Do you let contractors use your bathroom?

Use Angie's List to research a company and its reputation before hiring a contractor. (Photo courtesy of Susan M.)

Use Angie's List to research a company and its reputation before hiring a contractor. (Photo courtesy of Susan M.)

Before Beverly Summers had a salesman come over to give her an estimate on granite countertops, she never thought twice about letting a contractor use her bathroom.

But she found it odd when a Sears Home Improvement Products representative asked to use the facilities twice in an hour. She says she later discovered the OxyContin prescribed for her recent back surgery was missing from a vanity drawer.

"I canceled the contract," says the Stanwood, Wash., member. "I didn't want to purchase anything from someone who was unethical." Kimberly Freely, a spokeswoman for Sears, says their investigation of the incident was inconclusive and the representative is in good standing.

Summers says she's now more wary about having contractors use her restroom, though she'd never make it off-limits.

"I just am not the type of person who could deny someone the use of the bathroom," she says. Now she checks the drawers and removes personal items beforehand.

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The question of whether to allow a contractor use of your bathroom is one that evokes strident opinions on all sides of the debate, though more than half of Angie's List members who responded to an online poll say they're comfortable with the practice and 36 percent say they're comfortable with it in some situations.

'Everyone has to go'

Susan Jerman of Denver says when she had about eight workers redoing her siding and a patio, a portable toilet just showed up with the dumpster. However, before later jobs that included kitchen and bath remodels, replacement windows and hardwood floor installation, she offered the use of her downstairs powder room to avoid any awkwardness.

"I've always offered it upfront," she says, adding that she's careful to hire contractors she's comfortable having in her house. "Everyone has to go to the bathroom."

Peggy Post of the Emily Post Institute, an organization dedicated to questions of etiquette, says it's best to form a plan in advance.

"There is no one-size-fits-all answer, as long as you are respectful," says Post, who is related by marriage to a descendent of American etiquette icon Emily Post. "I would recommend trying to accommodate the person who's working in your home."

She says it's perfectly acceptable to offer a powder room, provide paper towels or make other special accommodations.

"Prior to contractors coming to the house, I clean the bathroom that they're going to be using," says member Jennifer Hendrix, who's had contractors in and out of her new house in Fountain, Colo. "I make sure there's nothing of value in there, that there's no medication. I even remove the toothbrushes for my own peace of mind."

Fifty percent of members who responded to an Angie's List poll extend the courtesy of using all bathrooms and 27 percent offer up the guest bathroom. Many members said that if you're uncomfortable with workers using your bathroom, you've hired the wrong contractor. Further, many commented that you should treat them as any other guest.

Views vary across the board

Tricia Tahara-Stoller says she always offers workers the use of her bathroom and the freedom to grab cold drinks from the fridge in her Glendale, Calif., home.

"Something as simple as allowing or not allowing a contractor to use your bathroom can send a very strong message about how you perceive them," Tahara-Stoller says. "When people feel respected as human beings, you get a much better result than when they feel treated as untrustworthy."

Some members who responded to our poll were surprised anyone would be uncomfortable having a contractor use their restroom.

"Really? This seems like a no-brainer. I wouldn't hesitate to let someone use my restroom," remarks one respondent. Others say extending the invitation is insurance against having your bushes "watered." Some just wish their guests would be a little more considerate with how they leave the facilities.

"I had a carpet cleaner ask to use the bathroom, then left a disgusting mess in the toilet and didn't bother to tell us about it," another respondent wrote.

When member Michelle Lay discovered a drywall contractor had left the seat up in the bathroom of her Glendale, Wis., home, it was the last straw for an otherwise unsatisfactory experience. "It just shocked me," she says. "My son doesn't even do that when he comes to visit."

Overwhelmingly, members acknowledged there's not much you can do when nature calls, even when they're not wild about having contractors in their most private domain. A mere 9 percent of those who responded to our online poll say they are not comfortable with a contractor using their facilities at all and 7 percent say they never allow it. No one with those views responded to interview requests.

