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Filth Finder: How well are hotel rooms cleaned?

We tested a budget hotel room and a more expensive one with the Filth Finder to see how clean those rooms really are.

PHOENIX - When you walk into a hotel room, you expect it to be clean. After all, you paid for a clean room. But how clean is this room, really?

We took the 12 News Filth Finder on the road, checking out a typical budget-friendly hotel.

You may have seen the creepy blacklight tests finding fluid on the sheets. We’re testing for things that are still alive.

The Filth Finder tests for biological material: skin cells, bacteri, viruses, whatever there may be. Anything that gets results under 30 is considered safe.

First, we tested the TV stand. Streaks on the stand indicated it had been recently cleaned, but the test resulted in a score of 56, almost double what is considered clean.

The phone receiver did even worse, scoring 115 on the Filth Finder. So just because something looks like it’s been wiped down, doesn’t mean it’s been cleaned.

Physician Dr. Andrew Carroll said those Filth Finder scores may come from not cleaning correctly, as disinfectants need to dry.

“If you apply a Clorox wipe and then you automatically wipe it off with a dry cloth, you’re really not going to kill the bacteria and the viruses on that surface,” Dr. Carroll said.

Now the moment of truth, the room you’re probably worried about, the bathroom.

The toilet seat came in at 21, which means it’s clean. The shower head was practically immaculate, scoring only a 4.

But does a more expensive room mean it’s cleaner?

We tested a room that costs $400 per night. It was the sort of place where trail mix is $9, and you can park a small car in the bathroom.

The shower head came in at 2, the toilet seat, 52, a little dirtier than the budget hotel room.

In fact, nothing tested over 75. That’s what you get for $400 a night.

“The standards for a higher end or four-star or five-star hotel are probably there. I think the housekeeping crew is probably kept to a higher standard,” said Dr. Carroll. “Probably the cleaning equipment and the cleaning materials they use are probably a higher standard as well.”

VIDEO: The dirtiest item in your hotel room

In both rooms, the TV remotes were the dirtiest items. We swabbed the buttons, in between the buttons and the underside to test with the Filth Finder.

In the budget hotel room, the remote scored 295, about 10 times the limit. The more expensive room had a remote made of antimicrobial plastic that scored 30.

So when it comes to hotel rooms, it turns out you get what you pay for. There’s nothing toxic in there, but spending a little more money will probably get you a cleaner room.

MORE: Filth Finder finds dirtiest spots in Valley movie theaters

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