How to Handle a Smelly Roommate

in Roommates on by

It’s every renter’s nightmare. You walk into your apartment and get a whiff of a strange smell. It’s hard to identify, but it’s bad. You follow your nose, and unexpectedly, it does not lead you to the kitchen garbage. Instead, your nose takes you straight to your new roommate’s room. Uh oh. You’ve got a problem. Cleaning out a smelly refrigerator or recycling bin is an unpleasant but manageable task. Talking to your roommate about how bad he smells is another thing altogether. We spoke to renters about how they handled their smelly roommates–read on for their stories and the lessons they learned.

Identify the Source of the Stink
Before you even think about broaching the problem with your roommate, figure out whether you can identify the cause behind the smell. Some smells, such as cigarette smoke, are easier to discuss than more personal issues, like suffocatingly bad B.O. Denise, an artist living in Newark, New Jersey, found it easy to talk about her roommate’s cigarette smell. “My roommate was a smoker. We’d made a rule that there was no smoking in the house, but she did this thing where she smoked with the window open and then sprayed air freshener to cover up the smell.” Of course, the air freshener didn’t eliminate the smell of smoke, it just created a new, more terrible smell. “I didn’t feel bad about letting her know that she reeked. I also told her that she had smoker’s breath. It wasn’t like she naturally smelled bad. It was the cigarettes.” Other smells that were easy to address included foul-smelling deodorant, body spray and perfume. “My roommate’s summer subletter wore this awful cheap cologne,” remembers Raj, a computer programmer in Portland, Oregon. “I just told him I was allergic. He put the stuff away for the rest of the summer.”

Send a Subtle Hint
If the cause of your roommate’s bad smell is a little more personal, sending a subtle message can help. Max’s college roommate was a sweaty varsity athlete averse to doing laundry on a regular basis. “He’d let his dirty gym socks stew in the hamper. Our whole room smelled like a gym locker. But even though he was a varsity rower, he was the sensitive type. I didn’t want to come out with a direct complaint at the risk of offending him.” Instead, Max offered to do a load of his roommate’s laundry. “I told him I knew he was busy and hadn’t gotten a chance to do his laundry recently. So I offered to throw some of his stuff in with mine. He declined and gave me a weird look.” So did it work? Max reports that his roommate started doing laundry a lot more regularly after that. However, he doesn’t take full credit for improving the laundry situation. Not long after his laundry offer, Max’s girlfriend came into the dorm room when his roommate was home. “She announced very loudly that our room smelled like a dirty gym sock. So maybe that’s what really made him change his ways.”

Lindsay, an event planner from Manhattan, took to spraying Febreeze around the apartment while her roommate was home. “She had B.O., that was clear. I didn’t know her well enough to say anything directly. So every time she walked in the door to the apartment, I’d get up and start spraying. When she’d ask what I was doing, I kept telling her about a ‘weird smell’ in the apartment. I think she got the message, but I’m not sure there was anything she could do about it. I moved a few months later.” Lindsay’s point is an important one to remember. Sometimes people with bad body odor can’t help it. Some body odor problems are related to medical conditions. They can be covered up, but are hard to eliminate. If your roommate showers and changes clothes regularly and still smells, the problem may be beyond his control. You may want to rethink saying anything to him at all.

Taking a Direct Approach
Some renters chose to take a direct approach with their roommates. How did they fare? “My college roommate wore smelly Birkenstocks, which she never cleaned. The dorm room smelled like feet,” says Mariana, a student in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She says she weighed the pros and cons of a direct confrontation. “She was kind of oblivious, so I didn’t think she’d respond to a subtle hint. And I really couldn’t take that smell anymore. So I just told her ‘your shoes stink. Our room smells like feet. Wash your shoes or leave them in the hall.'” So how did she take it? “Not well. She was really offended. But she listened. Given that we weren’t great friends anyway, I’d say it was worth it.”

Others had a clear success. John’s first roommate after college rarely showered. “He was the outdoorsy type. He showered maybe twice a week. It was bad–a mix of B.O., sweat and just old, musty something. Just bad!” Luckily, the roommate provided John with an angle. “He was doing online dating and kept complaining that he couldn’t get a second date. Then he asked me if I could think of a reason why. Well, the reason was obvious, and I told him why–in a nice way, of course.” The situation ended happily. John’s roommate took to showering “four or five times a week,” a vast improvement. John’s suggestions to his roommate were well-received because the roommate had something to gain as well. If you’re going to take a direct approach, think about the ways that your advice might benefit your roommate as well as yourself.

