The bathroom is an incredibly intimate and personal space, but for those of us who don’t have the luxury of having the bathroom all to ourselves, we have to learn to share the space. Whether it’s with our family, housemates or significant other, there’s a certain etiquette that needs to be adhered to in order to harmoniously share a bathroom.
If you’re resorting to leaving passive-aggressive messages in the steamed up mirror then study our six unbreakable rules for sharing a bathroom:
1. Create a bathroom schedule (and stick to it)
This doesn’t need to be set in stone (or even synced into your smartphone calendar) but if you’re all leaving the house at around the same time in the mornings, then it's well worth figuring out who gets to use the bathroom when.
If you've found yourself waiting around outside the bathroom door, anxiously watching the morning minutes tick away as the current occupant takes a leisurely shower, then a rough schedule might be just what you need to start your day the right way.
2. Leave plenty of hot water for other people
Rule number two almost inevitably goes hand-in-hand with rule number one. If you're the last person to use the bathroom that morning, then you might have found yourself showering under an icy blast of cold water once or twice.
So, if you’ve grabbed the number one spot in the bathroom schedule, then take a short sharp shower, ensuring that there’s plenty of hot water left in the tank for your housemate’s use. (Trust us, they’ll thank you in the long run.
3. Clean up after yourself
Let's be honest here, no one likes cleaning the bathroom. For both the sake of your sanity and your health it is, unfortunately, a necessary evil. Bathrooms are prone to dirt, grime and soapy build-up, and the more people using a bathroom, the more likely the room is to get messy very quickly.
You might think about taking it in turns to clean the bathroom once a week. Another way to keep on top of the dirt day-to-day is for each person to clean up after themselves. A quick rinse of the shower and wipe down of the surfaces with a microfiber cloth should only take a few minutes, and will prevent grime and soap-scum from building up.
4. Remember to ventilate!
Stepping into a steam-filled room may sound incredibly luxurious, but not when you’re trying to get ready and need to use the mirror! That’s why another major rule in the bathroom etiquette book is to ventilate the space.
Ensure your extractor fan is running from the moment you get in the shower. It should run for a further 20-30 minutes after you’re done to help the steam dissipate. Alternatively, leave the window open so that the next person using the bathroom doesn’t need to battle a fog of steam before they can start getting ready.
5. Always replace the loo roll
It goes without saying that this one is a cardinal sin of bathroom sharing. In fact, it's along the same lines as using the last of the milk and not replacing it. It's bad enough to enter the bathroom and see nothing but a sad, grey cardboard tube resting on the toilet roll holder, but there's nothing worse than discovering the empty roll when you’ve already got your trousers around your ankles!
We’ve all been there, so let's think of our fellow bathroom users and take ten seconds to replace the loo roll when it's all used up (and that doesn’t mean leaving one scrappy sheet of tissue clinging to the cardboard roll!).
6. Use the bathmat
No one likes to leave the bathroom with soaking wet socks, having unknowingly stepped into a puddle of water on the floor. A post-shower floor drenching is all too likely if you're in a hurry, so try towelling off on the bathmat to help to reduce the puddles, leaving a nice dry floor for other people.
Of course, it's not easy to keep the space bone-dry when you’re showering, so maybe give the floor a quick mop after use. Keeping everyone’s feet cosy in the bathroom is something they are bound to thank you for!
Ultimately, there’s only one real rule for sharing a bathroom, and that is to be considerate of other people, whether it’s leaving plenty of hot water so you can all take a warm shower, or making sure everyone at home gets their fair use of the bathroom in the mornings.