post off: do you judge others on the cleanliness of their homes?

We’ve posted before about dirty bathrooms, those nasty enough, in fact, to win prizes for their impressive grimy levels, but now, let’s bring the conversation back to everyday dirt. Life is hectic and time is short, so a little clutter and dirt here and there aren’t game-enders, right? According to a recent survey featured on iVillage, many women feel they outrank their peers when it comes to the cleanliness of their homes and both judge and feel judged themselves on the topic. The survey also found that more than half of all women included have avoided using the bathroom in someone else’s home based on these cleanliness conclusions. So tell me, do you compare your cleaning habits to those of others or notice when their homes are messy? Have you avoided a bathroom on the basis of its perceived cleanliness? – Sarah C.

From our partners

When someone is coming over, I scrub everything, dust every corner, clean out the fridge, clean the windows, etc. Not that my home is normally a pig sty – it is normally clutter free (but maybe a little dusty?) But, I don’t really pay attention to the cleanliness of other peoples homes. Perhaps I care too much about what people think of me?


i have a friend who’s kitchen is _always_ messy, but she’s a doll so i cant hold it against her. the way i figure it, the gesture of being invited into someone’s home is usually selfless, so i try not to look for downfalls.

myself – i always wipe off the bathroom counters and be sure things look tidy in there … it’s the one place in my house that guest will be totally alone and might have more opportunity to notice a little messiness. other than that, i’m just sure no dirty dishes are left out, etc. let’s hope that some good banter and good food will take care of the rest!


I tend to worry about my own house more than anyone else’s. I try to clean before guests come, but when I start getting too stressed about it I try to keep one of my favorite sayings in mind, “If you’re coming to see me, come anytime. If you’re coming to see my house, don’t bother!”

squirrel girl

Sadly, yes, but only if your house is grossly dirty. Bathrooms and kitchens are the places that gross me out the most if they’re really dirty. Martha Stewart standards are unatainable but a reasonable level of clean is expected or your guests may not be comfortable. One of my closest friends constantly has rotting food in the fridge and dirty dishes from days ago on the counter, HUGE dust bunnies throughout. The worst is the cat and dog potty situation. I have a cat too so I understand, but her whole bathroom smells so awful that I have to hold my breath the whole time. I know people are busy, and we’re very personal about our spaces, and we’re a more accepting society than we were decades ago but I think if you are inviting guests into your home, you have a responsibility to tidy up your bathroom and kitchen.

I don’t judge clutter, but I do judge ‘ew’.

I couldn’t care less if you have dust on your lamps, or mail covering the table, or more books and crafting supplies on the couch than seating space.

But if there are week old dishes in the sink, or mold and hair and toothpaste spatters in the bathroom, or sticky places or mysterious smells coming from the couch, I get a little wigged out and unhappy.

Unfortunately, some of my husband’s family tend toward the later. I sympathize, as many of them have to work very hard for long hours to keep afloat, so I can understand how housekeeping falls behind, but there are some kitchens that makes me seriously uncomfortable.


I really prefer living in a clean, uncluttered place. But I also live with three other people, so I have learned to let a lot go.

And it takes a lot before I judge someone’s home as too dirty. But sometimes it happens. I once stayed with a friend whose entire house was quite filthy, but the bathroom! My word, was a hazard! It had black ribbons of mold literally dripping from the ceiling. A toilet that had probably never been cleaned once. The tiles, floor and bath, looked black, but were actually white.

Prior to seeing her bathroom, the worst one I’d ever seen was at a truck stop in Wyoming.

My house is never “dirty” (at least not visibly dirty), but I do worry about the clutter. One my closest friends is almost an OCD neatnik, and I’m usually self-conscious about the state of my house when she pops over.


I think that the bathroom is the room I never want someone to come out of feeling “eww” so when I’m expecting company I always wipe the bathroom down good — at least the bathroom off the kitchen that most people use. I try to keep the clutter to a minimum, but dusting and the rest happens as I have time. I feel the same way about other people’s houses — as long as there isn’t a real “eww” moment of dirt, I’m not bothered. I will say that if a house smells funny….whether of mold, dust or just stale air, it does bother me and I don’t want to spend too much time there. But that is not a problem with most of my family and friends. I try not to stress about the state of my house too much, as I know it will never be perfect and will never all be totally clean at the same time!

Haha, I can’t judge someone else’s messy house when mine is not exactly spotless. A few cobwebs, a little clutter… meh.
Life’s too short to sweat ’em.

However, I ALWAYS make sure the toilet and sink are cleaned every week, and ESPECIALLY when company comes over.

