How to Sanitize a Hotel Room Against Coronavirus (and Other Nasty Germs)

For many Americans, employment obligations do not cease because of a possible pandemic called coronavirus. Without paid sick leave, millions of Americans show up at the office, meet clients in public, and travel to keep jobs and pay bills.

Take me for example. I’m working from an Atlanta-area hotel room this week. I’m staying adjacent to Hartsfield Jackson International Airport, where thousands stream through customs and into our country every day. While effective hygiene measures are always important in hotel rooms, we face an even higher bar with a novel virus circulating.

Most travelers cannot pack an arsenal of cleaning supplies in their carry-ons. Airlines allow sanitary wet wipes and alcohol-based gels to stay well on the plane. Those products can also be effective in the average hotel room.

Here’s how I sanitized my hotel room.

Purchase alcohol-based wet wipes. I opened my pack before I walked into the room. I wiped the exterior door knob, the edge of the door, the interior door knob and lock mechanism, and the bolt latch.

Wipe down switches and outlets. I turned on the light with the cloth I used to open the door. From there, I walked through the space and scrubbed switches and outlets I planned to use.

Scour the night tables. Bedside lamp switches are usually manual. I rubbed down the switches, the wooden tabletop, the telephone and the alarm clock (even though I did not plan to use the latter two.)

Scrub sinks and countertops. My room is equipped with both wet bar and bathroom sink. I wiped all metal on both faucets completely, being careful to scrub the undersides of the handles. I also wiped down cabinet handles and shower fixtures.

Clean the toilet seat, rim and handle. I wiped mine twice for good measure.

Rub down all interior handles and pulls. Door knobs are obvious. I forgot surfaces like shower pulls and sliding closet doors.

Clean the fridge. I wiped the front of the door, the pull handle and the interior. Chilled wine is vital in scary situations like this one!

Scour all remotes. While I did not plan to watch television, I cleaned the remote as part of my first pass, figuring it would be more thorough than tackling the room piecemeal.

Unplug the coffeemaker and swipe buttons and exterior surfaces. Wash mugs and glasses for good measure.

Scrub climate control buttons. It is easier to do on check-in than at three am when the room is uncomfortable and the occupant is half-asleep.

Ask the hotel not to clean the room during your stay. Once the room is sanitized, restricting access makes it easier to keep it that way. Most hotels provide doorknob hangers to alert staff to your request.

Wash your hands upon entering the room. I close the door with my elbow, drop my bag, head to the sink, and wash my hands before touching anything. Then I swipe the faucet handle again.

Whether facing standard cold-and-flu season or coronavirus, hotel room hygiene is a good habit for any road warrior. Here’s to staying safe and well.

NYT bestselling author NOT WITHOUT MY FATHER | speaker | dreamer | risk-taker | travel whore | turn I wish I had into I’m glad I did

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