Oh, hotels and their dirty little secrets!
From semen-caked sheets to sweat-stained pillow covers, we have heard it all before. But this one is going to shock you out of your shoes.
That convenient rejuvenating morning cuppa that you make in your room may be laced with bacteria, dead skin cells and probably, the unmentionables from used underwear. Yikes!
You heard that right. If you have not yet considered the potential of a hotel room kettle to disinfect your used underwear, then you are not travel-savvy enough.
Turns out that it is quite a trend among frequent travellers!
This disturbing and downright-gross act was first discussed on Twitter by a user with the handle ‘YugSTAR’ and it freaked the hell out of almost everyone who read it.
Almost instantly, Metro.co.uk played snoop and dug out some evidence that hotel staff have often found underwear left behind in kettles.
Why boil underwear in kettles?
The first question that pops up is why anyone of sane mind would want to boil their underwear in a kettle, of all things.
Well, a last minute travel plan, hasty packing, forgetting to pack spare underwear, things like this happen frequently.
But the notion that boiling used underwear in a kettle is going to disinfect it or clean it any better than what a hotel laundry would, is completely flawed.
Experts have trashed the theory and have even warned users against a possible superbug infection.
A basic electric tea kettle automatically shuts down when the temperature reaches close to 100°C. In fact, most of it shut down at temperatures well below, like 85-90°C. That is not even close to the temperatures needed to ‘sterilize’ underwear as many bacteria can survive temperatures as high as 120°C.
Other than leaving traces of the bacteria behind, your underwear may also collect the residue left behind from a previous ‘disinfection attempt’ made by a guest who shares similar ‘skivvy cleaning’ habits.
How dirty is your hotel room?
Another misconception among travellers is that the above mentioned incident might be limited to low-priced or budget hotels.
Well, even top-rated hotels are not too far behind when it comes to harboring bacterial colonies as this study by Travelmath discovered.
The fact is that irrespective of what category of hotel room you book, there is every chance that surfaces like the bathroom counter, the desk and objects like the remote control, the hair dryer and the phone are teeming with bacterial colonies.
More often than not, the housekeeping staff has limited time before the next guest checks in. Cutting corners while disinfecting surfaces is not unheard of.
You can now add the kettle to the top of the list.
What’s shocking is that boiling underwear is not the worst thing that travellers are guilty off. According to an Australian news website, some travellers also fancy urinating in a kettle for reasons best known to them.
We are sure that the very sight of a hotel kettle will induce the gag reflex in you the next time. What is the workaround other than paying a few extra dollars for your morning cup of Joe?
Well, portable kettles are a possibility.
Many travellers prefer carrying one with them to avoid using hotel kettles for obvious reasons. We are sure that sales for portable kettles are going to skyrocket now that the muck is out in the open.
And don’t you picture large and clunky devices that will eat into your valuable luggage space.
There are compact and portable kettles that fit right into suitcases.
The other way is to carry enough pairs so that you can avoid the whole ‘cleaning’ hassle.
And in the rarest of scenarios that you have been guilty of the above mentioned act, you’d want to head to a dermatologist and get yourself checked. You may very well have exposed yourself to salmonella, E.Coli and even Hepatitis A virus.
So, the next time, avoid the whole underwear kettle bath and leave it for the next traveller’s morning cup of chamomile.