10 Ways to protect visitors from bathroom embarrassments

Apr 29, 2015 at 11:00 a.m. ET
Image: Flickr/Rooky Yootz

If you've ever felt uncomfortable using someone else's bathroom, then you can empathize with how your guests might feel when they need to use yours. Ideally, they should be able to go in and take care of the business at hand — without having to ask for supplies or worrying about what they are leaving behind. Here's how to make sure your guests never feel embarrassed about obeying the mandates of nature in your home.

1. Make introductions. As visitors arrive, let them know where the guest bathroom is and to feel free to use it at any time during their visit.

2. Don't skimp on toilet paper. It is critical that your bathroom is well-stocked with T.P. Before guests arrive, put a full roll on the dispenser and display a few more rolls, spa-style, where guests can easily access them — don't hide them in a closet or under the sink.

3. Help out female guests. Set out emergency supplies for the women who stop by. Place tampons and pads in a decorative basket or bin so visitors can quickly find what they need.

4. Help out male guests. Remember that most guys lift the toilet seat, so always make sure the underside of the lid is free of icky stuff.

5. Help out little guests. Consider providing a potty seat or chair, along with a stool that can help children reach the toilet and sink.

6. Add white noise. If your guest bath is within ear's reach of your gathering, then you may want to consider adding something that will help cover up the sounds that sometimes accompany bathroom business. Keep an iPod or CD playing inside (or right outside) the bathroom so guests don't have to worry about being overheard.

7. Prepare for the worst. You may be mortified when a guest clogs your toilet, so you can just imagine how he or she must feel! Keep a clean plunger and toilet brush near the toilet so your visitor can manage the backup or skid marks without having to reveal too much to you.

8. Display odor control options. Candles and room fresheners provide a pleasant welcome to those who enter the bathroom, but they do little more than mask the smells your guests sometimes leave behind. Better to provide solutions that eliminate the smell, such as the strike of a match or a spritz of Poo Pourri (Amazon.com, $25).

9. Provide a trash can. Your houseguests should not have to smuggle out their embarrassing trash. Before visitors arrive, place an empty garbage or grocery bag in your bathroom trash can so guests can easily dispose of undesirables.

10. Make sure the door locks. It's difficult to complete bathroom business when you're not sure you have total privacy. A door that locks is a must-have... but so is a key, just in case someone (your best friend's rambunctious toddler) gets stuck inside.

More houseguest help

7 Steps to get your bathroom party-ready
Make your guest room feel like a hotel suite
Turn a spare bedroom into a guest room

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