Yes, Hotel Bathtubs Are as Gross as Everyone Says

TikTok users are coming for the cesspools that are hotel tubs. It's about time.

A hotel bathtub with a view. Turns out hotel baths are as gross as everyone says on TikTok.
Good views, bad everything else.

If there is a hill I’m willing to die on, it is this: baths are the worst.

I loathe them. They’re both grossly overrated and also just gross. I can’t wrap my head around “relaxing” in what is essentially a pool of my own, for lack of a better term, filth. I find myself wanting to shower either before or after the deed, and sometimes both — not at all efficient. So the idea of sinking into a hotel bathtub? Cringe to the highest degree.

Luckily, per a report from The Daily Beast, a flood of TikTok users have joined the bath-hating ranks, validating my disdain. The reason? Hotel bathtubs, specifically, are gross. And not just in concept.

According to one study cited in the article, many bathtubs have a “biofilm” that only comes off with intense scrubbing. A second found that 81% of surfaces tested in hotels had fecal matter on them (what in the actual fuck?), and while tubs aren’t explicitly mentioned, toilets and sinks are, so…you do the math.

Further, a 2012 study of hotel cleanliness found that housekeepers spend “about 30 minutes on each room, and that some of the most contaminated hotel items are actually the sponges and mops in housekeepers’ carts — a.k.a. the items used to clean the tubs,” Conde Nast Traveler reported back in 2016. And one TikTok user, a former housekeeper, said that they barely spent any time cleaning hotel bathtubs at all.

The Most-Searched Hotel Amenities of the Pandemic Are Probably Not What You’d Think
The most sought-after amenity of the past three years was … a bathtub

Of course, TikTok is nothing if not a breeding ground for hacks. Some users have started employing bathtub liners to put some distance between themselves and the porcelain. Others have resorted to dishwasher tablets. But even these open the door for a whole new set of questions, chief among them: who packs a dishwasher tablet, or a bathtub liner, in their suitcase?

The obvious answer here is to avoid bathtubs altogether, although, given that bathtubs were the most-searched-for hotel amenity at the height of the pandemic, it stands to reason that probably isn’t as obvious to the masses.

“It’s how you frame it,” Erica Hartmann, an associate professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Northwestern University, told The Daily Beast. “You can either be grossed out by people doing nasty stuff or you can be the one doing nasty stuff yourself.”

I, for one, will continue to align myself with the former. I find solace that the bulk of TikTok seems to share my values on the subject.


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