Don't Use The Coffeemaker In Your Hotel Room. Here's Why

A hotel's business is to make travelers as comfortable as possible while they're away from home. To that end, most major hotel chains provide their customers with amenities like a mini-fridge for food, a hair dryer, iron, and mini-coffeemaker. The last item is often a welcome perk for vacationers who need their morning caffeine fix, but who don't feel like facing the lobby breakfast bar or the Dunkin' across the street. Who doesn't love a relaxing cup of coffee in bed?

Alas, all that convenience comes at a pretty high (and icky) price. A report published in Smarter Travel reveals that hotel coffeemakers aren't necessarily as clean and sanitary as they may appear. They cite a study from Spain's University of Valencia in which scientists took samples from the waste trays of nine Nespresso machines that had been used for a year. They found thriving colonies of a host of bacteria, including enterococcus, pseudomonas, pantoea, and other unpronounceable bugs. 

Dr. Aaron Glatt, chairman of South Nassau Communities Hospital's department of medicine, explained to the website that coffee drinkers run the risk of illness if they drink from pots that aren't regularly cleaned. Trouble is, coffeemakers need regular rinses with vinegar in order to kill the bacteria within — every few months — and it's doubtful that hotels go to those lengths to sanitize the hundreds of in-room brewers.

That hotel coffeemaker might have been used for something else

You might not fare any better if you get your java from the hotel lobby or breakfast buffet. Microbiology professor Dr. Charles Gerba told Smarter Travel that germs collect quickly on communal coffeepot handles, where they can transfer to your hands when you pour your own cup. And even if you never go outside your hotel room, you might still be at risk of exposure to other guests' bacteria. "[W]e've done virus tracer studies where we found that maids move the viruses from room to room during cleaning," Dr. Gerba explained.

Even that isn't the worst thing that can happen to an in-room coffeemaker. TikTok influencer Angela Riihiluoma, a former hotel employee, revealed some very dirty little secrets about hotel rooms on her channel. As reported by The Sun, Riihiluoma advised her followers never to use the cups in the room if they're made of glass. (It seems the housekeeping staff may cut corners on cleaning times by just wiping the glasses down with Windex instead of actually washing them.)

Riihiluoma also warned viewers never to use hotel-room coffeemakers. Why? "Because apparently, some people like to use it as a urinal," she said. "So I don't care how addicted you are to coffee — don't use it."

Of course, this is just one anecdotal report. There are no actual stats on how many hotel guests are so desperate (or somehow impaired) that they can't manage the few steps to the bathroom. But you might want to stick to a coffee shop for your morning cup.