JFF: What Kind of Guest Are You?

Updated on August 06, 2014
J.G. asks from Chicago, IL
22 answers

Do you wipe down the sink and counter before you leave, or do you treat visiting a friend as if in a hotel? What kind of guest are you?

I'm a clean freak, so I usually wipe things down fairly good on a daily basis whether I'm home or away. When away, I do try to do as much as possible before I leave for my host.

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Featured Answers



answers from San Francisco on

I leave it tidy, but don't clean. Most women like to clean their own way, I've noticed, and I think cleaning someone's house before you leave would be a little micromanage-y.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Grand Forks on

I treat it like a hotel. I tidy up after myself, but I don't start cleaning. I would feel weird if my guests were doing the cleaning.

7 moms found this helpful

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answers from New York on

Took some time for me to find a happy medium. I was the sort who would use someone's bathroom, find someone's lightswitch plate had fingerprints, and would take to giving it a scrub. I used to take empties to the kitchen, not just my own but other's during cocktails/ apps. Heck, I've even run the recycling to the curb. I've come to learn though that this sort of help is not always good or welcome. In cleaning the lightswitch plates, I made someone feel like a poor housekeeper. In carrying away used dishes to the kitchen I put added pressure on the host, who expected everyone to use and re-use their plates. In carrying recyclables out to the curb, I nearly caused a ticket for putting out trash on the wrong day. I've had guests throw towels and bedding into a wash and unwittingly upset my laundry needs (i.e.- i needed that machine to wash something at the last minute, but couldn't get it in because everything was tied up.)

I now make sure to ask before I do anything, even what I think might be helpful things, in someone else's home.

F. B.

12 moms found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

I can't possibly be the only host who would be embarrassed if my guests started cleaning their sink, wiping the toilet? That is totally rude. Here is someone inviting you into their home and you are saying it is dirty, I need to clean.

Part of being a good host is your guest doesn't life a finger.

I find it interesting that your choices are clean or treat them like a hotel. Makes me wonder how you behave in a hotel. In a hotel I am just the same as staying with friends. I leave the room in the same condition as I got there except normal wear. Like towels are wet, sheets need to be cleaned. You talk about poor abused cleaning ladies but I get the feeling the ones that are actually underpaid you treat like servants. There should not be a difference between how you leave a friends house and how you leave a hotel.

11 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

I try to be a good guest at friends by leaving "no trace."

8 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

I try to leave things clean, but I don't scrub the bathroom before we leave. I'll take our towels and sheets to the laundry room, that sort of thing.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Chattanooga on

I take care of my own messes other small things that need done several times a day (like wiping the counters and such...)

I also tend to pitch in (or offer to pitch in... Depending on how comfortable I am with the host...) when the host is doing other chores.

I always hate taking the initiative to do other chores, because then I worry that I might be somehow insulting the host. (Again, depends on my level of comfort with the host.)

The length of the stay is also a consideration. I do considerably more work the longer I am a guest.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Reading on

So I take it someone visited and left a mess. When I stay at my parents' house, I clean the bathroom from top to bottom so my elderly parents don't have to clean up after the four of us. But I do it in secret so they don't feel like I'm treating them like they're old. They are an exception. While I might clean up hairs or toothpaste from a sink, I'm not going to clean up a bathroom at someone else's house.

I just hosted my parent and sister for the weekend and would have been upset if they had cleaned anything. I want them to relax. In fact, when my inlaws strip the bed after a visit, I hate it! They put the sheets and towels in my laundry room, trying to be helpful, and it's just in my way. It absolutely drives me nuts! And I wouldn't want them remaking the bed with clean sheets, either.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Norfolk on

I stay in hotels when visiting family.
Everyone is happy that way and house keeping makes the beds, cleans the bathroom and replaces towels every day.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

Depends on whether or not the host is there - sometimes if we stay at my aunt and uncle's cabin or at my in-laws' beach house, they might be there with us or might not be.

