest daughter pick up the worst stomach bug she’s ever had in her entire life half way through the trip.

Here’s what you need to know when your kid is sick at Disney, but let me tell you how extremely concerned that experience made me about how clean a hotel room might get between visitors.

I know the kind of mess my poor kiddo made. I did my very best to clean up after her and made several frantic calls to the Disney hotel staff in that horrible 24 hours.

Knowing what I know now, it’s no wonder so many people come home from Disney trips with stomach bugs.

Ever since that fateful trip, we’ve made it a family policy to do a quick sanitization of any hotel we stay at, anywhere. Yes, that included when we stayed at an AirBNB in London this spring.

If you’re heading out on a family vacation this year, here’s how we keep it super-simple:

Supplies to Pack from Home

When we’re going on a road trip, I have a special small tote I can throw these items into for easy grabbing as soon as we arrive to our hotel. I don’t even want to open my suitcase to dig them out, so they come out of the car in the little tote first.

When we fly, I pack only the bleach wipes.

A small tote bag filled with clorox wipes.
  1. Bleach Wipes: On a plane, I pack small travel packages of them in my carry on bag. For a road trip I bring the entire plastic tub.
  2. Lysol Spray: I only bring this on road trips during cold and flu season. Give the hotel room a quick spray when you arrive. DO NOT try to fly with an aerosol can.
  3. Hand Soap: Another thing I only bring on road trips. For an entire family of four, those tiny little soap bars the hotel provides don’t get the job done. Especially for a Disney trip or other amusement park where you’ll be touching lots of super high contact surfaces through the day, having a pump bottle of hand soap ensures everyone has clean hands at the end of the day.

Check for Bed Bugs

Before we even bother with our room cleaning, I first have my husband check the hotel mattresses for bed bugs.

Be sure to leave your luggage near the door until you’ve got an all-clear. Bed bugs can transfer to your luggage and you don’t want to bring those with you home.

Remove Decorative Pillows from the Bed

The hotel cleaning staff wash the linens that come in contact with guests as they actually sleep in the bed, but those decorative pillows not so much.

We collect all the pretty pillows that are meant just for decorating and place them on the top shelf of the closet to keep them out of the way for our stay.

10 Things We ALWAYS Clean

Once we’ve put our suitcases down, checked the mattresses and removed the decorative pillows, I hand out wet bleach wipes to everyone in the family and between the four of us we take 5 minutes to sanitize the following things:

  1. All Door Knobs: Inside and outside of the bathroom door and any internal doors in the hotel room. This also includes the safety locks and dead bolts.
  2. Closet Handles: All the cabinet and closet handles, including the safe door inside the closet as needed.
  3. Drawer Pulls: All the knobs on any drawer we plan to use. If the drawers don’t have a pull, we’ll wipe down the area where your hand would open the drawer.
  4. Bathroom Faucet: The washroom handles and water spout.
  5. Toilet Handle: The handle on the toilet itself.
  6. Every Single Light Switch: I usually assign this to one person so none of them get missed. Every single light switch on the wall, inside and outside the bathroom, and on all the bedside lamps.
  7. The Phone: Even if we don’t plan to use it, we wipe down the phone receiver and all the buttons.
  8. The Television Remote: Any remote controls in the room, but particularly the television remote.
  9. Dining Table Top: If our hotel room has a small table where we may eat a snack, we wipe down the entire table top surface.
  10. Any Remaining High-Contact Hard Surface: All hotel rooms are different so if there are any remaining buttons, knobs, switches, pulls, or surfaces where you’ll be placing personal items or eating, wipe them down.

Bring Slippers or Flip Flops

As one last “makes me just feel better” precaution, I usually suggest that the kids pack flip flops or washable slippers for wearing around the hotel room during our stay.

This keeps our own dirty shoes at the door but also protects our feet (and therfore our bed sheets while we’re sleeping) against anything in the bathroom or on the carpet that wouldn’t be cleaned between guests.

Chill Out & Enjoy Your Trip

Once we’ve made a clean space to enjoy for our vacation, I let it go.

Those first 5 – 10 minutes upon arrival help with my peace of mind and have never stopped us from enjoying our vacations.

A photo collage shows a bottle of bleach wipes next to a photo of a hotel room.

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