Copping Out and Keeping Quiet
Not surprisingly, most of the people we spoke to decided against doing anything at all. Some kept quiet because they knew their time with the roommate was limited. Others feared an emotional overreaction. “I think my roommate was depressed at the time. She didn’t go out and stopped showering. I didn’t want to say anything because she was clearly bad off and I didn’t want to make her feel worse. Besides, I didn’t know her that well,” remembers Ashley, a student in Baltimore. “I just didn’t get too close to her. When she left the apartment, I’d shut the door to her room. The smell was pretty manageable when I did those things.” Others chose a combination of silence and passive-aggression. “I was living in a suite with three other guys in college,” remembers Dave, a computer programmer from White Plains, New York. One of our roommates had really bad B.O., but the rest of us didn’t want to say anything. So we pulled pranks on him instead, flushing the toilet when he was showering and stuff like that. OK, maybe it wasn’t the best way to handle that situation. But it made us feel better!”

So what can we learn from all this? First, some smells (like smoke and cologne) are easier to talk about than others (B.O.). Subtle hints work–but not always. When they fail, you may have to take a direct approach. The more responsive your roommate is to constructive criticism, the better your chances for a successful discussion. Of course, you can lay low and play the avoidance game, which works better when your time with your roommate is limited. You should only have to suffer in silence for so long.

We know you have some great stories of your own. Tell us how you handled them in our comments section.

32 Responses to “How to Handle a Smelly Roommate”

  1. January 29, 2008 at 9:37 pm, Guest said:

    This is slightly off-topic, but I once had a roommate who snored the way a chainsaw cutting through your skull would feel/sound. So, one long sleepless night, I decided to tape record the sound of it. The next morning, I replayed it to him and he was pretty sad, but he did try amazingly hard to cut back on the snoring (e.g. sleeping on his side, using no pillow…nothing seemed to work so I got used to it!) Oddly enough, I did get used to it.


    • November 07, 2016 at 3:43 pm, IZ said:

      > I am currently sharing accommodation with 3 other guys. We share a bathroom and a lounge but we have our own bedrooms.
      One of the guys has recently got engaged and he is in his mid 50s. He was married before but his wife died nearly 2 years ago.
      What baffles me is how did he stay married for so long without learning a thing or two about domestic duties? I mean we couldn't even use our lounge now because he cooks and leaves things everywhere.
      The worse part is this guy has horrendous BO. I am surprised that his late wife didn't try to deal with it. Our shower times often clash. If he goes in first, I couldn't use the shower for another 40 minutes due to the smell. This often happens at 11PM so it pushes my sleep back by 40 minutes. I tried to go in before and the smell is so bad that it actually stings my eyes and throat if I stay. The British army should actually take this smell and potentise it to make a biological weapon. What makes is worse is that the guy is a chef. So he would sweat all day and stink up the bathroom during the night…


  2. February 18, 2008 at 2:19 pm, Anonymous said:

    Its not my roommate who is smelly its her dog

    She wanted a dog and I honestly didn’t care as long as I didn’t have to deal with him. Well that was a dream I guess. She first wanted to litter box train her puppy in our one and only bathroom… I said nothing. Well when that didn’t work she used news paper as in laying in all over the bathroom floor and let him pee and poop all over it. The dog would be locked up all day while she was gone at class and work then he would be locked up in our bathroom all the time because he wasn’t potty trained. Its been about 6 months he is yet to be potty trained and now he does it all over the house and even on my really nice couch. Our place stinks like pee and poop and when I say that it smells she pretends like she has no idea about what I’m talking about even saying that maybe it was me and her and we should open a window. My friends don’t like coming over anymore and I can’t take a shower with out smelling steamed poop. Not to mention hopping over newspaper just to get into the shower.

    I can’t tell her to get rid of her dog because I said she could get him and I have complained but nothing has changed and I have no idea what to do?

    so what do I do?


  3. May 03, 2008 at 4:47 pm, Anonymous said:

    Sleep apnea is a cause of snoring.

    Medical help is necessary NOW. STROKE AND HEART ATTACKS can be caused by snoring – which is NOT GETTING ENOUGH OXYGEN!

