Can Hotel Air Cons Be Making You Sick?

A NICE, cool blast of the hotel room aircon is a joy on a summer holiday. But this former hotel manager warns you should keep it switched off.

air con hotel

HOTEL rooms are supposed to be kept spick and span in between guests — but one hotel manager has revealed the part of the room that almost never gets cleaned properly.

Former hotel manager Chris Johnston revealed to Bustle the air conditioning unit is one thing you might want to avoid using when you’re staying at a hotel, The Sun reports.

“One often overlooked source of … germs is the HVAC [heating, ventilation, and air conditioning] unit in the room,” he said.

“If hotel staff fail to clean the filters, or at least clean the top visible portion, simply turning on the unit can cause these particles to fill your room and your lungs.”

It is widely recommended hotels change the filter in the aircon unit every three months.

Airconditioning and illness have been linked recently to a spate of flu in the United Arab Emirates, where air conditioning is widely used.

Dr Jimmy Joseph from Universal Hospital in Abu Dhabi told Gulf News: “It would certainly help if residents had their air conditioning and ventilation ducts serviced.

“These areas can harbour allergens, and allergy-related respiratory illnesses are known to be particularly common in the UAE.”

You may also want to consider giving drinking glasses in your hotel room a miss if you want to stay well on holiday too.

A video emerged back in December of cleaners in two luxury hotels in China using a toilet brush to clean parts of a guest’s bathroom — including drinking cups and tea mugs.

The disgusting clips show workers at the five-star resorts using the toilet brush to clean cups, mugs and the bath tub before it is also used to scrub the loo.

Cleaners can then be seen dipping bath towels in the toilet and using them to clean the floor, as well as folding bed sheets on the floor and using hand towels to dry guests’ cups.

While poor hygiene is never acceptable in any hotel accommodation, the incident is particularly disturbing considering guests could be paying as much as $640 per night to stay at the fancy hotels.

The video was reportedly shot by an undercover journalist for the South China Morning Post following reports of poor hygiene in the Kempinski and Shangri-la Hotels in Harbin.

The undercover reporter allegedly posed as a cleaner to gain employment at the hotel, and filmed other cleaners teaching the disturbing habits during a trainee shift.

According to reports from Chinese media, the health planning commission in Harbin is investigating the matter and plans to penalise the hotels, while Kempinski Hotel says the staff member shown in the video has been fired.

So no air con, no drinking glasses — and you should probably swerve the hotel’s hairdryer too.

In most hotel rooms, the hairdryer has even more germs than the toilet seat.

In a past study for America’s ABC, the microbiologist Charles Gerba tested nine hotel rooms across Los Angeles, ranging from three to five stars.

“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.

It is thought that the problem occurs because cleaners tend to focus on items like the toilet, bath and sink in a hotel bathroom.

Much like light switches and room service menus, the hairdryer is touched by many guest hands but not seen as a dirty item.

This means that they become increasingly dirty over an extended period of time.