If there’s one thing that roommate horror stories have in common, it’s bathrooms that are less than clean. Nobody wants to be the person who has to constantly nag their roommate about cleaning up, but unfortunately, it’s often a necessary evil.
Of course, when it comes to roommates the best way to approach the situation is to have a conversation early on about expectations for cleanliness. Setting up rules and boundaries before you even move in with a roommate is always ideal. That’s because if you’ve established ground rules, it will be much easier to broach the subject if things start to slip.
But if all else fails, or if it’s too late for that now and you already found yourself locked up with a roommate that’s a bathroom destroyer but who never cleans it up afterward then there’s still hope! Here are a few steps you can follow to make sure your roommate cleans the bathroom after themselves from now on and without offending them either. So read on and find out what these life-saving steps are!
4 steps to be able to tell your roommate to clean the bathroom without offending them:
1. Call them and show them visual evidence of their mess:
It may sound unbelievable but most people that are messy or unhygienic don’t notice their own mess and disorganization until they are confronted about it directly. It’s not that they don’t notice it or see it, it’s just that they are more tolerant of it and don’t see any problem with it so they get a little caught off-guard when others do. The point here is not to make a scene or be rude to your roommate but it won’t hurt to call them to the bathroom to show them a live example of the things you don’t like.
For example, if they leave their towels laying on the floor after showers or if they never use the toilet brush to scrub the porcelain throne after using it, then call them and show them it. This way, they will know exactly what you’re talking about even if their standards for hygiene were lower than yours, and even if they wouldn’t have understood without visual evidence. Showing them physical proof of what you’re complaining about will leave no room for confusion and will ensure that your message is clear and concise.
2. Be nice about it all and friendly:
Now when we say you have to show your roommate their mess and what you’re complaining about, be careful not to think we’re asking you to cause a big scene. You can do this, without coming across as confrontational, demanding or patronizing. So be careful to watch your body language, wording, and voice tone.
Of course, body language and voice tone matter a lot here! You don’t want to make them feel like you’re lecturing them or trying to drag them by the nose. Instead, try to go in the bathroom and then call them to come to see “something”. Once they join you at the crime scene, nicely point a finger with a smile on your face at the mess that they have created and make a joke about it or say that it bothers you but without being too serious about it either.
You can even elaborate and explain yourself by mentioning that you would have to clean up after them if they left things like that and that’s not fair to you. Be direct, friendly, clear, and quick with it. Once they start cleaning their mess or getting rid of it. You can thank them and even confirm that you’ll clean after yourself too to keep the bathroom spotless and pleasant.
3. Do your roommate a favor or show an act of kindness later that day:
Granted, once you tell your roommate to clean up their mess and they oblige; things will seem peaceful and back to normal for you. However, make sure your roommate doesn’t hold a grudge against you or feel belittled. You don’t want to make an enemy out of someone that shares the same roof with you, no matter the circumstances. Always remember that it is in your best interest to be friends and get along with your roommate rather than have them despise you.
You could need your roommate for something weeks or months down the line or they could offer good companionship and help with things that aren’t even related to your accommodation. So be smart and avoid conflict by being the wiser and patient one even if they make a mistake. Don’t be quick to judge them or point out their flaws. Instead, show interest in their hobbies, personality, and the things they like. It could take you less than 5 minutes a day to do something similar but it could literally save you a lot of drama and conflict.
So let us tell you that the mere fact of asking your roommate to clean after themselves could offend them, depending on their personality and character. In fact, you can do everything we described above in the first and second steps with a smile on your face and even with flowers and a serenade and they could still get offended. They could get hurt or hold a grudge against you, especially if they feel cornered and that’s why your body language and voice tone matter a lot as we said.
So make sure you later offer them a slice of your pizza or do them a small favor to demonstrate that you’re not mad at them and were barely trying to keep your living conditions fresh, neat, and hygienic. A small gesture could confirm the fact that you’re not holding anything against them rather than have them overthink the situation and feel negative about it. Offer them help with something or casually share a snack with them that evening so that they can sleep with peace of mind rather than start to suspect that you’re out for blood.
4. Try to have a good relationship with your roommate:
Instead of just waking up one day and having so much to say about your roommate’s hygiene, try to befriend them before and have a close relationship with them. This way, if you have something to say about how you prefer things to be done organization-wise they will be more receptive and tolerant of it. However, if you never spoke to them or barely ever said hi to them but then you have so much to say about their cleanliness then they may take it the wrong way.
It’s always a shame when you have to be the one to have “the talk” with your roommate about keeping the place clean. Whether it’s your first time living with someone or your tenth, nobody likes being the messy one. But before you go all Carrie Underwood on their stuff, maybe try having a conversation with them about it first. It’s not like they’re dating you or cheating on you anyway, right?
They’re just a roommate and no matter what they do wrong it may not be personal or interventional. It could just be their personality at play. Not everyone is a clean freak with OCD that has to wash their hands ten times a day. Some people are more comfortable using the same plate for breakfast and later for lunch just to avoid having to do the dishes. So take that into consideration and try not to get too offended or bothered by your roommate’s unhygienic habits.
So try to be understanding and friendly with your roommate all the time rather than just waking up one day and wanting to be a controlling neat freak. If you make comments about hygiene and cleanliness, make sure they know that you’re just trying to make sure things don’t get too out of hand. Hopefully, they’ll be receptive and things can go back to being hunky-dory. If not, at least you gave it a shot! And, remember that whatever you do you can always take solace in the fact that you’re probably not the only person who’s had to deal with a messy roommate. You’re definitely not alone in this.