Hotel TV Remotes : A Public Health Risk?

Researchers from the University of Houston report that television remotes carry the most bacteria in a hotel room, and items on housekeeping carts may be the cross-contaminating culprit.

Katie Hirsch, a University of Houston undergraduate and presenter of the study says that the problem lies in the fact that hotel housekeeping practices "vary across brands and properties with little or no standardization industry wide." Currently, the barometer for hotel cleanliness is a simple visual assessment, a wholly ineffective practice when measuring sanitation.

With a public becoming more and more concerned with public health, hotel room sanitation becomes a real factor for traveling consumers. Hirsch reports that "housekeepers clean 14-16 rooms per 8-hour shift, spending approximately 30 minutes on each room." By identifying "high risk items" housekeepers could strategically craft their cleaning routines to efficiently minimize public health risks and microbial contamination.

Ultimately, the information obtained from the study can help hotels in adopting a proactive approach to reducing hazards and contamination in their establishments.

For more information on the study, how it was conducted and other factors to consider in hotel room cleanliness, you can read press releases and minutes from a presentation at the American Society for Microbiology here. (

Additionally, a recorded webcast from Katie Hirsch on the subject can be found here.


Microbial Analysis of Environmental Surfaces in Hotel RoomsKatie Kirsch, University of Houston