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bezdomnaya's avatar

How do I tell my roommate that her room smells?

Asked by bezdomnaya (1435points) May 12th, 2010

I live in an apartment with two other girls. One of the girls (the one who has lived in the apartment the longest) does not clean. The other roommate and I have accepted this fact and don’t mind as long as she doesn’t make it too much dirtier.

The problem is that she doesn’t clean her room, and it stinks to high heaven. I went in there today to feed her cat and I had to hold my shirt over my nose, it was so bad. I don’t even know what the origin of the smell is (dirty laundry? cat litter? rotting food? all of the above?).

So, how do I go about showing/telling/hinting to her that her room smells really really bad?

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29 Answers

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

Buy her a can of febreeze, possibly? Or even better, buy a can for you and each room mate.. so that she doesn’t feel singled out… maybe a gesture like that will be all it takes to encourage her to improve the odor in her space.

jazmina88's avatar

get some febreze..leave it outside her door

dpworkin's avatar

Just say it. She probably knows, but she may not realize it impinges on your freedom to enjoy your habitat.

CMaz's avatar


john65pennington's avatar

Buy a big bottle of Febreeze and lay it on her pillow.

Seaofclouds's avatar

Just say it. Honestly, she might not realize how bad it is because she is use to the smell (like some people with pets don’t really smell their pets anymore).

Honestly, if you are all on the lease, you can all be held responsible for the condition of her room if an inspection were done. If that was someone I was sharing responsibility with, I’d tell them flat out that their room stinks and they need to do something about it.

EmpressPixie's avatar

Giving her a thing of Febreeze—or any other cleaning supply—is passive aggressive. It will just strain or worsen your relationship with this young woman. You should just calmly mention it to her. Be honest and upfront. She probably already knows the room smells horrible. Play good cop, bad cop a little—tell her the room smells terrible and that you’d like for her to fix that, but offer to help her get it into shape and find the problem. You might have to sacrifice a few hours to her room, but it will save you heartache, nosebleeds, vomiting, and money in the long run.

bezdomnaya's avatar

Her room is beyond the help of Febreze (I know, I spray it in there when she’s gone). I guess I would have thought that with the massive cleaning the other roommate and I did outside of her room, she would at least get the hint and clean hers. Three months later and nothing doing.

I know we should talk to her about it, but she’s so nice otherwise, I don’t want to hurt her feelings.

EmpressPixie's avatar

@bezdomnaya I’ve been through this with a roommate—she was a doll, but the room stank to high heavens. When I finally got the guts to talk to her about it (which took way longer than it should have), she already knew about the problem, but didn’t know how to fix it. In the end, the talk wasn’t nearly as horrible as I thought it would be—she was still a doll, even about that. If she doesn’t know the room smells, she might be embarrassed when you mention it, but her feelings won’t be hurt. If she does know, then finding out that it also bothers you and your other housemate is important. Just be nice about it—it doesn’t have to be a huge thing.

dpworkin's avatar

This has become a health and safety issue. If her feelings must be hurt, so be it.

cookieman's avatar

“Your room smells very badly and could possible be a health hazard. Clean it or get it cleaned or we’ll be looking for a new roommate/place to live.”

Direct is the way to go. If she’s your friend (more than a roommate), you add, “We love you but…” to the beginning.

nailpolishfanatic's avatar

Just tell it to her face!!! and let me know how it went.

p.s. If she gets annoyed she’ll just be like that for a some little time because the truth hurts

skfinkel's avatar

Fabreze or whatever just covers over the problem—which does sound bad. I think this sounds like a time for truth telling. If she wants to ever have a relationship, or other roommates, you will help her (obviously she didn’t get this message from home). I think you have to tell her that her room smells, and it is seeping out. If you can do it with humor, so much the better. But do it.

Silhouette's avatar

“Your room stinks so bad the cops came by today to search for the dead body, please clean it up.” Don’t hint, say it like you mean it or forever hold your peace and your nose.

Rufus_T_Firefly's avatar

Ask her if she’s started collecting rotting corpses.

janbb's avatar

Yeah – it’s really one of these situations where you just have to suck it up and tell her straight out. You should not have to live with this. Either she has to keep it cleaner or she has to go.

Lightlyseared's avatar

“Hi, Sweetie. Your room smells. Please can you sort it out.”

charlie_salazar's avatar

Did you feed her cat of your own volition or did she ask you? If she asked you, she is making the bad smell your problem whereas if she didn’t ask you to feed her cat she could argue that it’s none of your business (although I sure she is nicer than that) and you shouldn’t go in her room. Maybe offer that while you were in her room you noticed a bad smell and has she noticed it? To avoid embarrasment suggest it may be coming from outside and you could call the landlord. That might be enough to notify her that it’s causing an issue for you.

lilikoi's avatar

Honestly, if she refused to do her share of the cleaning, I would not even bother going out of my way to spare her feelings. You need to be direct. She has already gotten away with too much!! I’d probably say something like

“Your room smells like death. Be an adult and clean it up.”

If that doesn’t work, get a better roommate or threaten to take pictures of it and send them to her employer.

Val123's avatar

Bettin she has some mental issues…

perspicacious's avatar

If you are old enough to be living on your own, it seems you should have no trouble saying “your room smells awful; please clean up in there.”

ItalianPrincess1217's avatar

Be honest, direct, and polite. Just casually walk in her room one day while she’s in there, make a funny face and say, “Ohhh my, something stinks in here. Want me to help clean up with you and find where that smell is coming from?” It’s as simple as that.

FutureMemory's avatar

I would be very casual about it. The next time I went into her room to talk to her, I would out of the blue say “Damn, what’s that smell? You got some moldy dishes in here or what?” That way it’s not an obvious we need to talk about your problem moment that would be highly embarrassing for her. If that didn’t work I’d say “Your room smells bad…is your nose broken or something? Poor kitty has to breathe this foul air :( ”.

I’m not very subtle in real life.

JeffVader's avatar

With something like this Id just come out & say it!

Val123's avatar

@JeffVader You need to take a bath!!

Jabe73's avatar

Start walking around the room when she’s there with a closepin on your nose, extreme kind of and painful but she will get the hint. LOL

JeffVader's avatar

@Val123 Hahahaha….. well, I cant be expected to wash my helmet every day ;)

Response moderated (Writing Standards)
xjustxxclaudiax's avatar

@Jabe73 That seriously cracked me up, almost dropped my laptop hahahahahah I’d so do the clothespin trick! It’d be really hard to be serious for either of you after that!

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