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Headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, figures, images, and figure captions can all be styled after a class is added to the rich text element using the "When inside of" nested selector system.

Headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, figures, images, and figure captions can all be styled after a class is added to the rich text element using the "When inside of" nested selector system.

Headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, figures, images, and figure captions can all be styled after a class is added to the rich text element using the "When inside of" nested selector system.

  • after a class is added to the rich text element using the "When inside of" nested selector system.
  • after a class is added to the rich text element using the "When inside of" nested selector system.

Headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, figures, images, and figure captions can all be styled after a class is added to the rich text element using the "When inside of" nested selector system.

If you’re heading off to college for the first time, chances are you’re going to be using a communal bathroom. While we’re sure you’ve used public restrooms before at the movies, sporting events, work, or concerts, you’ve only used their restrooms and sinks.

A communal bathroom is different because this is the bathroom you will also be showering in—and constantly sharing it with the people on your floor all year long! While that may seem a little scary (and perhaps a little gross) at first, we promise—it really isn’t as bad as it seems. Is it an adjustment, yes, but not impossible to get used to. We’ve put together this article to answer all your questions when it comes to communal bathrooms, including:

  • Tips for making the transition as smooth as possible
  • The dos and don’ts of communal bathrooms 
  • Must-have items for communal bathroom living

Making the Transition to Communal Bathrooms

Keep these tips in mind as you make the switch to communal bathroom life 

You’ll have a lot of new experiences at college, including using a communal bathroom. Image courtesy of NYU Local.

While it may not be your idea of the perfect situation, going to college (especially when you’re a freshman) means that you’re probably going to have a communal bathroom. Each residence hall is set up differently, and depending on how your school sets it up will determine how many people will be using your bathroom! While moving into a dorm, starting classes, and making new friends are the best parts of the college experience, you may be wondering if there are any tips to help you with the not so fun part of sharing a bathroom with more people than you’re used to. Keep these in mind and you’ll be fine!

  • Everyone is a little nervous about this too. No matter where you come from or where you’re going to school, chances are not many people are actually familiar with using a communal bathroom. They’ve showered and gotten ready next to their parents and siblings just like you, and probably find the whole thing just as weird as you do. So, remember, you’re all in this together.
  • Don’t worry, you’ll eventually develop a routine. Humans like routines. Whether it’s a morning routine of shower, breakfast, work/school or an evening ritual of preparing for bed, keep in mind that sharing a bathroom will eventually become like second nature. Just like getting used to your classes and professors, learning how to deal with sharing a bathroom with different kinds of people will eventually turn into a routine.
  • Using the bathroom is just a small part of your day! And don’t forget, using a communal bathroom is just a small part of your normal, everyday college experience. You’ll be so busy with classes, projects, sporting events, and hanging out with friends to remember that you also share a bathroom with a lot of other people.

Now that you (hopefully) feel a little bit better about jumping right into a communal college bathroom, here is our list of need-to-know dos and don’ts.

The Top Dos of Communal Bathrooms

Follow these tips and you’ll get used to a communal bathroom in no time!

Follow the rule of keeping it clean and courteous! Image courtesy of St. Paul’s School.

Worried about how exactly to behave with your new bathroom-mates on your floor? Not to worry, it’s really all about being clean and being courteous. Just in case you wanted to make sure you check off all the boxes for communal bathroom living this year, we’ve organized the top dos. Just follow through on these and you’ll be golden! 

Always wear shoes

You’ve probably seen shower shoes listed on everyone’s must-have list for college each year. There’s a reason for that—wearing shoes in a communal bathroom is an absolute must, and this includes in the shower as well! While it may take some time to get used to wearing shoes while you bathe, by doing so you’re going a long way to protect yourself from some seriously nasty conditions. Bacteria, fungi, and viruses just love living in wet places, just like the floor of a bathroom or shower. You don’t need to wear shoes while you’re in your bathroom at home, but when you’re sharing it with multiple people, it’s definitely a good idea. 

Pick up a pair of shoes that aren’t too expensive, and that you’ll have no problem tossing at the end of the year. If possible, look for ones with a little traction, because tiled floors are slippery!

Cover all your bases

Next to having shower shoes, getting a shower caddy is essential. Afterall, this is not your own personal shower, so don’t leave your soap, shampoo, razors, etc. laying around! While you may wish you could just leave everything where you need it, remember, you’re sharing this bathroom with other people. If everyone did that, think of how cluttered and messy your bathroom would be!

Instead get a shower caddy that fits everything you need to bring with you to the bathroom. This way, you’ll always have everything you need at your fingertips. In addition to a shower caddy, make sure to pick up other communal bathroom basics such as a few towels (body, hand, and face size) and a robe so you don’t need to walk down the hall half naked! This is especially useful if your communal bathroom is co-ed.

Pro tip: Make sure to get a shower caddy that has holes, allowing the water that will inevitably get into your caddy to drain. You don’t want to promote any more mildew growth than you have to!

