Think your desk is filthy? What about your hotel room? We all hope the room we rent is clean and hygienic, but we have no way of knowing how clean it really is. If recommended NASA cleaning standards are adopted by hotel chains, you can be sure that your hotel is at least as clean as a spaceship.

When a group of researchers decided to find out by swabbing surfaces in hotel rooms in Indiana, Texas and South Carolina, they found the bedside lamp switch and the TV remote control were the areas where most of the bacteria were found.

The mops and sponges used by the hotel maids posed the greatest health threat, because they could take germs and viruses from one room to another. Some of the cleanest surfaces were the bed headboard and the bathroom door handle.

The Economist writes: "(The researchers) suggested applying Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP), a preventive approach to reducing the risk of physical, chemical and biological hazards. HACCP was drawn up by NASA to ensure the safety of food for astronauts. Since then it has been adopted by a number of industries."

We have to hope that NASA has higher standards of cleanliness than the Russians–our astronauts complained when they had to travel to the Russian space station because it smelled so bad in there, due to mold.

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