    The “Breeze” is a great mask once you have had a sleep study and can get a sleep apnea machine. If the machine you get doesn’t work for you get another, there are several makes that are very different from one another.

    As for the smelly roommate, you can have mine! lol! I still can’t get the landlord who is also another roommate to understand because she lives on the first floor and doesn’t have to deal with the smell 24/7. The room is bad enough but the bathroom can be even worse… I can’t even use the upstairs bathroom now.

    I wish there was a way to tell these people without hurting their feelings, but alas, even if you do, they don’t seem to care or get it.


  4. December 17, 2008 at 9:09 am, Guest said:

    Ugh, my roommate showers maybe three times a week or less, And when she does, I think she just comes out just as smelly because she never washes her towel or bathrobe (they smell musty, and like her BO), and also hasn’t ever washed her sheets. Ever. She only leaves the apartment to forage for food once in while, and only then will she bother to shower. But what usually ends up happening is she’ll eat all my food that’s in the refrigerator, promise to replace it, and never does, or gives me something else (that I do not want) in place of it. She smells so bad, and I don’t think she realizes it. The one time I sort of mentioned that she might want to take a shower, she got really offended and didn’t do anything about it. This sucks but I don’t want to mention anything to her, so I’ve taken to only being in the apartment to sleep, so I won’t have to hang out with her–her smell makes me gag.


  5. January 08, 2009 at 11:02 pm, Guest said:

    Sell your roommate’s dog to a chinese restaurant. I don’t know why, but they always seem to need more dogs. I go there regularly with neighborhood strays and collect the ca$h at the end of each month.


  6. February 06, 2009 at 3:10 pm, Anonymous said:

    “So we pulled pranks on him instead, flushing the toilet when he was showering and stuff like that.”
    That just seems stupid, if he has bad B.O why would you want him to regret his shower? He’d be more inclined to take less showers in fear of being hit with scolding water.

    My issue is slightly complicated, my smelly roommate is actually the owner of the house and is completely blind. Morally i would feel bad to tell him. He doesn’t go out much so he is probably so used to his smell that he doesn’t know its there. He maybe showers once a week and doesn’t use soap because he thinks the chemicals in them will cause disease (even though he microwaves all his food in plastic). But sharing the house for 300 a month is still worth putting up with it for now.


  7. February 25, 2009 at 1:03 am, Guy said:

    A new roommate just moved in from China and has been here about two weeks. He boils water before he drinks it, touches doorhandles and everything else with some type of plastic bag, clogs the toilet and the smell coming from his room is like a rotting compost pile underneath the hot sun and getting worse daily. Fortunately he seems very polite and easy to talk to but I’m starting to get the feeling he’s just telling me what I want to hear by agreeing to my recent suggestions and not practicing them.
    My room is across from the bathroom and I never hear the shower running. He spends about an hour late at night walking back and forth from his room to the bathroom dumping water and filling something up with water again. When I asked him why the toilet keeps clogging he claimed he doesn’t put anything like paper in it. I then asked him where he disposed of his toilet paper after using the toilet and pointed to the waste paper basket. I politely explained that here that is considered unsanitary and also suggested that showering daily is regularly practiced. He then claimed that he does use the shower, however this is simply untrue as we both leave and return at the same time daily and I have not heard that shower turn on since he moved in. The odor coming from his room is becoming unbearable, it’s embarrassing and I’m not sure what to do. Has anyone out there had a similar experience with a Chinese roommate new to the country? If so, any suggestions?


  8. February 26, 2009 at 4:30 pm, Abner said:

    Trying leaving in the same room with a pakistani, since the douche arrived here a couple of months ago he has not taken a bath whatsoever or wash his clothes. Add the fact that he thinks in his own little world everything he sees is his property, he can use anything how he pleases. After his done he just leaves your things and pretend he never used it. Worst days of my life.


  9. April 19, 2009 at 10:49 pm, Shari said:

    I can relate to “Anonymous” who says it’s her roomates dog not her. I am renting a room from a lady who I learned later after moving in here that the room I’m in used to be the dogs room. I see the scratches on the edge of the door, and the constant ongoing smell of dog urine coming out of the carpet and through the ventilation system. She did not have the carpet cleaned before I moved in and now all of my belongings including my clothings wreeks of dog piss. I can’t cook in the kitchen anymore because she leaves her dog locked up in her room all day next to the kitchen and see if you feel like cooking or eating anything in there. I’ve been “trained” not to use the kitchen at all. It makes me nauseaous at the thought of cooking or eating in there. She cleans up just before it’s time for me to pay the rent and then lets loose soon days afterward.