Contractors' opinions

Dan Cox of AHS Plumbing & Sewer Repair in Wheeling, Ill., says denying someone use of the bathroom sends the message you think they're inferior. "If you trust them to work in your home, you should trust them in your bathroom," Cox says.

If someone denied him the opportunity to relieve himself? "I'd get my tools and leave," he says. "I would say, 'I'm sorry but I don't think this is going to work out, consider our contract canceled.'"

But 25 percent of contractors who responded to an online poll of service companies rated on Angie's List say they don't believe customers are obligated to offer the use of their potties.

David Webber, who owns David's Home Cleaning in Raleigh, N.C., says he would never think of using a client's bathroom except in a dire emergency, even though he can sometimes be on a job for eight hours.

"It's like a personal, private space," Webber says.

On long jobs, he'll take a break to use a restroom off-site.

Kristopher Toth, owner of Toth Painting Solutions in Parma, Ohio, says he doesn't expect to use his clients' bathrooms.

"I think it's a courtesy; I don't think we can just assume we can use their bathroom," Toth says.

He and his six full-time employees usually go to a nearby fast food restaurant to relieve themselves, but if a client who lives in a secluded area offers the use of the facilities, they'll accept to save time on the job.

"But we'll definitely make sure that at the end of the day it's tidy," he says. "We don't want to add more stress for them."

Some contractors report taking off shoes when entering a client's home to use the bathroom or bringing paper towels to use in place of hand towels. About 53 percent of service providers who responded to the poll say the situation or type of job — for example, interior or exterior or small versus large — should determine whether customers are expected to provide access to their bathrooms.

Remodeler Russell Parks says sometimes it's just not feasible to use a client's facilities, such as on some exterior projects or on especially dirty jobs. Last year, the owner of A-Carpenter in Seattle began renting a portable toilet for jobs that take more than a week.

"It's not that much money and it's a little more professional," Parks says, adding that a portable toilet only sets him back about $150 a month.

Etiquette expert Post says no matter how you resolve the situation of where your contractor does his or her business, a little common sense, decency and kindness will go a long way.

"You want to handle the situation as respectfully and considerately as possible," she says. "People have human needs — this is life.


I never used to give this a second thought, but I have had a few awful experiences with men I've hired as contractors making a horrible, foul mess that really was avoidable on their parts - one was a mover, another pest control, and another a flooring contractor. They could have taken some measures to clean up after themselves or even gone to use the facilities somewhere nearby. I don't live a remote area, there are stores and restaurants right across the street. I have a small home and when someone uses the facilities, it's not difficult to tell, even with the vent fan on and some air freshener. The worst was when I left the house for a few minutes to run an errand and when I returned, the contractor had gone to my upstairs (NOT the guest) bathroom to do his business and really fouled it up. I had to flush at least five times to clean it up and scrub as well, it was everywhere. I recently had someone come to my house to give me an estimate - I didn't yet know or trust him. He really should have taken time to relieve himself before he got here. A quick visit is fine, but after he was in the bathroom for about 10 minutes, I became disgusted. Then he came out after spraying air freshener. We were looking at the area right outside the bathroom for the estimate, so we had to smell his stuff - maybe this was the point for him. He grossed me out and no, I won't be hiring him.

Very interesting because this is my pet peeve. And only men do this, by the way. Guy comes in to do an estimate and asks to use the bathroom. Sure. He will make his mark on my home in the most unsanitary manner. I have an exhaust fan and three cans of room spray, nothing is ever used, including the sink. Number one is not the issue, it is always number two, it must be some ancient marking gene that kicks in. Home Depot does not allow their craftspeople to use customer bathrooms as I was told when they did my roof and were here for hours and I offered my bathroom. That is respecting my privacy and my home. I do not run a public rest room and it makes me feel degraded that this is even an issue because they know I can't say no if asked. To all the folks who think this is elitist or just plain wrong: How many times did any of us do business in stores clearly marked "No Facilities" and took no offense?

