Stop using that kettle in your hotel room to make a cuppa – here’s why

Essence of undies with your tea, anyone?

If you’re the sort who enjoys a hot cuppa in your hotel room after a long day, you might want to think twice about using that kettle to boil water.

This is because it recently came to light that using kettles in hotel rooms to clean underwear is a thing among some who believe it to be a good practice in getting rid of unwanted bacteria.

The unusual – and pretty gross habit – surfaced online when Guy “Yug” Blomberg tweeted on Aug 22: “Real Question: does anyone I know clean their underwear in a kettle when travelling?”

Who knew anyone would admit to doing it? But they did, and it sparked a discussion, which led to British publication Metro doing some digging of its own, finding evidence of this on Weibo.

While it makes perfect logical sense to use hot water to clean one’s undies, it’s actually a really bad idea to do it in a kettle.

For one, it could lead to electrical faults, overheating and even fires. Secondly, boiling your underwear does not kill all microorganisms.

Gizmodo Australia spoke to Dr Heather Hendrickson, a senior lecturer in Molecular Biosciences at the Institute of Natural and Mathematical Sciences at Massey University in Auckland.

Aside from being “super super super super gross”, Dr Hendrickson said that some bacteria cannot be killed by boiling water like Clostidium botulinum spores, which cause botulism.

She said: “They don’t cause sickness if they are consumed, but their presence in certain environments can encourage them to produce a toxin that can be deadly.”

“However, who knows how long that water, with nutrients that have been introduced and then sterilised, sits around in the kettle before someone else uses it?”

That just makes you sick in the stomach doesn’t it?

Besides, the kettle – which really wasn’t meant to be used as a cleaning appliance – isn’t able to truly clean your clothes without laundry detergent.

It seems you should also steer clear of hairdryers in most hotel rooms, and it typically has more germs than the toilet seat, according to The Sun.

It is believed that this problem arises when cleaning staff focus on other items like the toilet, bath and sinks in hotel bathrooms.

So now that you know, be sure to call room service instead for those hot drinks – or bring along your own kettle (and hairdryer) on trips.