Thursday, March 15, 2012

relaxed housewife: bathroom tips

Mom always taught us to be neat.  And I have one sister who is an immaculate housekeeper like mom was.  The other sister is pretty close to that.  Me...well I failed at housekeeping.  Epic fail.  I managed it when the kids were small and crawling in the floor, because I didn't want to clean dirt off the kids.  I figured it was easier to run a mop two or three times a day than try to scrub a squirming kid that often.  It was a downward slide after that.  As the kids got older, mom's standards slipped.  Because I was just too lazy to clean.  It wasn't like it would stay clean, after all.

Mom also taught us proper etiquette.  Especially when we visited someone else.  I think she must have learned it from her Mom, because Grandma and Grandpa came to visit me after I was married and had kids.  The day they left to drive home, I discovered Grandma had stripped their bed and put the sheets in the laundry.  I really wasn't too surprised by that.  She was Mom's Mom after all, the person who taught the person who taught me all about cleaning.

Mom being Mom, she was thorough in her teaching.  First she taught us what it takes to keep a bathroom clean.  That ended up being my job when we were kids.  Vix got the rest of the house, but my job was to clean the bathroom.  It had to pass inspection too, and Mom was not easy on me.  I had to be able to see my reflection in the porcelain of the sinks, and the toilet too.

After I mastered that, she taught me how to use a guest bathroom.  It amounted to being stealthy, like a thief.  I figured out pretty quick that the goal of using a guest bathroom was to make the host/hostess think I had been in there but never used it.

It wasn't easy at first, and took lots of practice.  I am so good at it now, that I even feel compelled to wipe up those lakes of water on the counters around sinks in public bathrooms.  Airports, movie theaters, restaurants.  When I leave the bathroom, it looks sharp.

Here are my top ten tips on using a guest bathroom:
1. Leave the toilet lid down when you leave the bathroom.  This one is a no-brainer, but there are an amazing number of people who think that toilets lids belong upright.  This is important to remember, especially if the toilet lid has a cover with a clever saying or design on it.  If the owner wanted the lid up, they wouldn't put art on the lid.  This will actually be the last thing you do, but I listed it first because of its importance.  It is the single most visible failure a bathroom guest can make.
2. Soap. This one is tricky, because many people don't use bar soap anymore.  If they have it in the bathroom, before you use it, look around and see if there is a soap dispenser in the bathroom.  If there is, don't touch the soap, it is for display only.  It's fake soap.  By this I mean the hostess wants you to see the soap, but not actually touch it.  It is decorative soap.
3. If you use the soap by accident, use a bit of toilet paper to dry off the soap.  This means the lid should be up on the toilet, because you don't want to touch the fancy lid cover with wet hands.  Dry the soap, making sure you don't rub it.  There is usually some kind of design on the soap, and if you rub it off, the hostess will know you touched her display-only soap.
4. Dry your hands.  If you use the towel, you can smooth is between your hands after you use it so there won't be any wrinkles in it.  I have gotten so good at this one, that I can use a towel on the rack without putting a wrinkle in it, or having to refold and rehang it.
5. If the towel is too far and you drip water getting to it, grab some toilet paper and wipe the drips up.  Again the toilet lid should still be up at this point.
6.  Check around the sink.  Any drips?  Toilet paper, lid up, paper in toilet.
7.  If you are lucky enough to be an overnight guest,
and use the shower, make sure you bring your own shampoo and body wash.  If you forget, and have to steal a bit from the hostess, add a little water back into the bottle.  They'll never know it was used.
8. If there is soap in the shower, it is ok to use.  Soap left there is usually not the fancy kind left for display.  Just be sure you don't leave any body hair on the soap.  Gross, and sure to get you off the invite-to-visit list.
9. Speaking of hair, don't leave hair of indeterminate origin in the shower or sink.  Treat it like a crime scene, and get every last strand up.  The host/hostess may like you, but it doesn't mean they like you enough to clean up your body hair.
10. If you use their toothpaste, be sure you squeeze it the way they do.  If they are top rollers, then roll the tube down.  Those types are OCD, and if you squeeze it in the middle, there is a good chance you won't be invited back.

Take one last look around before you leave the bathroom for anything left out of place.  When you go out the door, the bathroom should look the same way it did when you walked in.  Unused.

And don't forget to put the toilet lid down.

~cath xo
Twitter @jonesbabie
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