Your home is the contractor's place of work for the day. How would you like to go to work and find out you couldn't use the restroom or if allowed it would be frowned upon? Or how about have to leave your place of work to find a bathroom and your place of employment docks your pay for the time you are gone. This is how it works for contractors, time is money, so time off the job is loss of pay.

people use public restrooms with much caution. But how many ever think about using a public telephone? The mouthpiece is close to your mouth, face, ear, chin, etc. Watch people with the hand peace next to their mouth and supported by their shoulder. Yuck.

I have traditionally let contractors use my powder room; however, I must say sometimes I've regreted it. Some of them have been very unsanitary, as in not washing their hands after relieving themselves. Yuk!!

Four times I have had people working in my home who decided that it was perfectly OK to wait to have their morning 'dump' ( for want of a better word) until they came to my home. I understand that men sometimes need to urinate and, even though I am somewhat uncomfortable with it, since these people are unknown to me and not my 'guests' I usually allow them to use our pool bath, which is just off the family room. However, each time I say 'yes' when they ask, they go inside turn on the fan and proceed to use my toilet to defecate, leaving the bathroom stinky and disgusting. Today, i was having my master bathroom suite granite counters installed. Two of the men are regulars here. They are nice young men and never take liberties. The third however, asked to use the bathroom. I reluctantly said 'yes' assuming that it was just to urinate. He proceeded to use the toilet right there in the room where the others were working, in my master suite. There was no toilet tissue there, so God only knows what he used, and the water to the sinks was turned off, because there are no faucets installed yet. I was furious. Up until today I had kept a still tongue, but today I had had enough and let this guy have it full blast. The other two men said that they were not supposed to ask the client, as it was the company's policy. They were embarrassed, by their co worker, but I told them that I was not angry with them and that I was pleased with their work. I did not want the other man to continue working in there as he had not washed his hands and I was angry with him, anyway. We all have principles and I am amazed at how many liberties some people take when working in private homes. I am paying a lot of money to have this job done, and I feel that this man, and those before him, should be more respectful when they are in peoples' homes

You HAVE to let them use it, or at least offer. It benefits you also. Then again, I have an all-tile half-bath just inside the back door so tracking in dirt is not a big deal. There is nothing in it like medicine. I just put in liquid soap, paper towels and Lysol. I also feed them lunch and in the morning, I have muffins and coffee or something out there, cold drinks on hot days, etc.

I am a contractor, and for ALL the reasons above, I never use, or allow my employees to use a customer's facilities, even when invited to do so. It puts my customer's privacy at risk, as well as my employees' and my own reputation. Any contractor who takes this risk might cut other corners as well... it's not that big a deal to rent a toilet and place it int the customer's back yard. They usually cost my company about $75 per month and are well worth it.

Most of the work we have done is external these days, and we can't let contractors use the bathroom when we aren't there because we have four dogs and they would most likely (hopefully, actually) bite anyone who tried to enter the house in our absence. We explain that up front. If it's work inside the house the dogs are confined or boarded, if it's a project that will take many days. If it's a contractor we know and trust, we leave them alone in the house. If it's a repair or a contractor we don't know, someone stays at home while they are there. I

I don't think I would just because you never know what someone is really like. I have heard of people installing microscopic cameras in people's bathrooms. It only takes a minute to do and surprise you are on the internet. I live near several fast food restaurants. They can go there. Fortunately, I have never had one ask to use it. And as far as the comment if you trust someone enough to do work in your home you should trust them in your bathroom, sometimes you don't find out what they are really like until they start the job. I try to use local people, but got burned on my electrical work. He started the job and told me that I didn't need to babysit him. I should have thrown him out, but I had to get the 220 run for the new water heater being installed that day by someone else so I was stuck. Then after he left I found out that the electrical was not working in one of my rooms upstairs. It was working fine in the morning. I called him and asked if maybe something got bumped or disconnected when running the new wiring in the box. He was very rude and said he doubted it, but that he would come over and check it but would have to charge me a service call if it wasn't something he did. Well, I saw what I was being set up for. He would never admit it. He said he would call me when he got back from his latest job. It's been 2 months now. Now I have to find someone new because I don't trust him. So everyone is not always as they seem.

