How to deal with a grubby flatmate

Flatmates Team


Whether it’s the perpetual load of dishes in the sink, empty toilet rolls left on the holder or that thick layer of dust making its way under their bedroom door, you’ll know pretty quickly if you have a grubby flatmate in your midst.


Despite your hopes that one day they’ll notice your sighs or the amount of cleaning you do, they probably won’t. God forbid do not resort to leaving pass-ag notes about the mess around the place. The only way to tackle the issue is head on. and don’t worry, you’re not alone, [45% of our members say that messy flatmates are the worst thing about living in a share house]9{:target=”_blank”}.

Don’t despair, here are our tips for dealing with a grubby flatmate.

Face the beast head on

Casually talk to your flatmate about the mess. In many cases the flatmate in question won’t know their behaviours are affecting you or the other flatmates. Communication is the key and talking about issues is the best way to sort out any qualms.


Remember to stay calm, keep the conversation about the behaviour rather than the person, don’t make it a personal attack. Simply highlighting their behaviour might bring on the change you’re hoping for.

Put it on the roster

If your flatmate isn’t getting the idea of communal cleaning or simply cleaning up after themselves, try bringing in a cleaning roster. Chores can be divided up by rotating the separate jobs each week or each flatmate can do all of the chores in one week, and then you will only have to clean once a month (or once every 3 weeks, depending on how many flatmate you have to share the jobs).


If your grubby flatmate is happy doing one chore, say, taking the bins out, you could even split your roster by chores and you just do the same chore each week. Chat it out and see what works best for your house. If you need some help on how to actually clean the house, check out our guide here.

Bring in the referee

If the first step gets heated or your flatmate refuses to accept their dirty habits, bring in a third party. Remember to keep your referee neutral, if the direct approach didn’t go so well, two people bringing up the annoyance wont go much better.


The referee should help you and the flatmate find some common ground and should step in if either flatmate becomes argumentative or unreasonable.

Get a cleaner

You love your flatmate and have come to terms with the fact that they will never change or their change has been marginal at best. It might be time to look into a cleaner. Split between you and your flatmates, a fortnightly professional clean isn’t too expensive and would even do away with your roster for cleaning communal areas (lets face it, you do most of this anyway).


There’s plenty of great cleaning services available, or you can head to some of our fave sharing economy sites such as Airtasker, OneFlare and HiPages to find someone for the job.

Remember that cleaners are there to do your regular cleaning jobs, such as scrubbing the shower, vacuuming and mopping, dusting etc but this is all to an extent. They’re not there to do all of your dirty dishes and pick your dirty clothes off the floor.

Time to move on (Last resort)

Living in a share house is all about cooperation, communication and ensuring everyone feels at home. Despite how cautious you were when selecting your flatmate or flatshare, it won’t always work. It’s important to recognise when it’s time to move on or have a frank conversation with the flatmate about going your separate ways. Remember to check your states legislation about your responsibilities and rights when ending an agreement.


Don’t stress if it does come to this, there are plenty of other flatmates out there looking for a clean and friendly home.


Flatmates Team