About the Investigative Report of Bed Sheets Not Being Changed in Hotel Rooms…

The sheets on the bed in the hotel room in which you are a guest may not have been washed or changed before you arrived and checked in, according to this investigative report by Ann Mercogliano of Inside Edition, who exclaimed “This is absolutely disgusting” when the sheets were discovered to not have been changed at all on the beds in the rooms of three of nine different hotel properties in New York which were the targets of the investigation.

About the Investigative Report of Bed Sheets Not Being Changed in Hotel Rooms…

The words I SLEPT HERE were sprayed with a special harmless washable fluorescent paint onto the bed sheets using a stencil, which is otherwise invisible to the naked eye. When a different guest returned to the same room the next day, those words appeared on the bed sheets of three of the hotel properties when exposed under ultraviolet light — proving that the sheets were not changed.

Other Reports of Possible Hotel Shenanigans

The report from Inside Edition is the latest of a series of reports over the years by media outlets pertaining to questioning the cleanliness of hotel rooms.

For example, here is an investigative report from the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation from Friday, October 18, 2013 pertaining to six of the largest lodging chains at the time in Canada with tests to see if they had cleaned up their act in an update of this report which originally broadcast on Friday, November 9, 2012. “Are the stains on the sheets and walls gone? Are the bathrooms and ice machines free of bacteria? Despite promises to address the shocking conditions, bedroom surprises still lurk in some of Canada’s most popular hotels.”

I wrote this article pertaining to a legendary video report from a local news station in the greater Atlanta metropolitan area in 2007 regarding the cleanliness of drinking glasses in a hotel room — if you have the stomach to watch it — where one member of the housekeeping staff of one hotel property does not change gloves to clean the glasses after the toilet was cleaned; and where a member of the housekeeping staff at another hotel property simply sprays an unidentified chemical to briefly wipe the glass with a rag.

Since then, I have never drank any beverage out of a drinking glass found on a counter in a hotel room. I do carry a couple of wrapped plastic cups with me in case I need something from which to drink a beverage…

…and by the way, that report was verified to be true by Snopes.com.

One of My Own Experiences

When I stayed as a guest in the AC Hotel Coslada Aeropuerto hotel property in Madrid, I had found stains in the sheet that was on the bed — a photograph of which is shown at the top of this article — “which fortunately was located on the opposite side of the bed from where I slept — and I did not even want to speculate how that stain got onto the sheet. I have no idea whether or not the stains simply did not wash out in the laundry — or if they were even laundered at all — but I made sure I did not sleep on that side of the bed.” Was I really that fortunate? Just because the side of the bed on which I slept had no visible stains does not necessarily mean that the sheet was clean…

…yet somehow, I survived — without even experiencing the slightest bit of illness.


I have known people who worked in the kitchens of restaurants and catering halls who repeatedly told me that I would not want to eat at those establishments if I knew what really went on behind the scenes pertaining to the handling of food and cleanliness in general. One person told me that salad items were washed directly in the sink — one of the worst places in a kitchen in terms of germs and bacteria — of a location which was part of a national chain of restaurants. Another person told me of s steak which was accidentally dropped on the floor by a waiter and placed back on a plate before it was served to a customer.

In this particular case, I could not help but wonder how the investigators involved in the aforementioned reports were able to check into the same hotel room the next night despite using different people under the guise of being different guests. “Excuse me; but I specifically want room 159. No other room will suffice.” What would the person behind the front desk think? Would he or she be suspicious?

Other than that question, I cannot imagine that Inside Edition — which is not exactly known as the most respected media organization in terms of news — would fabricate a story such as this. The names of three specific hotel properties were identified as the offenders. To fabricate such a story would surely open them up to accusations of libel and potential lawsuits, I would think — and the possibility of that could still happen despite evidence to the contrary.

Whether or not a sampling of nine hotel properties is enough to determine that bed sheets are not changed between guests at fully one third of hotel properties — or that you have a 33.33 percent chance of sleeping on a bed on which the sheet was not changed since the last guest slept on it…

…and even if one time is more than enough, what are we as consumers supposed to do? Hide in our homes for the remainder of our lives?

What does not kill you makes you stronger is an old saying — which might explain why frequent travelers are perhaps more resistant to illness than people who do not travel.

If you are suspect of the sheets which are on the bed in the hotel room in which you are staying, you could always call housekeeping to have those sheets changed to fresh linens — or you could bring your own linens with you wherever you travel, which I will not do.

I will take my chances…

Photograph ©2014 by Brian Cohen.

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