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Giving the All-Clean Sign

Travelers expect a hotel or resort to be clean. And if a place doesn’t look clean, we don’t want to stay there. But the pandemic has made us hyperaware that not all aspects of cleanliness are apparent to the naked eye.

To help our members better evaluate hotels, motels and resorts, AAA recently introduced “Inspected Clean” to its evaluation of AAA Approved properties. Now, in addition to the visual evaluation of the cleanliness of lodgings, AAA’s independent inspectors are conducting scientific cleanliness testing.

At each property, AAA inspectors randomly select guest rooms and bathrooms to surface-test for cleanliness, swabbing eight high-touch surfaces in each room, such as door handles, light switches, thermostat controls, television remotes, faucets and toilet handles. The samples are tested for the presence of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), an energy-carrying molecule found in all living cells, including most food sources, human skin cells, bacteria, yeast, mold and biological material found in respiratory droplets.

Although the test cannot directly detect viruses, ATP monitoring is recognized by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. AAA calibrated the criteria for its Inspected Clean designation based on the scientific expertise of test-device manufacturer Charm Sciences, Inc. and controlled testing protocols in a pilot program that analyzed data from more than 11,000 surfaces sampled in more than 1,000 hotels.

AAA began to add Inspected Clean hotels to its listings on this fall. For extra peace of mind, AAA members are reminded also to look for the AAA Best of Housekeeping badge on AAA Approved hotels and resorts.