What’s Really Inside Wall Mounted Hotel Toiletries. It’s Disgusting.

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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 InsideFlyer.com, 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. That’s not the container for the product, it’s the outer case. None of it is going to touch you. Your irrational hatred of these things is hilarious and adorable.

  2. You know what else is disgusting? Those garbage islands in the Pacific Ocean the size of Texas, which probably contain millions of the tiny shampoo bottles you love using.

    But why should you care? They’ll still be around long after you and your grandchildren are gone.

  3. Gary, Pete has really called you out. You should know, as we are all aware, that hotels take their part-used shampoo bottles down to the beach and toss them right in.

  4. No @Pete completely misses the point because I write all the time about the need for single use biodegradables eg paper packaging. Wall mounted bulk crap and plastic bottles are a false dichotomy.

    And if you care about what happens to plastic you should advocate changes in law for how post-consumer plastic can be used.

  5. @Gary – 100%. It is nonsense to suggest that the only two options are single-use plastic or wall mounted surprise bottles. There are plenty of environmentally friendly options but those would involve the hotels spending marginally more instead of spending marginally less. This is about saving money not saving the planet.

  6. Agree with Eric that your hatred for wall mounted toiletries is over the top and irrational – you’re clearly cherry picking images and examples that fit your prejudice. If you’re so worried, bring your own toiletries from home. I, like many others, prefer the wall mounted one both for environmental and personal reasons (as a woman with long hair, trying to bang enough conditioner out of those tiny containers was a nightmare).

  7. Gary, are you sure that no hotel employee or guest has ever jizzed in one of your single-serve shampoo bottles? After all, they sit in the housekeeping cart completely unprotected day in and day out, ripe for the tampering. And, even worse, the guest just before you could have used half the conditioner in your room, filled the rest with his jizz, and re-capped it, and housekeeping would never know.

    Why aren’t you getting worked up about these much more likely possibilities?

  8. Gary – this blog was more interesting when you were irrationally ranting about the size of airplane lavs.

    I see a dirty exterior container, with a clean bottle of soap inside. Guess what – the world is dirty. Everything that is causing that dirty/moldy container is also on the walls of the shower, on the floor of the shower, on the counter of the bathroom…etc. And you don’t want to know what the inside of the pipes that the water you are showering in comes from looks like…

    I just used a wall mounted shampoo dispenser in a AA lounge shower yesterday. Guess I should expect to die shortly, huh?

  9. I’d be more concerned if you showed a picture taken under UV light of a hotel bed…as we’re in direct contact with them. An ocean of DNA…semen, urine, fecal matter, hair, saliva, vaginal secretions, sweat, pathogens of all kinds.
    But , for sure, keep up the focus on the (untouched) interior of the bulk containers…but they’re here to stay.

  10. Anyone who thinks that major chain hotels with 200+ rooms, are going to make sure that wall-mounted dispensers are sanitized and clean after every new stay – Is a fool.

    The plastic waste argument is silly. As things stand NOW, I believe the U.S is responsible for 5% at MOST in regards to what gets into the ocean.(And it’s likely less) If we actually gave a shit and cared about the issue, we wouldn’t be virtue signaling. We would be holding the countries that are causing the problem accountable. This means China, and various South America and East Asian nations. However, instead of actually attempting to solve the problem – We have people advocating for stupid shit. Like banning straws and toiletries.

  11. Yo Gary great solution for ya.

    1. Go to dollar tree
    2. Buy a bottle of shampoo

    Total cost $1

    OR for bonus points

    1. Go to dollar tree
    2. Buy a shampoo
    3. Buy a pack of those little travel bottles
    4. Shove it in a tsa quart bag which you already have

    Total Cost $2

    There problem solved.

  12. Obviously over-the-top rhetoric is limited to certain commenters and never to the writers themselves…

    It’s always easier to complain than to praise so when even a few bottles are saved…we can whine about how it’s a false choice or it’s just saving money on the companies.
    Frankly there are a lot more things (in our own homes) that are more disgusting than a soap dispenser and if we can take a moment to get over our germaphobia for a bit, we can appreciate that saving even a few bottles helps, regardless of the hotels’s true motives.

  13. Hey Pete,
    If you really want to do something about the garbage island in the Pacific, here’s an idea: come down hard on the Chinese. Because that island isn’t discarded hotel toiletries or plastic straws from Milwaukee and Encino; it’s garbage that’s dumped wholesale into Asian (mostly Chinese) rivers. So why don’t you stop worrying about minutia that only serves to aggravate and actually support political candidates who are tough on China and their tyrannical regime:?

