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How Gross Are Hotel Bathtubs? “That’s Not the Point” Argues A New Study

How Gross Are Hotel Bathtubs? “That’s Not the Point” Argues A New Study
Jennifer Billock

One of the best things about having a suite hotel room is that sometimes it comes with a big jacuzzi tub inside — but given that everything else in a hotel room has been proven time and again to be completely filthy, are bathtubs really worth the risk of soaking where so many other people have before?

Isn’t it the best feeling to step into a hot, swirling jacuzzi tub in your hotel room after a long day of sightseeing? It’s refreshing—until you remember all the studies done in hotel rooms that show how disgusting and germy everything is. Should you skip the bath? Is it worth it to avoid getting sick, and is there even a chance of getting sick from a hotel tub in the first place?

“Your chances of encountering a microbe that will make you sick in the bathtub while bathing aren’t very high,” Rob Dunn, Professor of Applied Ecology at NC State University, told Smarter Travel. “They are far higher from shaking the hand of the person at the front desk than from lounging in the tub. In short, lounge in the tub and don’t worry about it. But wash your hands with soap and water (though never antimicrobial soap) after shaking hands.”

Another professor, Erica Marie Hartmann from Northwestern University, agrees—and told Smarter Travel that even if something unsavory is floating around in your hotel room bathtub, you don’t really have to worry if you’re generally healthy.

Just remember not to drink the water from the tub.


[Image: Pixabay/Quinn Kampschroer]

View Comments (3)


  1. AllanJ

    October 22, 2019 at 5:05 pm

    Wipe down the inner surface of the tub with an alcohol soaked rag (purchase supplies locally).

  2. jctech

    October 23, 2019 at 4:36 am

    How did you get to the hotel?
    sitting in a taxi that 500 other people have sat in, and not cleaned
    Walked, with 20000 other people breathing their germs into the air you breathe

    All this hype about hotel rooms is just that, hype. Sure they aren’t always clean, but as long as you don’t lick the windows or drink the bath water, 99% of the time you wont get sick.
    You come into contact with many more “germs” in daily life, travelling or shopping in a bookshop or supermarket

  3. KRSW

    October 27, 2019 at 10:12 pm

    I’m willing to bet most of the Hilton/Hyatt/Marriott hotel rooms are cleaner than most guests’ homes. I certainly don’t clean my bathroom daily, nor do I change sheets every 2 days.

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