25/08/2017 2:15 AM AEST | Updated 25/06/2018 5:42 PM AEST

Why You Should Think Twice Before Using The Kettle In Your Motel Room

Two empty white cups in the hotel room
uatp2 via Getty Images
Two empty white cups in the hotel room

If you can’t go a day without your morning coffee on holiday, we’ve got bad news for you.

Instead of providing you with a taste of home, the kettle in your hotel room could be leaving you with a mouthful of someone else’s dirty underwear.

That’s right, cleaning your grubby pants in hotel kettles is a thing, apparently.

The abominable habit shot onto our radars after a Twitter user asked others whether they had tried it. The man said he’d heard about the practice from a friend.


Understandably, people on Twitter seemed to be as grossed out as us.

In case there was any doubt, Dr Heather Hendrickson, a senior lecturer in Molecular Biosciences at Massey University in Aukland, has confirmed that boiling your underwear in a kettle is a bad idea. 

Speaking to Gizmodo, she explained that while boiling kills most germs, it doesn’t kill all microorganisms. This is because some bacteria form spores - such as clostidium botulinum spores - that are are resistant to heat below 120 degrees celsius. 

“These 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,” she said.  

Thankfully, boiling water contaminated with bacterial pathogens is likely to reduce any nastiness to low levels that are unlikely to seriously damage health.

But Dr Hendrickson still maintained that using a hotel kettle is “super, super, super, super gross”. 

“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?” she said.

Well, that’s ruined hotel tea for all of us.