It is extremely unprofessional for a contractor to use your private facilities. It should be spelled out in your contract that they provide a portable toilet along with a construction dumpster, drop cloths to protect your property and daily cleanup at the end of the workday. There is a tried and true rule in the construction business "if its not in writing it was never said", that's why it is referred to as contracting. I am a project manager for a large construction management company.

I keep my medications in my desk drawer, which can be locked when I'm not around. If I don't like the way a contractor deals with me or if they look shady, they don't come in my house much less use the bathroom. I check for licensing, insurance, bonding, etc. The ones I have hired have all been welcomed to use my bathroom and I've found them very respectful and considerate. Respect is a two-way street and I rarely have problems with contractors disrespecting me.

I always let contractors use my restroom. Small town so long way to go for a public one. However, I always prep in advance and remove all meds and stuff etc. My recent painters refused to come inside and made trips to the closest public one. Now I understand why. Getting accused of anything missing.

It's quite amazing how human beings are so afraid of each other. Web sites like this probably do nothing but make the situation worse, as people come to rant disproportionately about bad experiences which stick in our minds longer than good ones, despite their relative infrequency. "I remember a remodel we worked on that when the homeowner found that a worker had used one of the bathrooms ordered the toilet to be removed and a new one installed." That is absolutely insane, and that homeowner has serious psychological issues that are out of the ordinary. I guess this is why these services are getting so expensive, people are so afraid of each other they won't even let others use a toilet. I've already seen lawn care services towing porta-potties on their trailers. Everyone is different but there's one uniting feature of all human beings: going to the bathroom.

We have a bathroom that is accessible from the garage without having to go through the house. I would let a contractor use that bathroom without any problem whether they are working outside or inside. Also our guest bath inside does not contain any private products or medicines and we don't care who uses that. When we built our house the contractors had a portable outhouse outside because they didn't have one available inside. We also are located about two blocks from a large gas station and some fast food restaurants if they wanted to go there. When building, we provided pop and water in a cooler on ice each day for all the contractors and subcontractors and occasionally bought donuts. It might have cost us about $100-$150 throughout the construction process and we did it so they would be comfortable at work. The side effect from doing that small kindness was they did little extras for us at no charge, some without us even knowing until they showed us.

any one contracting can request that a portable toilet be included in the contract. a subcontractor myself, almost all the sites i am on include such a toilet which is provided by the general contractor. no thoughtful contractor would deny a request for one. after all, the client pays for it and it is only a phone call away. on small jobs by myself, clients often allow the use of a bathroom. i keep toilet paper and paper towels in my truck to ensure that the situation does not become a burden for my clients. yes, i do my best to leave the bathroom in the condition it was in before i used it.

I can't believe that so many people are so worried about the use of a restroom. How would you feel if your employer did not provide a restroom for you. A contractor is no different than those of you white collars that sit at a desk. Everyone has needs and you as an employer should be willing to provide for those needs just as your employer does for you.

Thereis a difference in using a bathroom at your place of employment and a bathroom in someone's private home.

No...there is no difference. The home is the contractor's place of work. I also find it extremely hypocritical of anyone that would deny a worker the use of a restroom but thinks it is perfectly ok for that same worker to go use the restroom of a business that the worker had no plans to patronize but was forced to because their employer (you the homeowner) for the day wouldn't let them use theirs.

Actually, you should not keep your medicines in the cabinet of a full bath, as the heat and humidity are bad for drugs.

We live in the country and have installed an outside "facility" (matching our country landscaping) for use by contractors and ourselves when working outdoors. Wish I could attach a photo of the "outhouse".

