You’ll Never Guess the Reason You Shouldn’t Use the Iron in Your Hotel Room

An internet investigation

A hotel iron sitting on an ironing board. Here's why you should never use the iron in your hotel on your clothes.
You'll never look at your hotel iron the same way again.
Getty Images

The internet is full of supposed hotel dos and don’ts, some of which hold water (like “do avoid the bathtub at all costs”) and some of which don’t (like “don’t touch the pillowcase but rather bring your own from home,” a thing literally no one is doing). There is at least one “don’t” that travelers should probably heed, and it involves hotel irons.

Apparently, you should proceed with caution or avoid using the hotel iron altogether, according to Gilbert Ott of God Save the Points. “It’s worth inspecting the hotel iron, or testing it on a non-external-facing garment before trusting your soon-to-be crisp white shirt,” he told the Daily Mail.

“Why? Pilots and others notoriously use irons to reheat pizza and other food during layovers,” Ott said.

I know what you’re thinking: what in the fresh hell? Trust me, as someone who often uses the hotel iron to — get this! — iron her clothes, I understand your shock. Despite being a pretty avid traveler myself, this was news to me. So, in the name of journalism, I did some digging, and it wasn’t long before I came across a response to a four-year-old Quora prompt that asked what hotel hacks flight attendants and pilots had learned while working for airlines. Lo and behold, people recommend using irons to heat food!

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“A favorite: Use the iron to heat your food,” one user wrote. “When I travel, I often bring food, usually sandwiches, from home. It’s healthier, much better tasting and much, much cheaper that the mediocre food sold in hotel restaurants. A hotel iron, turned to high heat and propped upside down becomes a makeshift griddle for heating sandwiches, and even cooking a grilled-cheese sandwich!”

Further, in July of last year, a website called Hotel F&B actually recommended using an “ironing board as a hot plate” and an “iron as a heat source” as a travel hack. A quick Google search revealed that several travel blogs tout it as a hack! So, from there, it shouldn’t have come as a surprise that this little tidbit also made its way to TikTok. Yes, they’re heating their food up with irons there too.

In a video from the user Barfly, he can be seen making a steak with his hotel iron. Though it’s clearly satire — this guy’s whole schtick appears to be making gross food in gross hotels under gross circumstances — he does seemingly use the iron to (somewhat) successfully cook the steak, which lends itself to Ott’s theory that this is indeed a thing people are doing, if not exclusively pilots (or pilots at all).

Ott’s answer to this? Hanging your clothes in the shower and using the subsequent steam to smooth out unwanted wrinkles (which, for what it’s worth, is a thing I also do). On the flip side of that coin, I would argue that the hotel guests who are using irons for anything outside of their intended purpose could be challenged to simply not do that.


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