For many, the holiday season means traveling over the meadow and through the woods to visit friends and family. According to HotWire.com, more Americans are expected to travel throughout the 2013 Holiday season, paying 3 percent more for Thanksgiving hotel stays and 4 percent more for Christmas hotel stays, when compared to 2012 costs. But whether you choose the Four Seasons or Super 8, every traveler has the right to ask for a new room, especially if they find signs that the hotel might not have been cleaned properly. Here are some tips for holiday travelers from Aftermath Inc. Crime Scene Cleanup.
Andrew Whitmarsh, Operations Safety & Compliance Manager at Aftermath, has found more often than not that hotels do not perform a full remediation of a room after a biohazard event, such as unattended death, suicide or even severe injury. Although the EPA recommends the removal of any porous materials, such as carpet, following contamination of blood or bodily fluid, some hotels attempt to clean the blood or bodily fluids in order to avoid remodeling costs.
In order to stay safe during a hotel stay, Andrew shared 5 warning signs of a potential biohazard and reasons to ask for a new room:
Stained carpeting, sheets or towels – Porous materials that have come in contact with blood/body fluids should be discarded and replaced. Even if sheets or towels smell clean, stains are red flags that the hotel does not hold high cleaning standards. Many hotels will use a carpet shampooer to remove blood. This process does not disinfect the area; in fact, infectious diseases such as Hepatitis, HIV or MRSA can be spread throughout the room and pose grave health hazards.
Damp carpeting – Carpets are not shampooed between each guests’ stay, so you should question why it was cleaned.
Discoloration of the bathroom tile and/or grout – Often, a hotel’s maintenance or cleaning crew is not properly trained or equipped to handle blood or bodily fluids. Bloods seeps in between tiles, so discoloration can be a sign that bodily fluids that have pooled underneath and were not properly cleaned.
Strong deodorizing scent – A strong odor (or deodorizing scent) in your room signals that the staff or previous guest made an effort to cover up another odor. The question is, what caused the original smell, and is the origin of the smell a potential health hazard? If you notice a strong bleach smell, don’t assume that the room has been thoroughly sanitized. Bleach must be diluted properly with water (1:9 ratio). Many people overestimate the amount of bleach that needs to be used, leaving it ineffective in fighting viruses and bacteria.
Stains around the toilet – If you notice discoloration on or around the toilet, this is a clear warning that the area, and potentially the rest of the room, has not been thoroughly cleaned and sanitized.
If you encounter any of these warning signs, contact the hotel’s front desk and request a new room. Everyone is entitled to safety against biohazards, and has the right to stay in a clean and safe environment.