I can't believe how uptight so many of you people are. Its clear that some of you think you are better than people who do construction. I mean seriously? One guy (and a salesman no less) steals some oxycontin and now all contractors are oxcontin addicted dirtbags unworthy of your bathrooms? As a contractor I find the mentality of many poeple posting about "bringing dirt" in the house and eliminating construction people from consideration of use of the bathroom both insulting and comical at the same time. If you are that much of a prude, go ahead and rent a porta potty while you are doing construction work or better yet, hire a more expensive and more considerate contractor. The woman in this article apparently shops for construction services at Sears and then lumps up all Contractors into that experience. You should be ashamed of yourselves, these are not animals, they are human beings, and many of them are far better and more well mannered than most of you.

I am appalled that a stranger sat on my private toilet in my master suite to defecate. He should have done that in hisown home before leaving, or took his truck and visited the public toilet at the gas station. I shouldn't ha e to clean up after a stranger in my own home, especially when I am paying the company he works for thousands of dollars.

I used to work 12 to 18 hours a day sometimes more in extreme weather repairing air conditioning. seldom stopping to eat or anything. Once about 8:00 pm after a particularly stressful day and driving back and forth across 3 counties I arrived and after finding that I would be able to fix the homeowners AC quickly and relieve their suffering in 100+ temp I ask if I could use their toilet. She smiled and told me that they didn't allow contractors to use their bathroom, I smiled back and said OK and left.

You shouldn't keep your oxycontin in a bathroom vanity drawer, these types of drugs should be kept in a secure place!

Whatever you keep in your own bathroom drawer in your own home should be considered a safe place

Yes ~ I always make the bathroom available, and I offer coffee, bottled water, and usually provide something to eat, especially if it's a long job. I will say that it is rare that contractors take me up on the offer. Most bring their own food and beverages, or they'll take a break in the middle of the day to grab something to eat at a nearby fast food place. Further, I've been very fortunate to have contractors who are very clean and conscientious ~ wiping their shoes at the door on snowy days, etc.

I'm a contractor and this is the first I've heard of such a story but I guess any thing is possible, and just because they are from a dominate outfit it doesn't mean you are receiving the best work possible.. I'm a small Contractor and my advise is to seek out the smaller guy because he is small for a reason, and the is he takes pride in his work ethics.. Of course recommendations is a plus to find the right one..

In 2001, I worked for a landscaper. NONE of our clients invited us in to use the head. We always used the facilities at restaurants and filling stations. We never asked to use the facilities inside the homes. I decided since then that I will work in a field of business and with only those customers who invite me in to use the indoor plumbing. I do not need to mess around with those who do not trust me in the rest room but trust me to do good job for them!

Seriously? Consider contractors under the same rule as "you don't mess with people that handle your food." There are plenty of little mistakes and goof-ups and happen in a contractors line of work. These things can be fixed professionally, or they can just be covered up for you to discover a couple years down the road. You decide.

I am sorry but some of the proeprty owners are very naive. I used to work as a contractor and UPS delivery man. I never used my customer's home regardless of how remote it was, especially when we were doing dirty work outside. I had a porta potti in my truck for my workers, or rented a full size portable toilet for longer job. Most of the contractors are professionals but some of the workers they hired off the street were not. They might not even be legals. Yes, they are inferior than us with different custom. Do not rust them to use your bathrrom, they may go elsewhere in your home unless you are watching them.

First thing you should first look at the source of this article, they don't give people any common sense as to who they should allow into there homes or bussiness or who they shouldn"t, they should be used maybe as a tool but i give there reviews a 40/60% truth value, don't take the source of this article as "THE LAW" as JUDGE DRED would say.

Seems arrogant and lazy on the contractors part to not bring a porta potty for large crews or jobs.

