If you’ve ever been on the road and craving some real self-care, you might have had an extended daydream about the perfect hotel room you’re about to have all to yourself. But in between that plush robe and steamy shower, there are some DIY spa hacks you absolutely should not use hotel amenities for. When this TikTok went viral, we all immediately added the hotel ice machine skincare hack to the never list.
TikTok user @mireyarios caught the flack of a huge portion of the internet, more than just her 5 million followers, when she posted a video of her “Hotel room skincare hack.” With a hotel room ice bucket and hotel ice machine ice, she uses the tongs to swipe ice cubes all over her face. The caption reads: “Ice on the face to depuff!”
Immediately, comments began flooding in noting the state of large ice machines.
“The only reason I wouldn’t do this is because if they don’t clean the ice machine well, god knows how much funk and mould (sic) that gets stuck in there,” one comment wrote.
They’re not wrong.
Why is this hack a bad idea?
Ice machines are notorious breeding grounds for mold and bacteria, due to the dark and damp environment. The FDA mandates ice machines be cleaned and sanitized according to the manufacturer directed schedule. That usually works out to three to four times a year.
According to TikTokers in the hotel industry, this doesn’t always happen. So, that ice could be rife with mold and mildew. And this hotel ice machine skincare hack recommends placing that ice directly on your face.
Montclair, NJ dermatologist Jeanine Downie, MD was clear: this is not a good idea. “The thought of using ice that may have been sitting in the hotel ice machine for four or five days with fungus, mold and mildew all over the face and rubbing it directly on your naked skin could be disastrous,” Dr. Downie explains.
For those trying to get the de-puffing benefit to this hotel ice machine skincare hack, you do have options that are way safer and less gross.
“I think if you want to ‘de-puff’ your skin you should have less salt, drink no alcohol, get plenty of exercise and you can use cool compresses from trusted sources like your own refrigerator at home,” Dr. Downie says.
Ultimately, hotel rooms can seem like a paragon of luxury, but there are still normal, fallible human beings running the place. Bacteria and mold can lurk in commonly overlooked nooks and/or crannies (even in our own homes) and ice machines are definitely one of those places.
We definitely don’t recommend this ice machine skincare hack. It’s not a bad idea to take some reasonable precautions when it comes to your hotel room—there are even TikTok creators with backgrounds in hotels that can walk you through the main offenders and how to approach them.
They tend to recommend avoiding the ice machine and bucket all together, and we’ll be taking their advice next time we check in.