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How to Deal With Roommates Who Don’t Clean – 5 Efficient Tips

There are many potential problems between roommates, but the situation where one roommate is too messy is the most common.

Whether you live in a dorm or an apartment, whether you’re there to study or work, if you’re lucky enough to run into a slob roommate, it’s literally going to be…messy.

How to deal with a messy roommate? First, the most important thing is to understand the reasons for their behavior and explain that you will not tolerate it, establish an equal share of chores, and set clear boundaries.

roommate who dont clean

Eventually, you can move out and look for a new roommate, but what if your finances don’t allow you that right now. Does that mean you’re doomed to be swallowed by your roommate’s mess?

Don’t worry, this article is the ultimate guide to help you survive a messy roommate and come out unscathed.

What Are The Potential Reasons Why Your Roommate is Messy? 

You made a lot of effort to come to study or work in another city. You can’t commit to it because your roommate makes a literal mess of your living space.

The easiest thing to say about someone is that they are just the way they are. It needs to be explained better for a clearer understanding.

So let’s explain your roommate and potential reasons for their whole slob persona a little better:

1. Poor Hygiene Habits

Hygiene habits are acquired from an early age.

We are referring to personal hygiene, which involves taking regular showers, brushing teeth, and changing clothes. Additionally, we are considering the cleanliness of the living space that you and your roommate share.

Is your roommate someone who leaves dirty piles of laundry behind, a sink full of dishes, and never takes out the trash?

If your roommate has not adopted adequate hygiene habits, it is very likely because their parents did not sufficiently prepare them for life.

However, that should not be their excuse that you have to put up with it.

2. Lack of Awareness

Is it necessary to shower every day and change clothes daily? Most will answer yes, but according to your roommate, there’s no need for that.

If they don’t mind, why would others mind? 

It is quite normal for your roommate to have their room in a complete mess and never tidy it up.

Also, they have no problem being a walking stink bomb because they avoid the shower as much as possible.

Your roommate doesn’t understand the importance of cleanliness. It’s all their choice, not a good one, but theirs.

However, your roommate is unaware that their messy lifestyle endangers others, especially you, who currently live with them.

3. Laziness and Apathy

Your roommate wasn’t always like that. In fact, when you started living together, they seemed normal regarding hygiene habits.

But that has changed drastically over time.

Poor hygiene habits can be a result of laziness. It can be challenging to perform cleaning duties when feeling unmotivated to even get out of bed.

Another reason is apathy. Your roommate might have fallen into a tough mindset when they don’t really care about everything, including hygiene.

This can be affected by disappointments, bad periods in life, as well as mental illnesses.

5 Essential Tips For Surviving a Messy Roommate

We got to know your roommate better, and you probably recognized them for some of the reasons listed above and maybe more.

Dealing with roommate problems can be complicated, but It’s time to address the issue. These 5 tips will help you with that:

1. Express Your Concerns

In addition to the fact that clutter can be annoying, it can be dangerous to your health.

Bacteria and diseases are attracted to the mess, such as dirty dishes, rotting food in the fridge, and undiscarded garbage. This can also attract insects or rodents.

And the mess also terribly affects overall productivity, efficiency, and general mental health.

Your concerns are well justified, and you should tell your roommate.

2. Maintain Clean Shared Space

Keep things separate from the roommate as much as possible.

It’s important to distinguish which area of the living space belongs to you and which belongs to your roommate.

If your roommate’s clutter is sneaking into your space, such as your bedroom or the shared community areas, you have every right to remind them to move their stuff.

It is essential that the shared space is clean and that the roommate respects it.

As for his personal space, you cannot order him to clean his room whenever you want unless in extreme situations involving health issues. 

For example, if your roommate is some hikikomori who never takes the trash out of his room, which also poses a danger to you, you will have to intervene.

3. Be Honest With Your Roommate

We know it’s sometimes embarrassing to tell someone they’re messy or smelly, especially if you’re overly polite.

But do you want to put up with that the whole time you live together? Of course not!

Therefore, politely and respectfully tell your roommate that their lack of hygiene is unacceptable and that they should change that, primarily for their sake but for the sake of others.

Be especially attentive to them if you know they are going through a difficult period and therefore neglected hygiene.

4. Share Cleaning Chores

In addition to being an example to your roommate in terms of hygiene, you will also have to be the one to assign cleaning chores.

You and your roommate can clean your private spaces whenever you want, but you must agree regarding the hygiene of common areas.

Agree on one day a week when you will clean common areas such as the kitchen or bathroom together.

Cleaning duties should be distributed equally so you and your roommate don’t feel taken advantage of.

5. Know Your Limits

You are not obligated to clean up after your roommate or put up with their lack of personal hygiene.

If your roommate decided to be miserable in their mess, that doesn’t mean they have to make you miserable too.

You tried a friendly approach and were understanding, but the situation did not change.

If you’ve exhausted all options for resolving the issue and your living conditions have become unmanageable, it may be necessary to involve your landlord in finding a solution.

Taking All of This Into Account

Living with a roommate means adapting to other people’s habits, but that doesn’t mean you should be threatened by them. 

It is always best to find a constructive solution to a problem for the sake of the common good, but sometimes, unfortunately, this is impossible. 

Always remember that you have the right to live in a clean environment, and you are not obligated to tolerate the poor hygiene habits of others.