Eight Things to Disinfect Immediately When You Get to Your Hotel Room (plus a few more suggestions)

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While it’s always magical to spend time at Walt Disney World, getting sick can put a real damper on the fun. To protect you and your traveling entourage against germs like norovirus (stomach flu) and others, it’s time to up your travel sanitation routine. After all, an ounce of prevention…

Before you get to your hotel

Carry disinfectant wipes in your carry-on. Starting in your plane seat, wipe down the arm rest, recliner button, tray, magazine pocket, air controllers, touch screen, and headrest.

Standard room at Disney’s Contemporary resort sleeps five. ©Disney

When you arrive at your hotel room

Here’s a suggested routine you can follow:

First, if it is an option, open the window or sliding door to air out the room. Germs can linger in the air for hours and this is a great way to help the air change over so it’s fresher and cleaner.

As the room airs out, wipe down:

  1. Doorknobs: Your room door, closet, bathroom (and sliding glass door if any)
  2. Switches: Wall light switches and lamp switches
  3. Pulls: Curtains, bureau drawers, bedstand drawers
  4. Appliances: Clock, coffee pot buttons, and safe handle and keypad. The remote control deserves a special mention – after you wipe it, put it in a plastic sandwich or quart size bag. It works just fine and you won’t have to touch it directly. Those little cracks and crevices are petri dishes!
  5. Surfaces: Nightstands, desk and hard surface chair arm rests

    Caribbean Beach Guest Room Bathroom

Next, head into the bathroom and wipe down these things (you already did the doorknob):

  1. All hard surfaces you’ll set your toiletries on
  2. Sink and shower handles
  3. Toilet seat, lid, and handle

A couple more suggestions

Before using any provided glasses or cups (if they’re not the disposable kind), run them under hot water for a minute or two.

Put suitcases on the luggage rack, not the bed. Those little wheels have been everywhere and touched who-knows-what in the airport, airplane, sidewalk, trunk, etc. But if you must use the bed, you can wipe off the suitcase and wheels first.

Most likely the decorative bedspread or decorative pillows on the bed aren’t washed or changed between stays (and who knows what the previous residents did on the bedspread?). Take them off and sleep with the clean sheets, pillows and a blanket.

We wear slippers or socks in our room, especially if it’s carpeted. ’Nuff said.

(When we travel, we bring along a small portable phone charger/UV sanitizer to disinfect our phones, any credit cards we used in transit, cash and coins we received during the day, etc. We just throw them in at night and we’re good to go.)

Ready to head out?

Carry hand sanitizer with you. If you’re as finicky as we are, use it after riding an attraction because who knows who used the grab bar before you. It’s also easier to use hand sanitizer with little ones who are less likely to wash their hands well and more likely to touch their faces often.

This may sound like a lot of work, but it doesn’t take much time, really – and it sure takes up a lot less vacation time than getting sick! It makes “cents,” too; if you calculate how many dollars per day your trip cost, missing out on one day’s fun can be costly…

So wash your hands and be well!

Have any other tips? Let us know in the comments. 

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Bob Jacobs

Bob Jacobs lives in Wisconsin where he recently retired as Editorial Director and writer for a well-known clothing catalog company. He and his wife Cristie have four children, seven grandchildren and a cocker spaniel named Penny the Dog. They’ve visited Walt Disney World regularly since 1992.

8 thoughts on “Eight Things to Disinfect Immediately When You Get to Your Hotel Room (plus a few more suggestions)

  • July 5, 2021 at 12:20 pm

    And when you’re doing all those things on the plane, make sure you’re out of the way so others can pass and continue to board, so the plane can depart on time.

    • July 6, 2021 at 9:55 am

      Agreed! We’ve found we can do all of this sitting down, without hindering other passengers. It seems consideration for others while traveling is really more important now than ever! Thanks.

  • July 6, 2021 at 8:57 am

    The remotes are cleaned and already bagged at WDW these days and nothing substitutes for good hand washing . There’s also little decorative bedding like the old bedspreads, etc. Perhaps an update to this article based on current practices at WDW would be more helpful?

  • July 6, 2021 at 9:52 am

    As I wrote, I wanted to be more general about practices that could be used at all hotels, not just those on property, since not everybody stays onsite. Mousekeeping does a terrific job, and thanks to you for adding information that will be helpful to a lot of folks!

    • July 6, 2021 at 1:12 pm

      Sorry, that wasn’t clear at all since that wasn’t mentioned and the pictures are all from on property WDW room.

      • July 6, 2021 at 1:42 pm

        You’re right! (FWIW, my wife made a similar comment when she saw the post…lesson learned!)

  • July 6, 2021 at 12:31 pm

    Since these places get so many international travelers, before we even go into our room anywhere we stay, we send one person in to check the beds for bed bugs by pulling back the covers and sheets down to the mattress pad. Only once we get the all clear will we then bring anything in. We’ve never seen any at Disney properties, but we still don’t want to take that chance!

  • July 8, 2021 at 7:20 am

    You forgot the real important part – wash your hands regularly and avoid touching your face often. The rest of this is total overkill unless you are a germaphobe. Overuse of sanitizer on hands leads to dry skin which is more likely to pick up germs per medical research. Washing hands is far more effective than hand sanitizer. It’s being researched that too clean is worse for immune systems as well. So wash your hands with non antibacterial soap and try not to go crazy unless you have an issue with your immune system.


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