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Cleaning equipment in hotels puts hygiene at risk31st of July 2012
A recent study has shown that cleaning equipment in hotels may be contaminated by high levels of disease-causing bacteria.
Researchers at the University of Houston in the USA collected swabs in nine hotel rooms across Texas, Indiana and South Carolina. These were then tested for bacteria likely to cause illnesses such as streptococcus, staphylococcus and faecal bacteria.
The study's examination of the cleaning equipment used in the rooms found that some of the highest levels of bacteria were on gloves, mops and sponges. The researchers recommended changing cleaning fluids between housekeeping shifts to minimise cross-contamination.
The researchers collected swabs from 19 surfaces in the rooms themselves. Bathroom sinks and floors were other key areas for contamination but the most bacteria-infested areas were telephone key pads, TV remote controls and main light switches.
Research leader Katie Kirsch said the study was intended for housekeeping managers. "Housekeepers currently clean 14 to 16 rooms per eight-hour shift, spending approximately 30 minutes on each room," she said.
"Identifying high-risk items within a hotel room would allow housekeeping managers to strategically design cleaning practices and allocate time to efficiently reduce the potential health risks posed by microbial contamination in hotel rooms."
Hotels have already responded to the research. Hampton Inns is using an advertising campaign to highlight its good hygiene practices while Best Western has provided cleaning staff with black light testers to detect unseen bacteria as well as sanitary wraps for remote controls.