Meth Labs: A Dangerous Hotel Challenge

Methamphetamine manufacturers often seek to “cook” meth in hotel and motel rooms because it provides them an enclosed, private environment that they can abandon on a moment’s notice. Meth manufacturing in hotels is a significant concern, as it creates danger for every person on property, can be costly to remediate, and can harm the reputation of the property.

What to watch for. When a housekeeper enters the room of an abandoned meth lab, it will be in chaotic condition. The room will have been literally trashed. Wastebaskets will be overflowing, bedding and towels will have been effectively destroyed, and the room will reek of pungent and putrid odors. Evidence of the ingredients and equipment used to cook the meth will be everywhere.

Do not enter. It is imperative to train staff members that if they open the door to the remains of a meth lab they should not enter the room; immediately close the door and secure the guestroom. Exposure to the toxic chemicals that were used to produce meth pose a variety of health risks. There is also the risk of potential explosion.

Immediately call the police. Law enforcement will handle the investigation and provide details of how to proceed to remediate the guestroom. Unfortunately clean-up can cost from $2,000 to $25,000 and should always be performed by specially trained and equipped outside personnel.


About the Author
Dr. William D. Frye is an associate professor in the College of Hospitality and Tourism Management at Niagara University and co-author of AH&LEI’s housekeeping textbook Managing Housekeeping Operations.

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Dr. William D. Frye is a hospitality educator, researcher, consultant, and former hotel general manager. He is the co-author of AHLEI’s housekeeping textbook Managing Housekeeping Operations.


  1. It’s unfortunate that an incident like this occurs in the hotel industry, but it does. Not only will the remediation of the property area be costly, but local officials can shut down the place because of contamination. This is why we take a proactive approach of cleaning and inspecting rooms on a regular basis to hopefully prevent clandestine operations like this. Guests will have to understand that we always have the access to rooms as operators. I have also heard that insurance coverage for incidents like these are not automatic. You have to bur them as an addendum. Do you have any more suggestions on how to proactively deal with this situation? Can you confirm the position of insurance companies regarding incidents like these. Thanks!

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