Study reveals germiest hotspots in planes and hotels

Germ-harbouring spots include seatbelts on planes and elevator buttons and TV remotes in hotels.

Reckitt’s Lysol Pro Solutions has revealed the most contaminated surfaces on planes and in hotels ahead of what is expected to be the busiest travel season since 2019.

While many of us would expect surfaces such as toilet handles and bathroom doors to harbor germs, Lysol Pro Solutions’ analysis found a number of hidden dangers such as TV remotes in hotel rooms, elevator buttons and luggage carts in hotel common areas, and plane seatbelt buckles.[1]

Lysol Pro Solutions’ team of scientists used a method known as ATP (adenosine triphosphate) analysis to measure contamination levels on surfaces in 10 planes, 1 airport and 15 hotels across the US.

ATP analysis uses swab tests that provide a rapid measurement of germs on surfaces – in other words, how effectively they have been cleaned and disinfected. The results found the following top three germiest hotspots in each environment:

  • Hotel rooms:
  1. Toilet handles
  2. (tied ) TV remotes, doorknobs
  3. (tied) Desktops, fridge handles, nightstands
  • Hotel common areas:
  1. Elevator buttons
  2. Luggage cart handrails
  3. (tied) Bathroom doors, front desks, elevator handrails
  • Airport check-in lobby:
  1. Pin pad at check-in kiosks
  2. Check-in countertops
  3. Baggage office countertops
  • Plane seat area:
  1. (tied) Seatbelt buckles, window shade handles
  2. Tray table latch
  3. Overhead air vent dials

By understanding where to focus cleaning and disinfection measures, hotel owners and airlines can develop a targeted hygiene program that helps provide protection for customers and staff.

Lysol Pro Solutions’ research approach takes into account what different surfaces are made of, what the different combinations of interactions between customers and staff look like, and what disinfection products can be used for each surface.

According to Lysol Pro Solutions, its approach also empowers consumers to engage in the hygiene experience by equipping them with the products and education to help protect themselves and those around them.

Dr. Lisa Ackerley, director, medical and scientific engagement, hygiene, at Reckitt’s Lysol Pro Solutions, said that in this era of heightened germ awareness, activities such as using public transport and staying in a hotel still concerns the public.

“It’s critical that businesses in these sectors understand how germs spread in hotels and planes, and take the necessary steps to make people feel confident as they return to travelling,” Ackerley said.

“This should include a combination of facility-led hygiene protocols that are targeted on the right hotspots at the right time, and equipping customers and staff with the products and education to help protect themselves and other travelers around them.

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