It's unfortunate, but after numeous expensive "female problem" plumbing issues and catching one patron shooting up ( that's not insulin there friend..if it was why are there 5 burnt matches on the floor) in my restroom, I no longer allow anybody to use the shop restroom. I rented a porta potty and increased my labor rate to cover the expense. People would pull off the highway, fein some interest in a boat and then ask to use the restroom..and then want to drag the three kids with them! My "sorry, no public restroom" sign was copied by a half dozen other businesses in town. Sorry if you disgaree, but after the drug use incident I can't accept the libaility of having total strangers come in off the street and want to use the facilities. Myabe a different story if you have contractors you actually trust. I'd suggest for a long job, just rent them a potta john, trust works wonders and shows them you care. A couple of cases of bottleed water in a cooler eliminates the other problem, but experienced contractors carry such things on thier trucks.

I don't like contractors using my bathroom for various dirty reasons I won't list, if you can take the hint. This opinion was reinforced when I had a contractor tell me that he's PROUD that he no longer goes through the medicine cabinets of his clients!!!!! Needless to say that, among other comments, caused me to let him go.

Of course I "let" contractors use my bathrooms!! They're at my house for the day and they're human beings who have the same digestive systems we all have. I always have bottled water available for them, and when they're at my home for 4 or 5 hours, I usually provide them a meal. I'm no "Christian," I'm a card-carrying atheist, and I recognize that we all are in this life together, and deserve to be treated with consideration and dignity.

I am Home Building Specialists and room addition and 2nd story builder based in the SOCAL are for over 30 years. Our jobs generally take over a week so we have a port-a-potti dropped to the job site. If it is a small job I instruct my guys to find one down the street. I feel this is a much more professional approach to this issue. The slight cost prevents issues with customer and crew. Plus we dont play loud or offensive music on the job site. We always have a crew member who speaks English, we do not leave lunch trash on the job site or do we drink or smoke on the job-site as well. The customer comes first the our professionalism

Professional contractors will always make plans to use outside facilities and will not need to use your bathroom. It could be a nearby public toilet or they can make arrangements for a porta potty onsite. Here are the reasons you should not let people you do not know (even if they seem nice) your bathroom. A lot of these things are far fetched but they all do happen. You can not tell who would do these things by looking at them. One worker excuses himself to use the bathroom while another worker keeps you occupied. The worker cases out your house for things to steal, either now or later. If they are alone inside, they look for things to steal throughout the entire house. When alone in the bathroom, they look for things to steal, such as medication. For some reason some people will do disgusting things to your toothbrush, knowing you will put it in your mouth later. For example, if you are an attractive woman, the worker may rub your toothbrush on his privates (yes this really happens). When alone in the bathroom, they will dig through your dirty laundry from the laundry hamper and steal your dirty socks and underwear (there really are people who do this). They may be messy and leave a mess in the bathroom for you to clean up. I know a lot of these things are gross, but if you don't believe people do these things, just do a quick search online.

Look, as a contractor if I wanted to do these things I could do them wether you allowed me to use your bathroom or not. After all, I Am In Your Home Already. I could rob you blind if I wanted to or worse. Only invite a trusted company into your home. Then trust (but verify) them to do what is right. And let them use the darn restroom when they need too. I wonder how you ever trust anyone to even prepare a meal for you. You seem to have some real issues when it comes to being paranoid. You might want to get help for that.

I was an employee for 25 years and company owner now for 10. I never asked or do I allow my employees to use anyones bathroom. Years ago I had a customer who invited the whole crew in the soda and then later complained about tar on the floors. That's why I don't want anyone on my team to use the customers bathroom. I provide a truck on the job site for any crew member to use when nature calls. Thanks for the great service. John Roussin Asphalt Restoration High Ridge, Missouri

Generally Speaking: Yes. Especially those contractors that are working the better part of the day. I direct them to the half bath at the main entrance. Been burned only once, an appliance repairman from Bray and Scarf left it looking/smelling worse than the worst service station rest room I ever encountered. Otherwise, it has not been a problem.

