Are hotel room glasses really clean?

February 22, 2008 1:09:07 AM PST
Are the drinking glasses placed in hotel rooms clean? 7 On Your Side investigates.

Are the glasses put out in hotel rooms clean? That's what Michael Finney has been looking into and he joins us now with an undercover investigation.

Plastic cups found in hotel rooms are clean. If they are wrapped, you can bet they are sanitary, but what about glasses? Are they really clean?

If the question has never occurred to you, rest assured, there are plenty of others who have been thinking about it.

"I don't really use them. I don't use them, I just look at them and wonder, have they been washed?" said Los Angeles resident Katryna Hooker.

But is there any real reason for concern? Our investigation found hotels don't all deal with drinking glasses the same way.

In most locations, by law, mechanical dishwashers or approved hand washing techniques must be used.

That's the law in San Mateo County, where we visited The Four Points by Sheraton Hotel and Suites.

We observed housekeepers working hard and steady, but coming up short when it comes to cleaning glasses, mugs and coffeepots.

The cleanup of the room continues and then this. We never see any soap or other cleaner used. Not even a sponge or cleaning cloth.

Back out in the room, the items are toweled off, and caps are put on the cups.

"Unacceptable,'" said Dean Peterson from the San Mateo Health Department.

That's San Mateo's Director of Environmental Health Services, Dean Peterson. His division of the health department is in charge of overseeing hotels.

"Those glasses, coffee mugs are required to be properly sanitized so they must go through a dishwashing machine or go through a manual process that is dictated by law," said Peterson.

ABC7's Michael Finney: "The manual process, can it be done in a hotel bathroom?"

"No it can not," said Peterson.

The hotel declined to talk to 7 On Your Side on camera, but issued this statement: "We are concerned over findings you may have encountered during your stay. Our policy is to clean all glassware in dishwashing machines without exception. We have been training our housekeepers on this very issue in recent weeks."

And this isn't just an issue in the Bay Area. Last week "Good Morning America" aired similar video taken from around the country.

At a Kansas City Holiday Inn, the housekeeper dries her hands and then the dirty glasses.

The hotel Says: "It sets stringent quality standards. As we work to ensure 100-percent execution of these standards, we have changed to the use of pre-wrapped plastic cups exclusively."

At the Millennium Hotel in Cincinnati an employee uses a spray bottle on the coffee pot and glasses. The bottle says Lysol mildew remover.

We can't be sure what is in the bottle, but it says, "harmful if swallowed."

At a Phoenix Embassy Suites, cameras catch housekeepers rinsing out dirty glasses, and putting them back out.

The Embassy Suites says: "Glassware must be replaced daily and sanitized. We are re-emphasizing this training."

We'll give the final word to this French tourist.

"You are joking? We've always thought American people were very hygiene conscious, not in hotels?" said tourist Ann-Marie Iturria.

Here are some of the hotel chains sanitation in-room sanitation processes: Hilton
Two types of glass. Drinking and coffee cups. Cups are removed from the room and placed in racks, then sent into the commercial dishwasher where they are washed and steamed dried.

Radisson
Remove glasses from room and placed into racks. And then sent into the dishwasher.

Holiday Inn
Glassware in racks and it's sent into the dishwasher.

Hampton Inn
For the most part cups are disposable and they have the option of in-room sanitation.

Embassy Suites
Glassware is taken out of the rooms and placed in racks. Then sent into the dishwasher.

Four Seasons
All glassware, silverware, and china are washed the same way. It's removed from the room and placed the dishwasher.

Four Points
Glassware is removed from room and sent into the dishwasher for sanitation.

W Hotel
"Our established procedure is to clean all glassware in dishwashing machines and we accept no deviations from that standard."

Marriott
Glassware is removed from room and to the dishwasher where it is cleaned and sanitized.


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