  10. September 16, 2009 at 12:04 am, Cassiopeia said:

    My roommate. Oh god, my roommate. The girl showers twice a week, once on monday and once on thursday, and never a day in between because she is convinced that walking twenty feet down the hall with a shower caddy will stir up “problems” with her knee. [She recently told our neighbor that she’s only had problems with it once in her life, though to my face, especially whenever she wants me to do something for her, she’ll insist that it’s a constant thing] On top of this she will wear the same pair of jeans for about a week before trading them out and does the same with pajamas. We have multiple air fresheners in the room and nothing seems to get rid of or cover the smell that exudes from her pores which is beginning to remind me of rotting meat. When I hint she is fully aware of it, gets extremely offended for a few days and then pretends that nothing happened and that she has no idea how horrid our room stinks. Almost no one I know will enter the room [and those that do complain of the smell and begin to gag] and it’s getting to the point where being in here to sleep is still far too much.


  11. October 01, 2009 at 11:48 am, Save me!!! said:

    I got a new roomate. I live in a suite with three other guys. One of them dosen’t like to do dishes. So he has his own set that he keeps in his room. Although I don’t think he has cleans them very often.
    Lately, there has been an ever increasing vile odor that is comming out of his room, I think… I can only smell it when he leaves his door open, which also happens to be when he is cooking. So I’m not sure if it is the food or his room. This morning he was cooking somekind of white meat in a frying pan with his door open. The smell was so bad that it woke me up! My beedroom door is fireprood and it was closed!
    The odor smells like feces, rotting flesh, and vinigar, being boiled. Is there some part of an animal that people eat that smells like this when it is cooked? Or is it rotting food on dirty dishes in his room?


  12. October 02, 2009 at 1:03 pm, Anonymous said:

    I live in a small dorm room in bunk beds. My roomate throws her AND her boyfriend’s dirty laundry all over the floor. It smells like something curled up and died…it’s truly awful. Her and her boyfriend sleep everynight in a tiny bed and sweat something awful. She keeps her nasty unwashed dishes in the room…and yes they have mold on them. I think she was raised by wolves.


  13. March 06, 2010 at 12:33 pm, JR said:

    so i confronted my new roommate about his feet smelling like death every time he takes his shoes off, the only thing he did was give me a bullshit excuse as to why they smell so bad and didnt bother to do anything about it, i still feel like im going to vomit every time i enter the room, what is the next step? i really want my room to smell clean again, oh and airfresheners just mix with the smell so i get feet/flower scent please help!


  14. April 15, 2010 at 1:30 pm, mamamaryjane said:

    Ok my freakin roomate has been with us for six years!!! We took him in out of pity because he was sooo depressed we were worried he might do something to hurt himself. We figured we could give him a safe place to stay and befriended him thinking it would boost his self esteem enough to see the great things the world has to offer. We welcomed him into our family gatherings dinners, holidays and special occasions. He is like a son to us even though he is three years older than my hubby and five years older than me!! He has had like two girlfriends in the whole time he’s been here only because he won’t help himself to get laid. Now he’s always had a “smell” in his room however recently the last six months he got himself a cat – poor thing, and his smell has gotten much much worse!! He refuses to change that goddamn litter box like only once every ten twelve days or so if i bitch and moan about it!!! I have three cats and three litter boxes and they are changed every day!! He refuses to put a freakin’ sheet on his bed ever!! I ve even bought him two different sheet sets and made his bed nice with brand new comforter bought brand new pajamas and each Christmas for the last five years a HUGE basket of soaps and shampoos and gel and deodorant and socks!!! He will wear the same pair of socks day and night until the feet break through Im not kidding he wont wash them they could last up to about two weeks until they get tossed in the laundry bin!! Last night he admitted to my husband that he wears the same UNDERWEAR for up to 10 days “Oh my God!” Im sure this is not healthy for us but most importantly our small children who live here too (touching the same doorknobs, toilets, dishes, fridges, phones, YUCK!!! How do we get through to him with out losing a friend and with out losing a roommate???????


