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Using someone else’s bathroom: An etiquette expert shares the do’s and don’ts
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Using someone else’s bathroom: An etiquette expert shares the do’s and don’ts

Posted by Adam Chard in DIY advice | 3 weeks ago 5 min read

Have you ever felt anxious using someone else’s bathroom? Never fear… Etiquette expert Georgina Burnett is here to pass on her do’s and don’ts to ensure your visit to the bathroom or cloakroom is filled with confidence.

If you’re anything like me, you’ll recognise that feeling of dread when the time comes to use someone else’s bathroom. From a simple call of nature when on a short visit, to a full morning shower when staying overnight, there are some basic bathroom rules to follow to ensure your friendships don’t sink without trace!

Georgina Burnett, ITV’s revered home coach—known fondly as The Home Genie—has teamed up with Victoria Plum to kindly shared her wisdom, bringing you 5 do’s and don’ts when using someone else’s bathroom.

  1. Bring your own toiletries
  2. Don’t linger longer in the shower
  3. Towels: An absorbing issue
  4. Avoiding toilet trauma
  5. Bathing: Is it acceptable?


1. Bring your own toiletries

If you’re staying overnight and wish to wash and scrub up at any point (and, let’s face it, you’ll certainly want to be at your freshest!), it’s always best to bring items like shower gel, shampoo, deodorant, toothpaste and moisturiser. If you go rummaging around in bathroom cabinets for items like these, it definitely won’t go unnoticed!

"You should absolutely take your own toiletries," says Georgina. "It's one thing for someone to offer you their toiletries, it's quite another to just help yourself. You wouldn't come round for dinner without bringing a bottle of wine, so the same is true of your visit to their bathroom."

Don’t take toiletries from the mirror cabinet

Be prepared! Bring your own toiletries and don’t be tempted to scrabble around in here!


2. Don’t linger longer in the shower

Georgina advises a not unreasonable shower time of 5 to 10 minutes, when using a shared bathroom. However, if a separate shower room or ensuite is made available to you, taking a little extra time to enjoy the facilities won’t do any harm.

"Do anything you can back in your bedroom pre- and post-shower so as not to hog the bathroom. A shorter shower is better for the environment anyway!" suggests The Home Genie.

Don’t take too long in the shower

While it may be tempting, don’t spend any more than 10 minutes in the communal shower


3. Towels: An absorbing issue

Do you bring your own bathroom towel or not? Instead of taking up baggage space unnecessarily, Georgina suggests checking the towel situation with your host beforehand. However, Georgina also says: "Although I tend to double-check, I would usually expect a host to supply a towel.

"Only use 1 though and ask where to hang it to dry or whether you should put it in the washing machine. The one thing to never do is leave your damp used towel on the floor or bed, that’s an absolute no-no!"

Hanging towels on a towel rail

Whether you’ve brought your own or are using your host’s, using a towel rail to hang your damp towel is always good etiquette


4. Avoiding toilet trauma

If there’s one thing that turns even the bravest of people into a nervous wreck, it’s using the toilet at a friend’s house. From running out of toilet roll to leaving an unpleasant odour, there are many, many things to worry about. To help rest your racing mind, The Home Genie stresses simple cleanliness.

She says: "Whether it's a No 2 or a wayward No 1, be sure to leave no trace. This is assuming you're staying the night. It's best to just take a tinkle if you're popping in and out or just there for the evening.”

"If there's some kind of toilet freshener it's only polite to erase any odours for the next toilet goer—candles or lighting a match are often the most successful odour busters."

Georgina also adds: _"I think it goes without saying, but it doesn't matter how you found it, always leave the toilet seat and lid down!"

Keep the toilet clean and put the lid down

Avoid toilet trauma! Clean up after yourself and keep that lid down


5. Bathing: Is it acceptable?

While we’d be perfectly happy running ourselves a nice hot bath, lying back and relaxing for a while in our own homes, is this something you could do when staying with a friend?

"Whether or not you should take a bath very much depends on the circumstances," says Georgina.

"If it's a chilled stay with a very close friend, there's a discussion to be had, but if you're just staying the night, it's a bit rude to luxuriate for any length of time…I would personally go with a no on this one. It’s just not appropriate."

Can you enjoy a bath when staying with a friend?

So, no matter how inviting the bath may be, if you haven’t discussed it with your host beforehand, it’s a no


More top tips from The Home Genie

As well as these 5 main do’s and don’ts, Georgina has come up with some other top tips to follow when using someone else’s bathroom:

  • Mop up any spills, discard rubbish and maintain the tidiness for your host’s bathroom
  • Avoid delving into cabinets or using unoffered products; respect the privacy of the bathroom space

By following The Home Genie’s sound advice, you can easily ensure your friendships remain as fresh as the bathrooms you find yourself in!

Keep your friendships as fresh as the bathrooms you find yourself in


More great bathroom advice from Victoria Plum

At Victoria Plum, we are the UK’s bathroom experts, providing stylish suites and more since 2001. Whether you’re considering refurbishing or simply looking for some help with DIY, you’ll discover all the bathroom advice you need, right here.

From cleaning to installation, check out our how to guides, complete with step-by-step instructions and videos. Find out everything you need to know about specific products before purchasing with our expert bathroom buying guides, and make sure you have space for everything with our handy bathroom planning articles.

Author, Adam Chard

Posted by Adam Chard in DIY advice | 3 weeks ago

A born & raised West Countryman, now living on the Yorkshire Coast, for over 10 years Adam has been bringing home interior ideas to life at Victoria Plum. Adam’s favourite interior styles have been shaped by both urban and natural influences.

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