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Bed Bugs in Your Hotel – How To Check For Cleanliness

Bed bugs are a traveling concern for a lot of people. There are some quick and easy ways to detect if the hotel you are staying in has bed bugs or previously had bed bugs. We also have some great tips for checking how well your room has been serviced.

Whether you are staying in a 4 star resort or an average hotel, the concern of cleanliness is on most travelers mind when resting their head on their pillow.

You have to keep perspective when traveling knowing this is not your own bed, many people, from all over the world have made this room their haven during their recent vacation.

Vacation is about relaxing and not worrying if you may encounter bed bugs or any other germs left behind by a previous guest. Here is how to check for the most pressing cleanliness issues.

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Bed Bugs

motel room
Did you know bed bugs can be seen with the naked eye? These pesky creatures can turn up in even some of the nicest hotels .

How to check for both live and previous signs of bug infestations.

  1. Take off all the sheets from the bed. Look for dried red or black spots on the mattress, this is evidence bed bugs excrement. Have your phone’s flashlight out to better light the area.
  2. Check the underside of the mattress, most hotels flip and rotate their mattresses about 4 times a year.
  3. Check the pillows for the same reddish residue. Unfortunately even the nicest hotels do not wash their pillows after each guest.
  4. The room should smell fresh but not scented. If the room is overly perfumed they may be hiding the musty smell bed bugs excrete.
  5. Bed bugs are very tiny but they can be seen with the naked eye, especially if there in an infestation.


Mold is not only a sign rooms have not been cleaned or serviced properly but it can also cause health risks. Here is how to be proactive about detecting mold in your hotel room.

  1. When walking into the hotel lobby, notice the smell. Is it a clean natural smell or does it smell of heavy cleaners and air fresheners. If the smell is overwhelming it’s a sure sign they are trying to cover up a musty mold odor.
  2. Check areas where water is prevalent, an obvious area is the bathroom. Look at the grout inside and on the outside of the tub. Check the toilet seals and the lid to the toilet tank, these are areas that are seldom cleaned where mold can accrue
  3. Use a clean towel to rub down these areas, if the towel is clean your good. If the towel has brown or black residue the bathroom has not been cleaned well.
  4. The vents are another overlooked area for mold, grab a clean washcloth and run it over the grates to check for mold and dust.

General Cleaning

Do a 10 minute check to tell if a room has been thoroughly cleaned recently.

  1. Grab your handy white wash cloth from the bathroom and wipe along the bed frame or headboard, there should not be dust or any off colors.
  2. Move a chair or side table, you may be surprised what has ended up under or behind there.
  3. Lift up the couch cushions, check for stains, hair, for food particles.
  4. Open drawers and wipe down with your white cloth, hair and dust can often get trapped in there and they are rarely wiped out.
  5. Remove bedspread and throw pillows. There is some controversy in this area because when you ask a hotel directly they will tell you they are cleaned and sanitized after each guest. Many travelers swear these items are never cleaned. Best to be on the safe side and put these items in the closet.
  6. Traveling with a child: I’m not a huge chemical cleaning agent user but when ordering a pack and play, I wipe it down with a lysol wipe and then spray with A mixture of vinegar, water, and lavender oil just to be safe. I pack these items in my suitcase every time we travel.

What To Do When Your Room Is Not Cleaned to Standard

Remove your guests and items from the room and calmly walk down to the front desk and ask to speak to the front desk manager. Explain the evidence you found and offer a solution. Something to remember is that yelling and screaming about the situation causes everyone to be defensive. Most likely the agents working the front desk and they are probably not directly at fault and are more than willing to help. 

  • Ask to speak to the front desk manager
  • Offer a solution:
    • I would like to see another room
    • Can you re-clean in the areas that were not satisfactory?
    • Because of the inconvenience I would like a credit applied to my room.
    • If the room is unbearable, ask to be refunded plus the cost of any other charges like parking.
    • If the hotel is part of a larger brand, make a formal complaint with their corporate offices.

Trust Your Senses

When traveling, keeping yourself aware of the cleanliness of your hotel should be an important thought. Be vigilant in detecting the signs that something may not be right.

Checking reviews, photos, and using your senses to detect anything off are great tools to ensure your trip will be fun, clean, and overall safe. Furthermore this helps you get familiar with the hotel and see photos of the property.

Lastly, trust your gut, if something seems wrong it just might be.

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