Figure out schedules 

One of the first things you’ll want to do once you figure out which bathroom you’ll be using on the regular is to figure out what times are the busiest. Yes, even communal bathrooms have a rush hour. This is typically from around 7am to 9am in the morning as your floormates get ready for their early morning classes. You’ll figure out pretty quickly if this is the case on your floor when you walk in prepared to shower and find out they’re all occupied. You can avoid the unfortunate scenario of having to dash to a different bathroom by either showering the night before, or when you get back from class in the afternoon. 

After the morning rush, most showers are pretty quiet for the rest of the day, and may only get a little busier towards the evening. Don’t risk being late to class just because you stepped into a busy bathroom! It’ll take some adjustment, but once you get used to your new routine, it will get easier. 

Be courteous 

If everyone treated the communal bathroom like their own personal bathroom, we wouldn’t have to mention the obvious. But since they don’t, we’ve got to include the reminder to be courteous. No one wants to use a dirty bathroom full of other people's messes, so make sure you’re not contributing to the problem. Always clean up after yourself when you’re done, whether that’s removing the bits of toothpaste that fell on the sink, or cleaning up your hair that’s clogged the drain, everyone needs to do their part. 

Remember, your school has staff to keep these communal bathrooms clean, and they work hard to do this. Don’t make their job any harder than it needs to be.

The Don’ts of Communal Bathrooms

Avoid these things when using communal bathrooms!

Keep a few don’ts in mind when sharing a bathroom. Image courtesy of Averett University.

Now that you’re aware of some of the things that you should be certain to do when you’re using a communal bathroom, it’s time to talk about the kind of behavior you should avoid. Again, most of this is common sense, but we thought it couldn’t hurt to reiterate!

Don’t be a slob

This more or less goes along with being courteous about the space you’re sharing with your floormates, but in case we can’t be any clearer, don’t be a slob in the bathroom! If you’re in the bathroom to brush your teeth and wash your face, make sure that when you’re through, you leave the sink just like you found it. This means washing down any errant toothpaste or soap down the drain and dabbing up the water spray with a paper towel. It’s super simple to do, and if everyone does it, makes the communal bathroom a whole lot nicer and cleaner.

Another thing we have to mention is to make sure you flush. Always flush. In fact double check before you leave the stall to ensure that you’ve flushed. This should be all we need to say about that. 

If you are washing your hair, don’t leave your hair on the walls of the shower or in the drain. Be courteous and put your hair in the trash provided. Trust us, no one else wants to touch anyone else’s hair they find in the shower. 

Don’t forget your keys

On top of your shower shoes and shower caddy, another often overlooked item that you should get used to towing with you when you need to take a shower is your keys. If you have only one roommate, this is probably more crucial than if you have three other people you share a dorm room with. You can never be sure when your roommate will leave, and lock the door behind them. Save yourself a trip to the front desk to ask for an unlock and just get used to taking your keys with you!

Don’t forget about your dorm sink

Although not everyone (especially freshmen) get the “luxury” of having a sink in their dorm room, if you do, don’t forget about it! You can easily use the sink and mirror in your room to take care of brushing your teeth, washing your face, and doing a quick comb through of your hair. That way you won’t be taking up valuable sink space for those who really need that faucet and mirror.

Items to Make Your Communal Bathroom Experience a Little Easier

Make sure to pick up these items to make using a communal bathroom as smooth as possible!

When it comes to surviving communal bathrooms, it helps to come prepared with all of your college bathroom essentials. If this is your first time shopping, here are a few items you'll want to make sure you pack along with your normal soaps, shampoos, and other personal products!

Shower shoes

Image courtesy of Dormroom

First on your list for preparing to live in a communal bathroom is to have shower shoes. These stylish and snug flops are the perfect addition to your shower routine. Just slide them on when you need to use the shower, or when you’re washing your face and brushing your teeth in the morning/evening. The adjustable strap will keep your foot in place, and the holes will allow your shoes to dry out in record time. In addition to navy blue, they’re also available in black or white.

Bath robe

Image courtesy of Dormify

Don’t settle for just a towel to cover yourself as you make the trek to the shower or bathroom, instead why not wrap yourself up in luxury with this bathrobe? It’s soft and easily ties at the waist to create a hands-free way to go in and out of the communal shower. You’ll never have to worry about juggling your shower caddy while trying to hold up your towel again! You can pick up this comfy robe made from 100% cotton and transport yourself to a relaxing spa moment.

Bath towels

If you’re going to be sharing a shower and a bathroom with your floormates all year, you’re definitely going to need some towels! Why not get some of the softest towels out there to quickly dry off after a shower? This 100% cotton towel set comes with two bath towels, two hand towels, and two washcloths in a variety of neutral colors sure to go with your dorm color palette. 

While no one is ever super excited to have to use a communal bathroom, it is not as bad as it sounds, as long as you’re aware of these top dos and don’ts! Just like everything at college, you’ll soon fall into a routine, and you’ll hardly think anything of sharing a bathroom with your floormates!