  14. More than half of the road warriors I know hate most of the hotel shampoos and conditioners and bring their own so the wall mounts aren’t any concern.
    Also, while the hotel does improve its profit margins with wall mounts, aren’t most of us road warriors in some sort of sales or consulting role where improving profits is the name of the game?

  15. if you cannot afford to provide me a bar of soap and a hygienically clean container of shampoo, then you have no business being in the hotel business. For those of care about saving the earth, why start with banning bottled water? After you have cleaned that problem up, then you can worry about shower gel containers from the Holiday Inn.

  16. if you cannot afford to provide me a bar of soap and a hygienically clean container of shampoo, then you have no business being in the hotel business. For those of care about saving the earth, why not start with banning bottled water? After you have cleaned that problem up, then you can worry about shower gel containers from the Holiday Inn.

  17. https://www.cleanlink.com/hs/article/Risks-Of-Using-Bulk-Soap-Dispensers–22754

    Here’s a link to but one of many articles that discusses just how bacteria laden common-use, refillable soap dispensers are.

    I just bring a bar (or two for longer trips) of soap plus a travel sized, TSA compliant bottle of shampoo with me for all trips – and then don’t have to worry if there’s a nasty, bacteria/germ laden, common use soap & shampoo dispenser, or “old school” individual sized toiletries in the room after checking in to a hotel!

    I even refill the travel sized bottle of shampoo using the large sized one from Costco, Target or the “99-cents store” when they have them in stock!

    For those who don’t mind repeatedly pushing down the germ-y pump of soap or shampoo while showering or after using the toilet, that’s their choice to make.

    And while I do use the germ-y common use soap dispensers out and about daily, or even when flying, as the initial wash after using the loo, I also carry prepackaged single use alcohol wipes (or a small, refillable spray bottle with rubbing alcohol) before (or during) eating meals so I can follow-up, especially when it’s obvious that bathroom cleanliness is sorely lacking

    But hey, that’s just me.

    Definitely NOT a germaphobe – but so very much prefer to avoid risk of cross contamination from fecal matter when eating that traces back to a bathroom where someone who had a mushy & messy pit stop (as is natural for everyone from time to time) that went to wash their hands, got some on their hands, and then left something from their behind, behind on the knob or pump when they washed their hands after finishing their business.

    Better safe…than sorry!

    Just sayin’ 😉

  18. Well if the environment is the issue here, there can be no doubt that wall-mounted toiletries are much better for the environment than single- use plastic bottles. So hotels are moving in the right direction even if they have not reached what Gary suggests is the perfect solution – single-use biodegradable containers.

    But single-use biodegradables aren’t the environmentally perfect answer either. Single- use anything requires more resources to produce (with the environmental effects of that production) and create more wasted product than bulk containers.

  19. You know was is REALLY GROSS Plastic in our food, Plastic in our Turtles, Plastic in everything. anyone remember the American Indian crying because of all the pollution in the water? Well I bet you it came from those Designer hotel room Toiletry Bottles!


    Lets make America Great Again….. NO MORE HOTEL BOTTLES. Sorry Gary

  20. DFWSteve, what about all those tiny bottles is “hygienically clean?” It’s super easy to open up one of them (conditioner is best), jizz in it, and leave it for the next customer, and NOBODY ever knows.

    Why are you so irrationally afraid of bulk dispensers but not what’s in front of your own eyes?

  21. I personally think these “Wall Mounted VS Plastic Waste” blogs generate more reply’s then anything else on this blog. Are we sure they are not being written just to get the numbers up here?

    Best way to solve this. Put nothing in the room, bring your own stuff. If you forget something go to a local store and buy local in the area your staying at.

  22. @GerriIzzworth I toss the bottle if the little paper seal is torn. And I prefer a bar of soap anyway. It is usually encased in a wrapper.
    Hotels hijack the “environmental movement” to justify cutting corners, hoping there are enough suckers in the traveling public to buy the argument. I, gladly, am not one of them.

  23. DFWSteve, if your only assurance that the tiny bottles haven’t been tampered with is the incredibly easy-to-peel “paper seal,” then I have news for you. It’s incredibly easy to peel on and off. You’d have no idea whether your little bottle of conditioner is tampered with or not. Taking that in the other direction, I assume you wouldn’t trust a “little paper seal” on the bulk dispenser to assure your safety from “foreign material.”

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