It’s happening; the holiday you booked months ago – comprising of both travel and accommodation – has finally arrived. You’ve spent countless hours researching, booking, packing and envisaging a relaxing time-out from life itself. It stands to reason, therefore, that the last thing you’d like to find on entering your home-away-from-home is mold.
Yet, believe it or not, a mold problem in a hotel can be more common than you might think, for the following reasons:
- Fluctuating temperatures. Most hotels are fitted with hundreds of air conditioning units – a mold spore’s potential playground. The problem is further enhanced as guests tend to utilize these units for optimum internal temperature – as opposed to controlling humidity – which means condensation – and, therefore, mold – is very much a risk (more on this later!). Read more about controlling humidity here.
- You’d be hard-pressed to find a hotel room that is not adorned in wallpaper. And whilst it may look nice, it traps the condensation and stops the walls from breathing – both vital elements in controlling the temperature of the room. The glue holding the wallpaper in place hardly helps the situation, either, as it provides yet more nutrients for mold to thrive off.
- Another regular feature of a hotel, carpet – and its padding underneath – is highly susceptible to mold.
- Large water mains. Just as with any large building, a big water supply carries the risk of leaks, floods and general malfunctions – especially if excess moisture is let out the pipes – which are all catalysts for the presence of mold.
As a hotel
You’d like to hope that you do everything in your power to ensure your hotel is always mold-free . And there are many ways in which you can achieve this:
- Regularly cleaning the rooms – and bathrooms – should help keep mold at bay. That being said, however, this can also contribute to the problem, as simple housekeeping may cover up the true extent of a mold problem, lulling you into a false sense of security. You should ensure, therefore, that the cleaning is of the highest, most professional level at all times – even if you hire in a special company once a month on top of your regular housekeeping. Educating your staff on what to look for in terms of mold is also a must.
- Inspect the rooms. As well as cleaning, you should call in the experts regularly to check explicitly for mold.
- Turn off air conditioning when unoccupied. As well as consuming a large amount of unnecessary energy, this can encourage mold to grow, too – especially when combined with the hot air from outside during the summer months which will condense on surfaces inside the room. Think walls, picture frames, furniture and mattresses – all potentially affected. And because of high room occupancies during these months, this condensation has very little time to dry up. It may be prudent, therefore, to also encourage your guests to minimize the use of air conditioning – especially before they head out for the day. Read more about how to properly maintain your HVAC unit here.
- Insulate the partition walls. For a relatively small cost, you can eliminate the thermal bridges – and thus heat flow – between the walls to prevent condensation from forming. Definitely worth it in the long run!
- Empower your employees. Enable your staff with the flexibility to respond to situations as they see fit – no one likes a ‘computer says no’ attitude!
However, if a guest does complain that they have found mold in your premises, remember that customer service is key. Apologise, offer a refund and bend over backwards to find alternative, mold-free accommodation – even if that just means upgrading them to another room.
As a guest
Due to the temporary nature of your stay, you may accept things that you otherwise wouldn’t dream of. But if – among the other mix of hotel room smells that signify vacation – you find mold, report it immediately and ask to change rooms. Your health can be affected by breathing in mold and the sooner you notify the hotel, the sooner they can rectify it so that the next guest is not affected.
Happy holidays (yes, yes – we know the kids have only just gone back to school. We can dream can’t we?).
Has anyone stayed at the Comfort Inn & Suites in O Fallon Missouri ( 100 Comfort Inn Court) location and gotten sick from the mold in that motel?
I stayed in a comfort in in mobile Alabama west tilman. There was this nasty smell in the hotel I wake up in the morning laying on my back in bed I look up there is mold all over covering the ceiling mold in tub shower drain in tub clogged shower curtain rodready to fall off wall hanging on angle so curtain kept sliding down so floor got wet had to wipe it up with towels
Every Hotel that we have stayed in has a mold issue. They need to use a black light to check for the dangerous mycotoxins…Toxic mold fluoresces. We have stayed in all sorts of hotels and they lack proper ventilation inside the bathrooms. If the windows open than the mold spores can fly inside and quickly spread to the carpets, to the furniture. It’s a nightmare for a mold sensitive person. We bring a black light where ever we go and it will show you what is really going on. It is so sad that we live in a so-ciety that does not teach about these things and improperly educates contractors on proper building guidelines to prevent these things from happening. Hotels should step up the plate on this one, mold is killing us!
Westside inn hotel has black mold in the walls it kill so far 10 people but no one cares at all why some people get real sick we need help on this please if any one can help I have sezurers epileptic grandmal but got worst
BLACK MOLD!!!!! On September 2nd my traveling companion and myself checked into the Landmark Hotel at 1501 S Ocean Blvd Myrtle Beach S.C. Room 227.The minute the door opened you could spell old smoke and dirt. Of course we travel with Lysol & wipes!So we started spraying and wiping everything down. As we were cleaning we noticed several thing straight away. The kitchenette cabinets looked as if jelly had been smeared on them. Definitely a Covid Cleaning that we paid for had not happened! My travel companion and myself are becoming more and more aware of the over all shape of the room. I sat on the bed to look around. Right in front of me was the cable outlet. I attached photos. Black mold on both sides of the jack!When I looked up the same black specks that are on the cable outlet are on the ceiling! Literally right above the head of the bed. You can see where the area was scraped and bleached previously. So now we have two sources of black mold.My companion and myself both have autoimmune diseases so we know!!!! Black mold is not allowed in our lives! We called Cooke Property Services and spoke with James. He stated he had nothing available to accommodate us at any property they had. He said we could do self check out through air B & B to get a refund on Monday. This was Thursday evening.So we are stuck in Myrtle Beach five hours from home with no accommodations, no refund, and a ruined vacation!Tuesday the day after we were to receive the refund we were notified by Shirley at Cooke Property Services that no refund will be given. They checked the room and saw no mold. They even sent a photo of the wall. It was a completely different room, and didn’t even have a wall outlet for the cable. How can they just lie?So of course we are livid about the entire interaction. We travel several times a year in and out of the United States. So we’ve been through many, many hotels, motels, ect. We’ve never ever had a problem with accommodations.I’m just curious how many people are going to be exposed to black mold and be robbed of their money before someone takes a cue and stops them! What about the children that may stay in that room! It’s just disgusting and disgraceful! Something has to be done! We want our money back and two request have been denied!