  15. September 07, 2010 at 4:17 am, nauseated said:

    Christ. I loved my new apartment! New carpet so I could freely run barefoot without getting that funky ‘residue’ coating my toes and fresh new paint that just got over the stinky paint smell. Then I was gone for two weeks arriving home at 2 AM on a Sunday. The apartment smelled like rotten but roasted, decaying beef AND feces. I then learned my promiscuous roommate had drunken butt sex in my room with who knows who, in my blankets, soiled my sheets. I found a cummy condom in my king-sized fluffy girly blankie. I was relieved that I had NOT washed my bed stuff before leaving but washed them immediately, BEFORE going to bed that morning. Roomie moved out shortly after, but my apartment smells like literally, SHIT, and the closets he used smell like a delightful mix of feces and thriftwear and sweat and bad cologne as well. Even my room continues to wallow in this STANK, smells lightly of feces. Also when I came back from vacay, the carpet felt horrible on my bare feet, almost gunky. I totally could tell MANY pairs of shoes were worn throughout the house. THe carpet, almost not a big problem, got it steam cleaned, twice. But the smell of feces? How the hell do I get rid of that? I cleaned the closets twice in the last 4 days, IN VAIN, because they still smell but now like feces and floral lysol. I’m trying bleach tomorrow. I also think dirty butt sex hands got on my mattress somehow, i guess I’ll have to throw the mattress out. I’m so disgusted I don’t want this person to be my friend anymore!


  16. October 18, 2010 at 7:40 pm, The Smelly Roommate said:

    I have a confession: I am the smelly roommate. I’m really sorry about it, but I’m not quite sure what I should do about it. I don’t think I have BO, I shower regularly, I do laundry regularly, and I don’t eat that much food in my room (seeing as I don’t HAVE that much food in my room-Clean!roomie has an entire wall of food). I thought I would be more of a neatfreak, seeing as I grew up with a neatfreak, but as it turns out without my mom to nag at me, I’m just a slob. A weird, anime-watching, mysteriously stinky slob. The only reason Clean!roomie hasn’t moved out yet is because she’s got too much stuff. I’m sorry I stink. I wish I didn’t. I wish I knew why. Maybe it’s because I grew up in Utah, where the air is really dry and smells don’t travel as much, and down here in Virginia things ROT. Most of all, I wish that I didn’t have to deal with the knowledge that I’m a horrible roommate and the beginning of a horror story on top of having to deal with classes and having my family scattered across the States.


  17. October 31, 2010 at 10:56 am, lalala said:

    I have a roommate with some major BO..! I donno what to do because she is really sweet and does shower (though fast). My window is open 24/7 and I fabreze often. I even bought a $400 air cleaner but it’s not doing much. It would be nice if she could laundry more often, change her sheets, and take longer shower…I like her a lot and don’t want to hurt her feelings or anything. But our room is suffocating me.


  18. November 30, 2010 at 10:37 pm, Cinorhc said:

    I have a roommate who smells like death itself. It’s not B.O., rather a distinctive stench of his own. An odor of a rotting food combined with urine and fecal matter is my best description, and is it ever fucking putrid! I live in a 4 bedroom apartment and as soon as he opens his bedroom door the stank just floods out, easily overcoming the entire apartment within minutes. It is so bad at times I will have to stop what I am doing to move away from the smell or open the front door to get fresh air. I can’t eat when he is around and it is embarassing to have people over due to his excruciating aroma. The guy is messy as holy hell in terms of his personal space (I’ve had the misfortune of walking by his open room door on occasion) but the STANK just takes the fucking CAKE. My other roommates I are very non-confrontational and we try our best not to offend, we have dropped hints and even bought an airfreshener which is currently plugged in outside his room, but the guy clearly picks up on these friendly clues as well as a fork does soup. It looks confrontation is inevitable!


  19. January 11, 2011 at 6:10 pm, In the Midst said:

    I have a roommate who only smells on occasion. I’m pretty sure that she showers, and I know that her laundry is done when her mom drops it off (don’t get me started). Unfortunately, her favorite kind of sandwich, which she eats two or three times a day, is one of the worst smells I have ever experienced. Our room is a small double, which consists of a small room with our beds, and a small bathroom. The dumpsters are 30 feet down the hall and I wouldn’t mind the smell that much if she threw away the wrappers in the dumpster when she’s done. Except, she waits about 30-45 minutes after she’s finished the sandwich and puts it in the trashcan in front of the a/c unit for the room. So all I can smell is the sandwich! The worst part is how she gets up and eats it when I announce I’m going to bed. I have decided to spray febreeze or lysol every time she unwraps the sandwich. If she doesn’t clean up her act, then I’m going after the trashcan next!


