I had briefly been a hotel housekeeper (HATED IT!) and these are some things I'd learned from that experience. Better than nothing, but a job that nearly killed my back and knees, and paid less than minimum wage, right?
When staying in a motel/hotel: THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW FIRST!
(This does not apply to ALL, but the lower scale the place, the more cautious you should be.)
First things first: If you are in the room between 6 a.m. and 11 a.m.- do not expect to be able to take a nap, or sleep. This is the time the housekeepers and others are cleaning, vacuuming, taking out the trash, and toting laundry and carts of supplies up and down the halls, which means a lot of up and down the hall traffic, noise, talking, constant knocks on other doors and possibly a knock on your door. When leaving between 6 a.m. and 11 a.m for the day, DO NOT put out the DO NOT DISTURB sign! You WILL NOT get new sheets, towels, products, etc. If you did NOT put out the sign, you should have had your bed remade with clean sheets, used towels removed and new ones replaced, and used products replaced with new ones, and trash removed from cans.
MOST IMPORTANT: As soon as you enter the room, DO NOT SIT ON THE BEDS! DO NOT SET YOUR STUFF ON THE BEDS! Carefully pull back the top two blankets off the beds with two fingers, and toss over to an out-of-the-way corner of the room. (Wash hands after!) This is usually a comforter and some type of thermal blanket. "WHY?" you ask. You really wanna know? Those two covers are rarely changed, ESPECIALLY the top one, the comforter. These blankets are stripped off the beds, only to be put BACK ON the bed when the sheets are changed. (The sheets ARE to be changed daily! If you ever notice how you may sometimes see a little motel sign saying "Fresh sheets, changed daily" or something of the such... "sheets" does not mean blanket and comforter!) They will be changed, and washed, ONLY when obvious to the naked eye that it is dirty. But, then, not everyone has 20/20 vision, right? Say, someone dropped their pizza on it, or it has a *cough* wet spot. Greasy stains and bodily fluids on a crazy=patterned comforter dries and blends in quite well...you get the picture? Why do you think all motel/hotels use comforters with big, colorful designs? IT HIDES THE STAINS! And, don't use the excuse that you'll be cold/hot...the rooms have some type of heating/cooling capability. If they aren't working to your standards, what are ya doing there still? Now, I cannot TELL you HOW many times I've seen where people have SLEPT between THESE TOP TWO SHEETS! I guess they think the SHEETS are the ones that are the dirtiest? No clue. And, it gives me the ALL-OUT WILLIES to see this! And, now...it does the same to you, too...huh? And, yes, this is the proper procedure in almost EVERY 'less than 5 star' motel/hotel! Especially any place where you're NOT spending more than a $100 a night for a room. Also, check for bed bugs. How? Pull up the corner of the bottom sheet by the headboard and look for black spots (the dried blood/droppings from the pest) or dead bugs and you can be MORE thorough by looking all around the mattress seam (the part where it's sen together) for the spots and corpses. More than likely, you will not see the actual live bugs, unless you're in the bed and they're already feasting on you. They only come out after you've warmed the bed for them.
Important Bathroom Observations:
If the shower/tub/sink or counter top is wet: (I mean obviously used recently, with water droplets and soap suds anywhere from the ceiling to the floor, or a wet shower curtain, because you CAN STILL 'get' things from touching a wet shower curtain!): it has NOT been CLEANED! Not only are these supposed to be cleaned, whether or not it looks as if the previous tenant used it, it is supposed to be DRIED after cleaning. DO NOT EVER USE WET SHAMPOO/CONDITIONER BOTTLES OR SOAP BARS! That means they were probably either left from the previous user, or sitting in water and/or cleaner for who knows how long.
Lift the toilet lid and seat (with toilet paper or a tissue): obvious signs of (usually) male use, such as urine spots or pubic hair, OR ANYTHING AT ALL in the toilet bowl (besides obvious cleaner)... NOT BEEN CLEANED!
Hair(s) of any type in the bathroom floor...duh! UNCLEAN! Should have not ONLY been swept, but mopped BY HAND, too! They don't have us tote around mops and buckets. We'd have to use a towel and tile/antibacterial cleaner...on our friggin' knees to clean all the nooks and crannies. (The hair thing also goes for the shower/bath drain and the sink area, too)
Now for some little things:
Coffee maker - check to see if there is a used filter inside. (Yes, it has happened!) I suggest to NOT USE. I saw someone clean the inside of one with the same rag they just cleaned the counter top off with, or using glass cleaner. EWW! Perhaps, if you're desperate, fill it with water, do NOT put in any type of filter, and do a full run-through. If the water seems clean and clear, you're probably safe to use it now, as any kind of cleaner that may have been used was surely heated to a good, high temperature and now flushed out. Maybe, for safety's sake... do it again? I say, if you are like me and HAVE to have coffee right out of bed, bring your own travel-size coffee-maker, and now you can bring YOUR coffee, too! Double awesome!
