While most people enjoy traveling, some of us get a major case of anxiety thinking about the different germs and bacteria we are exposed to in the travel process -- especially in this day and age, can you blame us?
From start to finish, traveling means a lot of high-touch surfaces. From gas pumps to diner doors to entire hotel rooms, it can be nerve wracking wondering if these places are doing a good enough job of cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfecting as we would.
When we get restless about germs and traveling, there are few things that tend to hit a sore spot:
- Airplane seating, tray tables, and lavatories. It’s no secret that the plane that just arrived from Philly probably isn’t going to be deep-cleaned before it departs again in twenty minutes, leaving all kinds of questions about what’s floating around in that recycled cabin air, what’s hanging out on the seats and tray tables, and if those oh-so-tiny lavatories got the disinfecting TLC they need.
- Hotel bedding. While it’s pretty easy to judge whether your hotel bathroom has been properly cleaned, the bedding is a different story. Unless you’re in the habit of carrying around a blacklight (and some frequent travelers actually do just that), you may have no idea if the sheets on your bed are actually fresh. You might also find it surprising to know that decorative hotel throw pillows usually aren’t cleaned between guests. Sometimes, they are rarely cleaned at all.
- Public transportation. Taxis, buses, and subway systems are all very high-traffic (pun intended), meaning germs are no strangers to public transportation. Ideally, everyone would sanitize their hands before stepping into that public amenity, but unfortunately, not everyone is on the sanitizer train just yet (pun absolutely intended).
- Restaurants. While it’s true that most public eateries here in the U.S. will have to adhere to some type of health code, if you’re traveling outside of the States, cleaning policies may not be as strict, especially if you’re exploring off the beaten path.
Even though parts of traveling sometimes make us feel like germaphobes, we don’t have to call off the trip altogether. It is possible to manage our exposure to bacteria, germs, and spores, with sanitizer spray as our new favorite travel companion.
How to Sanitize in an Airplane
With reduced fares and ultra low cost carriers thanks to fewer flyers, competition in the airline industry is at an all-time high. Because of this, airlines are offering more flights and cheaper fares.
So… what does any of this have to do with germ control?
Manpower. With faster turnaround times at the gate and more flights departing and arriving each day, there simply isn’t enough manpower to thoroughly clean the aircraft between its scheduled flights, meaning that the person in seat 34B with the bad head cold may have left you a little parting gift on your tray table.
You can sanitize your space when flying by simply carrying a hand sanitizer spray with an isopropyl alcohol content higher than 70%. Hand sanitizer sprays with this level of isopropyl alcohol are considered effective in killing 99.9% of bacteria, germs, and spores, on non-porous surfaces, according to the CDC.
Even better, at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the TSA tweaked their rules just for sanitizer, so you can now carry on a hand sanitizer gel or spray up to 12 oz. in volume, compared to the 3.4 fluid ounce limit they have for all other liquids.
You can use your hand sanitizer spray to sanitize:
- Your seat and seat back. Simply spray a small amount of disinfectant on the seat and allow it to dry.
- Your tray table and armrests. The tray table on an airplane is covered in bacteria since they’re generally not cleaned between flights, so give that tray a little spritz.
- Lavatory door handles and fixtures. Bring that sanitizer spray with you to the lavatory and give the door handle and other surfaces a little spritz, and don’t forget to wash your hands on the way out!
- Seat back materials. If you like to follow along with the flight attendant as they go over safety instructions, spray that laminated safety card before you read along, and make sure to sanitize your own items before sanitizing others’.
When you are not on the airplane, you can also use your hand sanitizer spray throughout the airport terminal. For instance, the chairs at your gate probably haven’t been cleaned since they were installed. A quick mist with your hand sanitizer spray, and you can sit in the chair just a little more confidently.
How to Sanitize in the Hotel
Sanitizing your hotel room is a trickier task. While you can certainly use a disinfectant spray, you may not be able to thoroughly sanitize your hotel bedding.
What you can do is spray the bedding with your hand sanitizer spray several hours before you plan to sleep in it. Focus on spritzing the pillow and the general area that will come into contact with your face.
When leaving your hotel room and using the stairs or elevator, you can also use the sanitizer spray to sanitize your hands after pressing that high-touch call button or using those high-touch railings.
Sanitizing When Using Public Transportation
It’s highly unlikely that you’ll be able to do much sanitizing while using public transportation. In other words, you won’t be too popular if you step into a subway car and begin spraying sanitizer everywhere. Likewise, your taxi or Uber driver is less than likely to appreciate you spritzing their seats as soon as you get in.
In this case, the best remedy is to just sanitize your hands before and after you use public transpo -- it’s good for the public, and good for you.
Sanitizing in a Restaurant
This is another scenario where sanitizing anything other than your own hands probably won’t fare too well.
Thankfully, if you are dining in a restaurant in the United States, that restaurant will be governed by certain health code statutes which must be followed to ensure that the restaurant is safe and clean. Restaurants are held to a very high standard of sanitization, meaning you can generally eat at a restaurant with peace of mind.
However, if you are out of the country or dining in an area you are unfamiliar with, you can take these precautions to ease your worries:
- Make sure you sanitize your hands before you dine.
- If you’re unsure about the cleanliness of a restaurant, or the condition of the food, it’s best to just find another place to eat. Especially when traveling, it isn’t worth it to spend an entire day sick with food poisoning.
How Can I Find the Right Hand Sanitizer for Traveling?
Many hand sanitizers are only effective on hands because they contain only 60% alcohol by volume. According to the CDC, if your hand sanitizer spray contains 70% or higher alcohol by volume, it is effective for use on non-porous surfaces to kill germs, bacteria, and spores.
You can find high quality, 80% isopropyl alcohol-based hand sanitizer from Sanitizer.com. Our hand sanitizer spray is effective for killing germs on hands and surfaces, making it the perfect travel companion for your next trip.
Additionally, our hand sanitizer spray doesn’t contain any unnecessary, harmful ingredients. We only include isopropyl alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, glycerin, and purified water. The glycerin helps keep your hands smooth, so no matter how many times you need to sanitize, your hands won’t dry or crack.
When you get back from your trip, our monthly sanitizer subscription keeps the clean coming, eliminating the need for hoarding and discouraging price gouging.
So, wherever you decide to travel this year, stay safe, and bring along some sanitizer spray to help make sure you don’t end up with an unwanted souvenir when you return home.