  20. April 16, 2011 at 9:19 pm, Anonymous said:

    Std my friends, Stds.


  21. May 31, 2011 at 12:58 am, Unknown name said:

    Wow, my roommate absolutely rots. We got an apartment together freshman year and he stinks the place up constantly. He’s fat, and he has a consistent smell always emanating from him. He sits on my computer chair and my couches and makes them smell like absolute shit. There have been numerous times where he has “showered” and has came out smelling just as bad. Like wtf is he doing in there just letting the water run on himself? His ass area smells unbelievably terribly, as the smell that he plants on my seating arrangements stays there for who knows how long afterward. I’ve tried sending numerous hints by cleaning my couches and chairs with rug doctor cleaner after he’s sat on them while he’s right there and he doesn’t realize anything. It’s really damn embarrassing having anyone over there. He’s just as sloppy when it comes to dishes and cleaning up after himself, his ass hasn’t used the dishwasher more than 5 times the whole year and leaves everything he eats and eats with right where he eats it and basically expects me to clean up after him. His room rots, right when you open his door you’re blasted with a rush of smelly wind. In the past me and my friends have sat down and were real serious to him about him smelling, it seemed like he got the picture at the time, but he didn’t do shit about it. The black dudes next door tell it like it is and always tell him that he’s smelling, he gets mad and doesn’t do anything about it. There is nothing you can do about some of these people who smell, they’re too ignorant and don’t realize how badly they smell. Maybe one day something will happen where he’ll realize that he smells but until then, I have to suffer until august when I can get the hell away from him.


  22. October 26, 2011 at 5:21 pm, Anonymous said:

    I can’t take it anymore, my roommate stinks so fricken bad! He maybe showers once a week, if that. He works two cooking jobs and is always doing projects around the house as well, he never does laundry, and never showers. Both bedrooms are upstairs and when I walk up to mine and his door is open, I just gag almost to the point of puking in the hallway, and its worse when hes in there. What should I do? Ive yelled yuck more than a few times while walking up the stairs, so he can hear it, and also told him “why don’t you go take a fricking shower, you stink so bad!” I feel like thats the only way to get a point across. My friends refuse to come over because of it, and its driving me crazy. He also is a big time clingy person, like wants to hang out 24/7 and be my best friend, but I want no part of it, especially seeing that he reeks like a locker room after a double wrestling meet.


  23. November 12, 2011 at 9:57 am, end of the rope said:

    My problem is that where I had one smelly roommate before, now I have two. I’m out numbered!! My first roommate who I will call mr varsity, is a personal trainer, and has a room that smells akin to the jockstraps of an entire wrestling team fresh out of a hardcore training session. My 2nd roommate who I shall call chef nasty cooks for a living, and always smells of stale tortillas, rotting compost, and BO. We moved into a 3-story apartment not long ago, and both roommates have their own rooms on the 1st floor and my room is a loft on the 3rd floor that is fairly private, but has ventilation to the 2nd floor, enough that I can get a whiff of whatever smell is going on in there. When I get home from work, there’s a pretty raunchy blend of odors that knocks you down as soon as you open our 1st floor entrance, enough that I have to hold my breath and run upstairs before I need to gasp for air. As you can imagine with this great new space we have, mr varsity likes hanging out in the living room, and has designated my nice suede sofa as his new hangout spot. After a while, my nice suede sofa now has a dark, shiny, crusty spot where he normally sits and the entire sofa reeks of musty sweat and feet. He often has extremely bad gas since he’s constantly taking vitamins and eats a high protein diet. And with the air flowing freely between my room and the living room, I get really strong doses of whatever concoction he’s mixed up. Now as terrible as that is, it wouldn’t be half as bad if I only dealt with him alone since he’s an early-to-bed type of person and I’m a night owl. But chef nasty it turns out, has a really late schedule and every time he comes home, he leaves that bedroom door open and that odor travels right up the stair well, permeating the entire second floor AND my loft space. Febreeze doesn’t work, I’ve tried. I have probably bought more febreeze in my short time living here than anyone ever has in their life. So I’m trapped living in a constant state of 2 distinct brands of stench blended unsuccessfully masked with an overwhelming amount of air freshener, and the only means of escape is to conk out and sleep it off. I often open the windows and this seems to help, but my window in particular acts as a ventilating system for the entire house and sucks all the bad smell up into my room. And during the winter months, I have to choose between freezing to death or living with the warm, putrid smells that invade my private space. To top it off, both of my roommates are lazy slobs (unsurprisingly). Every handle, every doorway, and every wall corner has grimy, dirty, greasy hand smears. The kitchen is always filthy enough that you wouldn’t dare step barefoot in it, and I’ve seen the kitchen sink looking like a petri dish lab experiment. Between the two of them, they seem to fill up the garbage almost instantly, and then just pack down the garbage in the can instead of throwing it out. It’s so sad since we have such a cool place. And to top it all off, I cannot store my food downstairs because no matter what I do or say, somebody always ends up eating my food when I’m not home. I never invite friends over because it’s really embarrassing. I’ve tried the subtle approach, trying to be sensitive to their feelings. It eventually got to the point where I had to straight out say something to both of them and get confrontational. That seemed to work at first, but only lasted a few days before everything went back to square one. Nothing seems to affect these guys who are seemingly dead set in their ways. Sometimes, there’s nothing you can do and you just have to move on.


