Shared Bathroom Etiquette: Roommate Basics

in Roommates on by

When you live with a roommate, etiquette is important in sharing common spaces—especially bathroom etiquette. Bathrooms are the hub of most people’s morning routines and are also very personal spaces, hence the importance of being respectful and mindful of one another’s needs and preferences. Here is some basic bathroom etiquette to consider as you embark on living with a roommate.

Plan Morning Schedules Accordingly

The most important component of roommate etiquette is for each person to be respectful of one another’s schedule. Ideally, your schedule and your roommate’s schedule won’t conflict with one anothers—there’s nothing worse that fighting for the shower when you both have to be to work by 9 AM.

However, most work schedules are pretty standard, so if you both have the same work hours you need to come up with a fair method for scheduling morning bathroom and shower use. Sit down and discuss both of your schedules and preferences. If one of you isn’t opposed to waking up earlier to use the shower, the issue is best solved that way. You might find that one of you doesn’t mind showering at night instead of in the morning. If that’s the case, finding a way to divide morning bathroom use will be much simpler.

Whatever you do, avoid being a bathroom hog. Even spending as little as five extra minutes in the bathroom each morning can throw your roommate’s schedule for a loop. Make a schedule and stick to it.

Put Your Things Away

Sharing a small space means keeping everything in its place. Neither you nor your roommate should leave products and styling tools on the counter after using them. Put everything back right away to keep the room from becoming cluttered.

Clean Up After Yourself

While putting your roommate’s hairspray away every day isn’t that big of a deal, having to wipe his or her hair out of the sink is. Proper bathroom etiquette requires that you be mindful of your grooming and any traces you leave. Always wipe hair out of the sink, pick up tissues that may have not made it into the trash can and make sure not to make a mess of the shower. Bathrooms can be disgusting places if you let them. Always put away or clean up anything you think will bother your roommate. It’s never appropriate to leave clipped nails in the sink or used sanitary items out in the open. Rather, it’s disgusting. Remember, this is a shared space!

Ask Before You Borrow

It’s pretty easy to help yourself to your roommate’s shampoo or toothpaste after you’ve run out. Really, it shouldn’t be a problem if it only happens once or twice. Out of courtesy, you should tell your roommate that you borrowed the products(s) and offer some of yours after you replace them. It’s rude and unfair to continue using your roommate’s products without his or her knowledge. Respect one another’s belongings and don’t take anything without asking first.

Shared bathroom etiquette really boils down to common courtesy and respect. Lead by example and stick to a schedule, clean up after yourself and ask before borrowing anything.


Rachael Weiner: I’m a communications professional for a non-profit, which financially necessitates my status as an apartment dweller. Constantly “on-the-go,” I’ve resided in five different apartments across the United States over the past five years. Roommate issues, budgeting, organizing and handling problem neighbors are my specialty.

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