Also, I love Susan’s quote. :o)

I feel a little relieved when other people’s homes are a bit messy! So often you see photos of perfect, spotless, beautiful homes. But with a real life and real projects I just can’t keep up with that! It’s a nice reminder of normalcy when someone’s home is a little cluttered and a little dusty.


I have a couple of friends who didn’t seem to learn the “clean up when you have guests” rule. The only person’s place making me feel uncomfortable, however, is not dirty, but is filled with so much STUFF I can’t find a place to sit down.

@squirrel girl- YES!!! i’m fine with clutter and dirty dishes in the sink- no problem- but the doggie pee pads in the house with turds, etc. on them are so gross. at the (very) least, put down some clean ones when company comes over!


Unfortunately, I’m kind of obsessive compulsive, so yes, cleanliness bothers me. Clutter I can sort of deal with (for short periods of time), but filth: no. I once went to stay at a friend’s house, and she insisted on cooking dinner. Her kitchen was filthy. Not as in “a few dishes in the sink” but as in dirty dishes covering all the counters, two full garbage bags of rotting food, and insects on the countertops.

I paid to take us all out to dinner.

Generally, I keep a clean a house, with things in their place, quickly wiped down once per week, etc… But the bed is NEVER made, and there is almost always a pile of clothes on the floor, waiting to go in the wash. If someone is coming over for the first time, then the clothes go in the hamper and the duvet is pulled up and the euro shams go on the bed, but otherwise… meh.

I dread having my mother-in-law over. She is obsessive about how clean things are. She dusts the pedestals of the toilets in her house daily. She disinfects every sink with chlorox every day. What I’d like to know is??? is that normal? She does that but is a bonafide, could be on the tv show Hoarders. I’ve never measured up for her and frankly could give 2 hoots but does anyone else dust their toilet pedestals (the bottom half under the seat) daily?


Kimberj — I sure as heck hope not!!! I take a swipe at the pedestals when I clean the toilet and that’s it. Please! You do know that hoarding is part of OCD?


I’m considered a clean freak by friends but honestly, do I expect the same level of clean at other people’s homes? Not really. I always tell people that as long as there’s toilet paper and I don’t stick to the floor it’s fine by me! If someone’s house is messy I assume they work a lot or don’t stay home much. I don’t like overflowing trash cans with rotten food, used personal hygiene detritus all over the floor, and really full/smelly cat boxes but I’m not going to complain if its not my house. I’ll just keep my shoes on and go home early. ;-)


“If you’re coming to see me, come anytime. If you’re coming to see my house, don’t bother!”



Kitchen and Bathroom! I expect those to be clean in any persons home especially if I am being INVITED over to eat. Really, I don’t know any woman who would not clean their bathroom and kitchen before they invite guest over. When I invite guest over I make sure everything is clean. Especially the bathroom and kitchen. I know that if I go over someone’s home uninvited that I can expect that everything is not going to be clean. If someone stopped by unexpected right now they wouldn’t find everything clean in my home. (Except that I do keep my guest bathroom clean and I close the door so that no one uses it unless we have guest. That way if someone comes by uninvited I have a clean bathroom.) But no ones house is clean all the time, all week long, all year. So we have to cut people slack. We have to live and living life is messy sometimes. But I am sure that if you are known to be clean when you invited guest over that no one will blame you for a little dust here and there.

shelterrific » Blog Archive » five things we learned last week

[…] 1) When it comes to judging others on cleanliness, you’re fine with some clutter, but try to avoid the “ew” factor. Bathrooms are the red flag room when it comes to judgement, but overall, many of you liked, and try to live by commenter Susan’s saying: “ I tend to worry about my own house more than anyone else’s. I try to clean before guests come, but when I start getting too stressed about it I try to keep one of my favorite sayings in mind, ‘If you’re coming to see me, come anytime. If you’re coming to see my house, don’t bother!’” Do you judge and feel judged on your home’s cleanliness? […]


It depends. A little mess doesn’t bother me, I’m not always the neatest person. But a dirty kitchen/bathroom-gross! I used to babysit for a family that lived in a million dollar home. She didn’t have a job and had a cleaning lady, yet her home was a disaster. The carpets were stained, the kitchen counters were covered with dirty dishes, the sink was filled, the stairs covered in laundry. So yes….I judged her.

shelterrific » Blog Archive » our most commented-on posts of 2010

[…] A few favorites that didn’t quite make the top ten include discussions about whether you judge others on the cleanliness of their homes (yes), traveling to Oahu, shoes on or off in the house, Megan’s audition for Masterchef, […]