I can't imagine someone needing to use my bathroom and saying no. That's just rude. Most people would be embarrassed to ask in the first place so no need to embarrass them further. However, I have never had a bad experience allowing this. And if you let them leave the property to go to the nearest store, which is 20 minutes from me, you risk them taking longer to get back and finish the job. Also, I have needed to use a retail establishment's restrooms and have been told "they're out of order" when you know they aren't or "they aren't for public use" or they "don't have one". If I have to go badly, I tell them they just lost my business and go elsewhere. Nothing irritates me more than to be told that. You know darn well their employees don't have to go down the street to the restaurant every time they have to go. That's just plain rude to tell a customer and just plain stupid when the customer has a basketfull of merchandise they intend to purchase!

I've had two bad experiences both ways. I once allowed a contracting company to use my bathroom. They also had access to my garage. One of the workers was drinking the beer out of my outside fridge and leaving the empty bottles in the vanity in the bathroom. After that I did not allow use of my bathroom or my garage (different contractors). And I looked out my window. There was a man urinating on the side of my jaccuzzi (like a male dog). Another was squatting on the side of the house pooping. Not something u would ever expect to see. So I called the manager and reported the issue. They were reprimanded and required to leave the site at designated intervals to use the facilities. What's worse...the squatter later asked me out :(

The responsibility lies with the contractor. We don't allow our guys to use the bathroom even when offered. It is a protection for both parties. We appreciate the homeowners so polite to offer and we completely respect our workers and expect the same respect from homeowners however, we are not guests, we are hired for a service. In our area excusing ourselves to go to a nearby facility is not that inconvenient. Using the yard I'd like to point out is illegal, and yes you should be completely comfortable with your contractor or you have hired wrong but I think part of the comfort level is created by not presuming on our customers hospitality.

Excellent response. I agree 100000%

I would, and have. I've only had one time when it was an issue: a 20-something guy installing carpet near the bathroom made use of it near the end of the day. I didn't have a problem with him using it, but he clogged the toilet with a large #2 and I think was too embarrassed to say anything. Problem is, after he left I had to #2 as well and that was the only toilet in the house so ended up with a double load in the toilet. I know it can be embarrassing, but at least tell the homeowner there is a problem!

I have never thought to offer the use of my bathroom to a contractor. I assumed that they would use it if they needed to. However, one experience actually made me decide to never use a company again. I had a small electrician company come in to install some outlets in my basement. A couple of days after the electrician (the owner of the company!) left, I noticed a Gatorade bottle sitting on top of the air duct vent in my basement. Luckily I noticed it, because it was well out of my normal line of vision. When I got a ladder to get it down, I saw that the yellow liquid inside was NOT Gatorade. Not only had he relieved himself in the bottle, he left it behind for me to deal with, in an area where I might not have seen it for weeks or months! Needless to say, I work with another electrician now.

I had my kitchen, baths, laundry, doors and windows completely replaced/remodel over the past 3 years. Needless to say, I've had a number of contractors in my home. And I have to say I totally agree with the people who are being cautious or feeling uneasy about letting contractors use their bathrooms. Though I agree that we're all human beings and have certain bodily needs - and I would NEVER deny anybody the toilet if they really must go - I would rather much prefer they do it somewhere else when possible. This is because I've had to learn the hard way that not everybody is appreciative or has the decency to clean after themselves. Let me tell you my story. In the beginning, not only provide all the workers with bathroom use and water/sodas, but also pizzas and meals. I even give them menus to choose from! I even make runs to the hardware store for them, even though it was their responsibility to make sure they have all the necessary tools. One of the contractors was actually an elder from my church, so sometimes I even left the house alone to go pick up stuff for him. But I later learned that he was not at all as honest a Christian as I had believed him to be. He would over order, under refund, charge multiple times for the same receipt, and even steal from my home anything from cabinet hardwares to cash gifts belonging to my daughter. Of course, I stopped using him after realizing all that he's done, but it was already too late. God knows what else he took or did while I wasn't around. So for those homeowners who are cautious about their meds and valuables, good for you. And for those who are cautious about cleanliness, good for you too. Like I said, I used to offer my bathroom and fridge to everyone. I often find dirt, mud and even oil on my fridge door once, but I'd always cleaned them up without fuss. However, towards the end of the remodel, the plumber who worked on the sewer pipe in my front yard asked to use the bathroom and then left yellow stinky stuff all over the sink and counters! I wasn't comfortable with the dirt and sewer matters he was dragging in with his shoes, but he had to go, so I let him go. But I at least expected him to have the decency to clean up after himself. Well, I was wrong. I don't know how he washed his hands, but dirt and what seemed like sewage were all over the place. As if he just wet his hands with water and shook them to dry or something. I have a young child and that was the bathroom she was using, so I was very grossed out and upset. I had to dispose of her toothbrush which was near the counter and disinfect the entire space! So yeah, after that, I totally changed my mind and never offered the bathroom to contractors again. If they asked, I'd probably let them since I'm not the type to say no. But I would hope and appreciate it if they don't ask. In fact, we are looking at buying another home, and I am always looking for one with an extra powder room just in case. I'd rather pay a little extra for a "contractor's room" than deal with the headache. That is how traumatized I am.