  24. December 21, 2011 at 3:17 pm, Going to bleach everything said:

    I recently bought a house and had a roommate move in to help supplement some of the payments as I make minor renovations in the first year. I am now counting down the days until his lease is up. While he does manage to keep the common area clean and is respectful of my property, his room is a complete dump and every time the door opens it emanates this mildewy, dirty laundry, body funk throughout the house. Luckily, since I have a dog he keeps his room closed the majority of the time, but recently after being gone for over a week, I came home to my entire house smelling like him. It makes me gag!!! I am on my way to the store this afternoon to stock up on bleach cleaning products and candles to try to wash his smell out of the place. Unfortunately, it’s not just his room…it’s the bathroom too. After following my nose this morning I realized that one of the major sources of funk are his towels. The kid showers every night for 30 mins and again for another 5-10 in the morning (which is a whole other story in and of itsself considering water is not free!!!!) and his towel reeks like mildew and rotten milk. I seriously do not understand why he can’t find the time to wash them in the FREE laundry room i provide in the house. Unreal really. I am leaving work early today to clean and this will include washing his towels. I will likely fold them and say – i was doing a load of towels and noticed yours needed a washing too. I am not really the confrontational type so my approach is candles, bleach and washing his towels for him. His room. I just shut the door and try not to let it bother me so much. But, I swear if when he moves out that funk is still there, I may have to sell the place…BARF!!! Oh and does anyone know how one person can smell so awful when they shower so frequently??? My only guess is that he has some oil glad issues. Double barf. 6 more months to go.


  25. May 14, 2012 at 7:45 am, michael said:

    I just moved into a new dorm room. Mainly because ny old roommate was a tool and hopefully i could expand my social circle with the people i half knew from my new floor. So of course you have to meet your new roomie before you move in. I already knew he had the potential to be a nasty bastard. He looks like a wanna be jersey shore guide except less buff and gets less chicks. Let me tell you.. now that i have lived in the room for a month i can tell you he smells soooo incredibly musky. Like. There is noo way he cannot know his own problem, poor nasty bastard has three different types of cologne he uses at the same time to fix his problem. Unforubately for me its either be suffocated by the nasty odor eminating from his oversized glands or be suffocated by the astringent potent smells of three types of cologne. People on the floor tell me that he doesnt wash his hands after using the rest room. Ever.. he has no shame apparently . And the other day he tried to dig hardcore in his nostrils while i wasnt looking. Lije at this point im disgusted as fk and am starting to care less and less about his ugly miniature wanna be guide feelings. I now turn the room into a wind tunnel every time i am in here. Hopefully my huge ass hints. And me constantly saying “wow why does it smell sooo incredibly bad in here” gets the message across. But i m starting to think that he simply is one country ass boy without any home training what so ever. Like seriouslyy urgh .. nasty ass mofos. Fix yourselves!


