Hotel GM Warns Don’t Leave Your Toothbrush Out In The Bathroom (What Will Housekeeping Do?)

An ex-hotel manager tells guests they should put away their toothbrushes – don’t leave them out in the bathroom – because housekeepers may mess with them.

Maybe the housekeeper is in a bad mood, thinks the guest is rude, or isn’t tipping. The manager says that housekeepers may “clean certain areas in bathrooms with a guest’s toothbrush that you don’t want to have near your mouth.” Maybe that’s just an argument against having housekeeping clean your room during your stay, after all?

@melly_creations Replying to @tee..lex I have heard that this happens. I have personally never seen it. It is definitely NOT okay to do this. #hotels #hotelstaff #advice ♬ original sound – Melly

Recently a hotel housekeeper stole jewelry from a guest room and then called her incarcerated boyfriend to discuss the crime on a recorded line. Another housekeeper stole guest underwear. And here’s a hotel housekeeper being recorded by a laptop camera trying to access a guest’s computer and rifling through their belongings.

In fact here are several videos of hotel housekeepers caught stealing from guest rooms.

Housekeepers clean rooms scrupulously and honestly every day. Most don’t take anything, or rifle through a guest’s things, though they may tidy them. It’s often obvious who’s taken something, since they’re usually the only person other than the guest accessing the room. There are frequently key card logs and hallway cameras (depending on the property). So they may get caught!

Still, you should put away your toothbrush. And put away all of your tempting personal items. Don’t leave anything of value in obvious view. Why tempt? And those cameras won’t catch what the housekeeper is doing to your toothbrush in any case. In fairness, the former San Antonio-based hotel GM says she’s only heard of this happening – she hasn’t actually caught anyone doing it. In part that may be because catching anyone would be hard.

The fact that it could happen is probably enough for some of you to think twice about leaving your toothbrush out.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. I missed it. What did they do to the toothbrush? I took a Bible out of the drawer in a motel room and hid it so my autistic son wouldn’t tear it up. I put a used coffee cup and guards for my teeth in the drawer. I left the room and the maid came in and threw away what I put in the drawer and put the Bible back. When I came back to the room I started to take a nap and my teeth guards were gone. Luckily I found them in the trash outside the room. After that I took them with me and put a Do Not Disturb sign on the door.

  2. I don’t leave any of my own stuff in the hotel room bathrooms when I’m not in the room, so my toothbrushes wouldn’t be all that easily accessible anyway. I think it’s pretty safe to assume that most all hotel housekeepers aren’t malicious enough to want to risk a random guest’s health, but if really scared of this, just use a kid’s toothbrush with some Disney Princess on it or something like that and a toothpaste that looks like it’s aimed for kids — that would reduce the risk of this too.

    But the more obvious concern is that sometimes hotel housekeepers have very questionable ways of cleaning things and even just spray some strong chemical stuff over the bathroom surfaces and then use dirty towels to wipe down things. Those sprayed or splashed cleansers could also be landing on your toothbrushes out in the open in the bathroom.

  3. How long ago was this? I thought housekeeping was a thing of the past.

    @GUWonder concerning the spray and Sean have it right.

    Every Marriott past stay, come Tuesday night, I’d find my all my bathroom crap, including toothbrush, paste & razor, neatly arranged on a washcloth by the sink and repeated daily until I checked out (and then left tip) on Friday.

    Never gave it a second thought.

  4. I always take all of my belongings with me to explore the city, attend the conference, etc. It’s not that hard to packet everything up and unpack again later.

  5. Why anyone would let housekeeping into their room is beyond me. I don’t want a perfect stranger even LOOKING at my stuff. I reuse my towels, and ask for more if I need them. I don’t generate enough trash in a week to even fill the wastebaskets. I couldn’t care less if my bed is made or my bathroom scrubbed. Housekeeping is a ridiculous concept. My DND sign goes up when I check in and off when I check out.

  6. It’s really common in many countries for housekeepers to “abuse” your toothbrush if you leave it out. This is especially true for military service persons so beware.

  7. Remember if the have to move your stuff (toothbrush included) they are picking it up with the same gloves they used to empty the trash and clean the toilet for the last five rooms! Yuck.

  8. This toothbrush story makes you not want to travel. First we worried about bed bugs, than theft, unexpected hotel fees/taxes and rude hotel management (as stated in Gary’s past articles).

  9. I travel with my cousin (we both get our own rooms). He refuses housekeeping and runs out off towels and coffee and then complains about it. I thought he was being paranoid but maybe paranoia is justified? I make up my own bed every day and keep my toiletries stored in a small travel bag that is stored in the bathroom so there’s no reason for housekeeping to “touch” them but if they move the bag to another spot to wipe under it, I would not notice it be offended. I reuse my towel and hang it up so it does not have to be replaced. If housekeeping is available, I try to minimize the time they spend in my room by keeping it tidy and I appreciate having my coffee refilled and my towels replaced, if needed. I refuse to live my life worrying about what some housekeeper might do with my toothbrush. This could happen in a hospital setting as well. It could even happen in your home when your nephew visits and thinks it is cute or funny. There are many more things to worry about when traveling. Housekeepers are people too. We should acknowledge and appreciate the service they provide….or refuse it and complain, like my cousin does.

  10. If a hotel GM recognizes this as a real concern, then the hotel should provide wrapped toothbrushes on a daily basis as an amenity like they do in many hotels in Asia.

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