After reading these comments (and being shocked!) I would like to suggest that homeowners post a letter in the bathroom, requesting that the bathroom be tidied at the end of the day if the workers are using it. Truly, there is no excuse for grown men (presumably) to leave a mess for someone to clean up. Perhaps by making the expectations abundantly clear, they will be motivated to do the right thing?

As a professional Home Health RN for roughly a decade, this is a topic that means a great deal, to me. Generally, Home Health RNs can spent anywhere from 30 minutes to up to 4 hours, in a disabled or ill person's home, providing care for them (drawing blood, changing dressings, taking care of IV administrations, teaching them how to provide tube feedings, changing their urinary catheters, changing ostomy bags, etc.). The work is often physically difficult, tiring, and hot (especially in the summertime, when most people in this area do not have air conditioning). I've had Irritable Bowel Syndrome, since I was in my late teens. That means my need to use a restroom is highly unpredictable and is more likely when I am hot, tired, or under severe stress. Most patient's and/or their caregiver's permit Home Health RN's to use their bathroom facilities, without question. We work around medications all the time, so would be the last people to try to steal them out of anyone's bathroom and would be the first ones to instruct patient's that it is inappropriate to keep medications in bathrooms or kitchens (due to the high humidity levels, in those rooms). I have never gone through the cupboards or drawers, in a patient's bathroom, unless I have caused the toilet to plug up, something that CAN be a problem, with my IBS disorder. It's embarrassing and humiliating to leave a toilet plugged up or, worse, overflowing onto the floor. Unfortunately, not everyone keeps a plunger in their bathrooms, nor does everyone have air freshener or a working fan, in their bathroom(s). I have been forced to stop at Strip Joints, in the middle of the night, because that was the only business open with bathroom facilities. Many patient's home bathrooms are filthy, have no toilet seat, have the door off from the room, or have unflushed toilets (and, quite often have raised toilet seats which are almost impossible for me to use). I've had to clean up after myself before, when I haven't quite made it to the restroom "in time", and I'm certain several patients and/or their caregivers were wondering what was taking me so long in their bathroom. MANY people have digestive and bowel disorders that can make working in different people's homes VERY CHALLENGING. However, it's a reality that many of us are forced to deal with and manage as best we can. Both sides of the situation can be very embarrassing. Making sure their is adequate toilet paper available is, also, another crucial supply, if you're going to offer your restroom for others to use. NO ONE WANTS to have to announce their need to use a stranger's bathroom, but some of us get VERY short notice and, believe me, when I HAVE to go, I will use ANY kind of bathroom facilities, regardless of whether there is a toilet seat, a door to close, soap & towels to wash with (RNs bring their own), or anything else. As embarrassing as it can be to have to ask to use someone's personal bathroom, believe me, it's FAR more embarrassing to not make it to their restroom, in time! :(


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