Guest Post: Bathroom Etiquette in Multi-Person Households



Whether you’re getting used to sharing a bathroom with one or more other people, or you’re tired of arguing about things like “seat up or seat down,” a simple bathroom etiquette guide will help you establish some ground rules for your household. Keep the peace in your bathroom for two and agree to these simple rules, or adjust them as necessary — as long as you all agree.

Image from Flickr’s Creative Commons


The Verdict Is In: Seat Down

Many men prefer to leave the seat up, while women want the seat down. Men sometimes wonder why women can’t just put the seat down before they use the toilet, since they often lift the seat up before using it. If this issue is familiar to you, settle it now.

You could go with the “majority rules” mentality depending on how many men and women are in the household, but if it’s evenly split or you want to follow proper bathroom etiquette, here it is: Put the seat down after each use. Having the seat closed before flushing decreases the risk of bacteria spreading around the bathroom. It also looks nicer down than up and discourages curious pets from drinking out of the bowl or falling in.

Use the Fan

Foul odors are something bathroom users can’t help, but when you’re sharing the bathroom, minimize the discomfort for the rest of the household by doing what you can to neutralize odors. If your bathroom has a built-in fan for air circulation, use it when you think you’re going to leave behind a bit of a stench. If you don’t have a fan and it’s pleasant outside, crack a window if you have one.

In the absence of a fan or open window, spray the bathroom lightly with a deodorizer once you’re finished so the scent doesn’t escape to the rest of the house.

Shut the Door

Some people get lazy about shutting the door at home when they’re using the toilet or bathing. Some people give the excuse that the bathroom needs air circulation. No one wants to see you doing private hygienic activities, particularly using the bathroom — not even your family. If you live with someone, the door must stay closed. If you’re worried about air circulation, turn on the fan, open a window or leave the door ajar once you’ve finished.

Whoever Finishes the Toilet Paper Must Replace It

There are few bathroom dilemmas more inconvenient than using the toilet only to discover there’s no toilet paper. Make it a household rule that whoever uses the last of the toilet paper must replace the roll immediately after he’s finished and washed his hands. Even if you have a nearby stockpile, that last person must swap out the empty cardboard tube for a new roll.

Make Personal Storage a Priority

Do a small-scale remodel of your bathroom so that everyone who uses it gets his own storage space for toiletries, towels and the like. That way, you won’t argue over using someone else’s belongings without permission, and everything will have its own place.

If you don’t have the budget to install a multi-functional sink or mirror with storage space, a simple multi-cubby storage unit will do. Slide it under the sink or in the corner of a bathroom, wherever space is available. If you already have a spacious cupboard under your sink, divide it into storage space for each household member with plastic containers or cloth bins.

Agreeing to keep the toilet seat down, taking care to eliminate odors, shutting the door, replacing toilet paper and designating personal storage are all examples of bathroom etiquette that require little effort. Once your household agrees to follow these suggestions, you’ll stop fighting … at least, where bathroom etiquette is concerned.



About the Author: Clark Walker is a contributing blogger and etiquette consultant. He’s covered etiquette guidelines for numerous lifestyle publications.



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