  26. October 08, 2012 at 2:58 pm, unfortunateroommates said:

    oh god please help me! i am one of 3 that live in an apartment. we all get along and 2 of us smell this awful smell coming from our third roommates room! since our apartment is 2 stories it is easy to know its hers since she lives on the main floor and me and the other girl live upstairs. we have lit candles, sprayed sprays and prayed the smell will go away! we have also cleaned extensively hoping it might be a smell from the kitchen, but no its not. we have no clue what to say to her without offending her. i never knew a girl could smell so repulsive. i want to puke by the minute. she also has a boyfriend and i know damn well he smelt that when he came over, bless his heart for not saying anything. i truly have no idea what to do except talk to the other roommate repeatedly about it. you smell it every time you walk in so I’m not quite sure why she hasn’t thought anything of it. I’m about to set off a bomb that smells of greatness in that hazard of a room. I’m surprised it isn’t infested with rodents or bugs yet, but if it gets to that point, i just might lose it.


  27. December 12, 2012 at 4:46 pm, MIKE said:



  28. January 30, 2013 at 2:06 am, help said:

    I moved away from my old roommate because I couldnt get enough sleep. He had company over too late every once in a while, and how foolish I was to move. I am regretting this so much now. We had the absolute best smelling rooms. I’m getting even LESS sleep than EVER now.

    I’m now stuck with a guy who literally sleeps ALL day and NEVER leaves for ANY reason (except for going to classes and bringing back food). He wears the exact same clothes when he goes out as well. He sleeps (and farts) the entire day, and as SOON as I get back after a tiring day of school, friends, work, and homework, when I slip into bed (around 11-12 or so) he finally hops out of bed and starts playing video games (with headphones at least thank GOODNESS, but I’m right next to his desk so I hear the constant VERY loud CLICK CLICK CLICK CLICK CLICK CLICK CLICK CLICK CLICK of his mouse), turns on his lamp (which illuminates the room a sickly pale color that I’ve grown to DESPISE). His garbage piles up in the corner of the room until he takes it out once every two weeks. I’ve been here almost four weeks and I’ve YET to see him take anything close to a shower. Our room literally smells like shit and he farts almost constantly. The windows don’t open (or at least i haven’t figured out how yet) so it’s only going to keep getting worse until I do something. fml

    I’m so sorry I ever moved.


  29. August 15, 2013 at 2:35 pm, Stinky Man Roommate said:

    I was a homeless, 38 y/o, female. I am really wondering if sleeping in my car was as bad as my roommates body odor. Its so nasty that I can taste it. A guy I worked with was also sleeping in his car, so we rented an extended stay hotel room, so we wouldn’t be homeless. He is a really nice guy, but he stinks. His towels stink. His bed, OMG, when I turn over in my bed to the side where his bed is, I want to vomit. It smells like bad body odor mixed with fecies. I don’t even know if I will get my room deposit back because of the stench. His clothes stink. Its a tiny hotel closet and I have to steam my clothes every day. I bought a garment rack, so that I don’t have to smell his BO on my clothes, but the odor is taking over the room. I have sprayed cleaners. Used my steamer to steam clean his bed, while he is at work. I steam clean his towels. The smell still emanates. He craps and leaves it spattered all in the toilet, even though there are plenty of bathrooms downstairs where he can crap, instead of in this tiny little crammed room. OMG, man doodoo is not what girls want to smell all times of the day and night…and the loud splat poots aren’t either. Gross as hell. I bought boxes of laundry detergent to put in the room to try to absorb the BO, but it didn’t work either. What can I do for cheap. I have little money. He is sensitive and a nice guy. I don’t want to hurt his feelings, but its really hard to sleep with that chillingly nauseating, nasty odor.


  30. December 26, 2016 at 9:27 am, A said:

    My roommate refuses to wear socks with her shoes. She comes home after working and the smell is beyond words. I usually have to leave the room because I don't want her to see me gagging. She knows they smell because she'll be like woo-ee sorry my feet stink. I want to be like "that's how your body tell you it's time to take a fucking shower" but I don't want to hurt her feelings. Last night I got home lit some candles and started and movie, she comes home takes off her shoes, and sits down next to me. Before I know it her feet are up on the couch next to me and she keeps scooting them down like she's gonna put them on my lap! So I'm hugging the edge of the couch until I finally say fuck it and leave. She also binge eats and leaves the debri for me to pick up after. I finally broke down and told her she has to start removing her hair from the drains. But I don't know how to completely change her behavior after 26 years of being a slob.


    • January 28, 2017 at 8:31 pm, Kevin M said:

      > I wish I could have been her roommate!


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