If they are there, I clean up the spaces we're in (stripping the beds and remaking unless they expressly say not to) and try to leave no trace in the guest bedroom(s) and bathroom(s). In common areas, I'll pick up after myself and my husband/kids, do the dinner dishes, etc. but won't "clean" because they might find that insulting.

If the hosts aren't home with us, I'll go to town on cleaning. For years my FIL was the primary resident of the beach house (his wife worked in another city and they split their time among 3 places) so he didn't do things like clean the refrigerator gaskets and other things, so if we were there without him, I'd do some deep cleaning of things that were pretty grody and I knew he didn't notice. If the owners are there, I try to leave the place better than I found it but not in an obvious way.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

When I stay at a friends home? I strip the bed I slept in and ask where the clean sheets are.

The bathroom I tidy up - but do NOT scrub clean.

I take it you had a guest that left your guest room in shambles? :)

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Baton Rouge on

I clean up behind myself even in a hotel. I don't leave toothpaste in the sink, puddles of water on the counter, or wet towels on the floor.
I ask my host if s/he wants the bed stripped if I am staying with a friend.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

I leave everything the way I found it. Takes sheets off bed, gather towels, start washer. I even leave hotel looking great too.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I always pitch in at my in-laws house. They usually have lots of guests (holidays) and many children are present as well, so we all help out.

For friends I usually follow their lead. If they have an immaculate house, I try to keep up, if they are more laid back, I am too.

For hotels we don't do much and leave a great tip.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

Same as at a hotel--wipe down, make bed, dirty towels in near pile.
Yes, I make my bed in a hotel. Can't stand to look at an unmade bed.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

Whether I'm a guest at a hotel, someone's home, or out in nature, I make a point of leaving it at least as clean and orderly as I found it. I look for ways to leave it just a little bit better, actually. It's just what feels right to me, and is a little active "prayer" of appreciation and gratitude. I even straighten the bed somewhat in a hotel, but that's because I like the neatness during the time I'm still using the room.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

I don't typically wipe down the counter unless I notice I've made a big mess, but I try to keep it clean throughout my visit. I do make the bed, or strip the sheets if it's a sofa bed. I don't put things into the washer.

I help cook and do dishes throughout my stay. If we go to the market to buy food, I'll usually buy it, or at least split the cost. Otherwise, I will make sure to treat my hosts to a restaurant meal one night.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

well, the bias of this question is clear, ie treating your host like a hotel. many people would be very put out if you went to their house and started cleaning it as if you were disgusted by it.
i follow my host's lead, and ask if i don't know. 'shall i put my plate in the dishwasher?' 'want me to make the bed or strip it?' i put away anything i've used, and wipe a countertop if i've dirtied it, but i don't scrub the toilets or light fixtures unless i'm there for an extended period of time and we're all comfy with me 'helping out.'
it makes me very antsy when i have guests staying in my home and they feel obliged to clean all the time. i want to enjoy their company, not have my house cleaned for me.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from San Antonio on

I clean up, fix the bed, vacuum, sweep mop, not just the room I stayed in but living room and kitchen also and I clean up the bathroom too.
I fix the bed and make sure all my trash is in the trash can, all dirty towels are together and neat in a hotel.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Wausau on

I rinse my toothpaste out of the sink. If I shower I'll make sure I don't leave hair on the drain. If I use a tissue I put it in the trash. I do this in hotels too.

In a friend's home it is polite to pick up after yourself, or to offer to assist the host when you see him/her doing a task. Anything else has the potential to be overstepping privacy boundaries or showing rudeness to the host.

For example, you mentioned sheets and towels - it is fine to put them in the hamper or basket, but it is not okay to use the washing machine without obtaining permission.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

What kind of guest would you like in your home? That's the kind I am when I visit in someone's home. I'd like them to invite me back. And I like to be helpful because I know how much time/effort they put into getting ready for my visit.


1 mom found this helpful


answers from Boca Raton on

i usually clean the bathroom when i first arrive, and before i leave. but then again, every one knows I am a nutcase and that i have a thing about dirty bathrooms (dirty meaning, have not been cleaned by me :)

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