I’m going to let you in on a little secret – I am the worst over-packer in the world. Yep, I bring lots of stuff “just in case.” Sorry, not sorry. But you know what? I can’t even begin to tell you the last time I packed my hairdryer for travel. It just seems like anywhere you go, be it a fancy Conrad, a middle-of-the-road Holiday Inn Express, a Motel 6, or even an Airbnb, pretty much all places offer hair dryers nowadays. So although I dragged it along for a good half-decade longer than I probably could have, I stopped bringing my Conair 1875 on 98% of my trips (I did bring it with me to Cuba in 2016. It was a wise move; most of the casa particulars [private homes] where we stayed didn’t have any).
And then I fell into this rabbit hole the other day and wound up reading an article from ABC News from 2008. It went into all the germs you can find in a hotel room – in/on the toilets, sinks, drinking glasses and even the irons. They knew because they tested a bunch of hotel rooms in the L.A. area. Of course, big surprise, there were plenty of germs found, regardless if you were staying at a 5-star hotel or a $98 one.
One thing the article mentioned was the hairdryer in each room. Chuck Gerba, the microbiologist who was testing everything suggested that the hairdryer was one of the most germ-laded items in each hotel.
“There must be some things you can do with a hairdryer that I am not aware of because some of them were pretty germy,” Gerba said.
This would make sense, especially in the halcyon days of pre-COVID. State codes might mandate that hotels sanitize obvious areas like toilets and drinking glasses, but the same can’t necessarily be said for less evident items such as hair dryers. So it was entirely possible that housekeeping (or Airbnb owners) wouldn’t sanitize or even clean the hairdryer for months if not years.
So with that, there were a lot of articles from all over the world (in 2017, 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022 and yep, 2023, too, along with several that were undated) that had dire warnings about using hotel hairdryers, because of the danger of germs on them.
- “Why It’s A Good Idea to Bring Your Own Hair Dyer When You Stay at A Hotel”
- The Gross Reason You Should Never Use A Hotel Hair Dryer”
- “Do You Use Hotel Hair Dryers? Think Again.”
- “The Real Reason You Might Not Want To Use A Hotel Hair Dryer”
- “The reason why you should NEVER use a hair dryer in a hotel room”
Really, they sound like titles *I* would have made up 😉
OK travel friends, here’s the deal. Unless you’re in a sterile environment, everything you touch has germs on it. If you have a typical immune system, most of them won’t hurt you. A few can, though. Fecal coliform, MRSA, etc. They can give you major GI issues, infections that are resistant to antibiotics, etc.
So here’s what you do. You know that little bottle of hand sanitizer that you keep in your pocket? Wipe the hairdryer down before you use it, just like you do the remote control for the TV.
And you still don’t have to take up luggage space with your Dyson Supersonic.
Feature Photo: Pxhere
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I wonder what is dirty about the hair dryer. Is it the outside handle, being in a room with stool and urine? Or is the air chamber inside dirty? I thought that the hair dryer was very hot so the insides might be fairly clean, just the outside is dirty with bacteria. This makes a difference because exterior bacteria can be swabbed with alcohol or hand sanitizer.
I think it would be difficult to clean the inside of a hair dryer, even under the best of circumstances – there’s usually a grill at the opening, so someone doesn’t stick their hands in there.
I’m surprised anyone is still alive after all the dangers of the hairdryer! Or perhaps it’s not quite as lethal as these people pretend.
I would love to see the “bacteria counts” on the Hotel instruments compared to those we have at home ! We may have a huge surprise.
I think the NUMBER of bacteria would be about the same, assuming that it hair dryers are used roughly the same amount of times. But there might be a larger variety of the little buggers on the hotel one, because it’s all different hands, instead of the same 2, 4, etc.
How many hotels don’t wash the bedspread? That must be laden with more germs than anything. What about door handles?