Carpet - should be free of obvious litter and dirt.
Windows and mirrors - well, if it matters, they should have been cleaned as well. But, it's a good sign as to whether or not the whole room was cleaned. If the housekeeper got all of the nose prints and streaks off, she was probably thorough. I lost count of how many greasy kid-sized hand prints and, sigh, adult body part prints I've cleaned off windows. When you think of it, seeing a child's tongue streak all over glass that just yesterday had obvious "adult usage" signs on it... ick!
Jacuzzi/Hot tub - same as tub/shower: free of hair and water (meaning DRY), and a clean filter as well. Black mold growing in a filter is not a good thing to take a bath in. Plus, the things people obviously do in those... you don't want that floating around in your tub and maybe *shiver* accidentally swallow some.
TV Remote, Telephone and Clock/Radio - these are hardly cleaned, and hard to REALLY clean.
Cups and Glasses - Hopefully you're lucky enough to have the plastic kind wrapped in plastic. Otherwise, they probably weren't cleaned with any more than water and/or glass cleaner.
Towels and washcloths - If the guest before you didn't use them, or at least didn't LOOK like they'd been used, they COULD be the same ones, plus clean ones of whatever they DID use to take their place. How do you know whether or not they were used? How do you know which is which? You DON'T! Even if they look clean, don't expect them to not give you anything.
Ice buckets - same as cups and glasses...if you must use, USE THE BAG INSERT! You don't know what the other people before you may have used it for. I've seen them used as trash cans, giant cups for alcohol, and portable toilets... don't ask. If you can't get one, don't use it.
Anything you can "call the front desk" for - obviously everyone has used those, too, such as hair dryers, irons, etc. I don't recall EVER having to clean a hair dryer or iron. Just told to return it to the front desk. Never thought about that until NOW! Unless it's something disposable or bought from the desk or those handy vending machines like razors and such and wrapped in some type of plastic cover, it won't be completely clean or sanitized.
NOW, HOW TO GET AROUND THESE THINGS:
Bedspreads: You CAN, if you must, pour a cup of water or other liquid on it. Since you should already have it in a far corner, you can "spill" on it over there. If you have a young child, say they accidentally 'went' on it (are they gonna sniff it?) or spilled their drink on it. Then, call the front desk and say you "accidentally" spilled your cup on the bed or what-not. Now, the COMFORTER you get in return will have to be one that was in the hotel's closet after hopefully being washed, waiting to be used as a replacement. But, if you get the middle blanket wet, too, it will at LEAST be a CLEANER blanket, but may also be one that has been occasionally used when a guest has called down for an extra blanket, possibly NOT washed afterward. Hopefully not.
Remote, Phone, Clock/Radio - Use carefully, as in washing hands after use, and not putting your fingers near face while/after using, unless you carry antibacterial wipes and wipe them down really good. Just don't go nuts and make it sopping wet, duh! FOLLOW THE DIRECTIONS ON THE PACKAGE! Some say let air dry... some you can wipe dry.
Towels and Washcloths - You could ask for extras right away, and only use those, IF they allow you to. BEST solution if you're staying just one night. OR, if staying more than one night, don't shower/bathe the first night, then get all the towels and washcloths wet a bit (or not, just made to look used), and pile them all in the floor. You'll get the same results... nice, clean towels the next afternoon! Just, DON'T put out the "Do Not Disturb" sign, or you won't get any towels. Or...If you MUST shower or bathe the first night (after a good, long trip... sometimes you just gotta!), just air dry the first night, and do as previously mentioned!
Unclean tub/shower/jacuzzi/hot tub/floor, etc - call the desk and tell them RIGHT AWAY. They'll send someone, or otherwise fix the problem. WATCH THEM! They'll hate you for it, but it's your skin/health you're trusting them to.
Anything else - You'll just have to bring your own to REALLY, TRULY be sure. Sorry.
There ya go! Hey, and ENJOY YOUR STAY!
And...don't expect any room to be totally clean...housekeepers don't get paid well. I wasn't paid by the hour (but most are), I was paid by the room. I could make anywhere from 2 to 4 rooms an hour, even though I was expected to do upwards of five to ten. But, I made sure to actually CLEAN my rooms, unlike the others. PLEASE tip your housekeeper! ESPECIALLY if you leave a lot of trash, mess up more than one bed, stay more than one night, or use every single item in the room. ---
Just like, if you go to a party at someone else's house! You don't just show up for the night, and leave without some gratitude to the host!