England, United Kingdom Level 2
I had to do something today I never thought I would. I have mentioned all through my listing that we have two guest rooms in the home with a shared bathroom. There are house rules both in the listing itself as well as the check-in instructions to not leave personal items in the bathroom since the bathroom is used by more than one guest. Mainly this is to prevent people from leaving things like underwear on the floor, draping wet towels over the shower rods so others can not close the curtain, and leaving things like personal body wash, scrunchies, etc, in the shower where another guest could accidentally touch something that has touched another's body.
Over the past few months there have been numerous violations of these rules by several guests. Guests often will leave their wash towels in the shower, their personal soap products in the bathroom and several times there has been personal clothing items, including women's underwear, left on the bathroom floor or hanging on the shower rods to dry. There has also been on ongoing problem with guests leaving both the light and fan on in the bathroom, then closing the door when they are done so that other guests think someone is still in the bathroom (that one I cant figure out - our house rules also say to leave the bathroom room door open when not in use and turn off lights when you leave a space).
Today I mounted a sign into the bathroom wall listing the "Shared Bathroom Rules". Its a professional plastic sleeve sign, the kind hotels use on the back of the doors, to clearly show guests what the rules are about the shared bathroom. I had to do this because guests are apparently not reading my house rules and some are just oblivious.
@Andrew0- You might recall, from a post about 12-14 months ago, one of the worst bathroom experiences I had was a pair of women from Germany who stayed for about a week and halfway through realized there was another guest and that he was a black gentleman. They clearly had an enormous problem sharing the bathroom with a black man and (speaking German myself) I picked up some of what they said about having to shower after the Schwartzman.
They left a 4 star review which I tried to have removed because I felt they had left it due to racism the other guest being black. AirBNB didn't remove it, saying they didn't make racist comments in the review itself, although they agreed with me that this was probably what had occurred.
@Anthony608 That behavior is more disgusting than any of the bathroom particulars listed above, but I guess it comes with the territory. I think if I were you, I'd make it blaringly clear in the listing that the bathroom is shared with other guests (even if sometimes it isn't). I wouldn't go so far as to "warn" them that those guests will include people of any imaginable race/gender/orientation etc, but then again, my profile photo is usually enough of a filter to keep that kind of bigot from booking.
@Anthony608 Like you, I have a small shared bathroom with very little space to add any new features. But I did manage to install some shelving with individual storage boxes that people could use to store personal toiletries that they didn't want to have to carry back and forth from the guestroom. Most guests had already begun stocking their cubby within an hour of arriving - it's a very popular feature. Habit is a more powerful force in human behavior than rules, and people are habitually used to certain things already being there when they're in the middle of a visit to the bathroom, so it makes sense to me.
I also had to come up with a likeable solution for wet towels. People don't like hanging them in their bedrooms, where they can make the whole room smell musty, but they also don't want to risk getting theirs mixed up with someone else's and catching cooties. What worked for me here wouldn't really map on to just about anyone's living space; you just have to go with the most convenient spot that's dry and well-ventilated.
I have no magic fix for discarded panties on the floor. Charitably, I tend to assume they were forgotten by mistake.
@Anthony608 @Andrew0 I was just going to make the suggestion of a separate shelf or caddy for guests to leave their shower items and wash cloths. I'm not a personal fan of the ones with suction cups - they never seem to stick, and have a weight limit. A wall unit would be better.
I also ended up getting one of those over-the-door towel hooks that accommodate 6 towels, because door hooks were always coming loose. I had to do a bit of filing down on the top of the door, so it would still close (pre-hung door with a tight fit) but it's a whole lot tidier than towels draped over the shower doors, over chair backs or dropped in a pile on the floor.
I also provide a couple of those adjustable clothing racks on wheels, for extra hanging space. Since I have tiled and concrete floors, I'm not concerned about "smalls" being washed, draped over those and dripping on the floor.
@Andrew0We have towel hooks on the back of the bathroom door already, which some guests have used, but the issue with towels I just don't have a solution for. Being a shared bathroom, there have been more than a few people who have expressed revulsion at even seeing someone else's towel anywhere in the bathroom. For my entire hosting experience, I have just had in the house rules to hang wet towels in the guests room to dry and to not leave them in the bathroom. When I am a guest, also, I keep my towel in the room since I don't want it taken or someone else accidentally using it!
@Anthony608 I think it's especially tricky when guests are sharing the bathroom with other guests, rather than just the hosts. That's before we even get into the unflushed or un-brushed toilets, too-long showers, malodors, noxious perfumes and sprays, and unspeakable wads of long hair and what-have-you in the drains. Sharing a bathroom with multiple strangers is not for the faint of heart, and it's quite alright to channel @Lawrene0 's fabulous way with words to convey the limitations and drawbacks of the amenities.
Think you can leave personal items, including your towel, in the shared bathroom? No! Ew!
I hear you, though. It doesn't always help.
I do like your idea of the sign and I hope it works. As much as I hate putting signs up, a few brief, professional-looking ones really have helped here. Not foolproof, of course. Are you taking bets on how long it will be until one of your guests hangs his towel over it? 😉
@Lawrene0- Thats not exactly what the issue was. Mainly people leaving things like underwear on the bathroom floor and also personal products left in the shower itself, like scrunchies and washclothes used to scrub their whatevers, or hanging a dripping wet towel over the shower rod where another guest would have to move it themselves to use the bathtub. And yes, we did have complaints about this and some guests really took offense.
The new system so far works great. A shelf for the guests, each gets their own shelf and then a sign on the back of the bathroom door asking people to not leave personal products in the shower itself (use the shelves instead) and keep towels in the room. Also no clothing left in the bathroom.
You would think all of that was common sense, but I just had to put up another (very small) sign about locking our outer screen door. We had a very small number of guests who, for some unknown reason, would go looking for the safety lock (which is really small and hard to find) and would then lock the outer screen door so other guests couldn't open the screen door to get to the main door with the electronic lock. I put a sign the size of a nickel above the safety lock saying "Do not lock". The only thing left I guess is putting a "Private" sign on my bedroom door. Don't think I'll do that, I've only one guests out of over two hundred ever try to get into my bedroom.
@Andrew0- Yes, I agree with you about the shared bathroom challenges. Our bathroom is checked daily for spot cleaning and thoroughly cleaned before each new guest arrives. Also a quick walk-through right before check-in time (when possible) to make sure another guest already in the house did not leave a surprise or present in the bathroom after we finished cleaning. We used to (years ago) clean the night before but had several situations where other guests, the following morning, would use and sometimes even trash the bathroom requiring a re-cleaning.