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Bulk Toiletries or Individual Size?

Another question for everyone here… Shampoo, conditioner, soaps… Go bulk with dispenser or single serve / travel size? Does the bulk product get used up too quick… do the single serves get taken every time? This will be for an entire condo rental.

Thoughts, suggestions or ideas? Thank you!

It must depend on your visitors, but I rent a 1 bed cabin in a vacation town and use bulk dispensers. Despite being booked back to back the shampoo, conditioner, shower gel and lotion seem to be rarely used. The only thing we regularly have to refill is the hand soap.

I’m sure if i provided single serve containers people would take them, but they certainly don’t seem to need them, and for the sake of the environment, and my profit margin, i’d just rather not provide them.


We do large size containers from Costco and we host 6-8 ppl at a time, with usually 5-6 rentals per month, and I replace once a month. Hand soap and body wash go the quickest.

We host a two person poolside cabana, and do a mixture of bulk and individual. We offer bulk shampoo-conditioner in the shower as many people go to the beach and come “home” wanting to wash the salt water out of their hair. At the sink we have pump-style liquid hand/face soap. In the shower we also have an individually wrapped travel size bar of soap because we find not everyone wants liquid body wash. I bought a box of 100 bars for about 30 cents per bar.

Bulk on everything so far. However, I am going to experiment with individually wrapped bath soaps when the bulk body wash is used up. The bult Costco brand doesn’t fit on my new built in shelf and it seems I always find lumps of it splattered all over the shower. I’m not sure why but it’s wasteful and messy. I won’t know for a while which I prefer.

We now do both. Some people were complaining about having bulk items and saying the stuff was “used.” So, we decided to leave the bulk items at the tub/shower and then put individual items on the sink counter. Some use the bulk items. Others use the individual portions. About 25% use the individual items and the rest either use the bulk items or their own.

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@felixcat, that’s interesting. I’m always amazed at people who don’t have their own toiletries, probably bc I personally like only certain products. I currently have full sized Burts Bees products in a basket on a shelf next to shower and a product for men. One of my guests left a good face wash with a squirt top so that’s in the basket also.
I used to leave dollar store toothbrushes, floss, individual mouthwashes, but I don’t anymore.

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As to the toothbrushes, that’s something people can be funny about. We recently got a review praising the fact that we had left one of those toothbrush/toothpaste travel packs, but noting the fact that he didn’t use it, but if he hadn’t had time to go and buy one it would have been a lifesaver. So, thanks but no thanks?

Dispensers are the answer. Leaving out a partially-used bottle of supermarket-bought shampoo just seems a little off. God forbid a used bar of soap! My hand soap is in a hand soap dispenser next to the sink. For the shower, I bought a shampoo/conditioner/body wash dispenser, which is nice-looking, affixed to the shower wall and doesn’t reveal the fill level of the products. This way I can buy big bulk-size tubs of relatively cheap brands and just fill the dispensers. I’ve gotten several compliments from guests on the shower dispenser, saying they feel more comfortable with that, rather than with half-empty store bottles of Suave with some well-used soapy scum on the bottle, which they’ve seen elsewhere.

For the kitchen, I have a hand soap dispenser built into the sink. For dish soap, I’m fine with having a bottle available, which people continue to use even if the bottle is half-empty. I figure that’s a less-personal product, as compared to something you slather your body with. I also provide some canola oil, which I provide in a squeezey bottle.

Incidentally, I also have a small pack under the bathroom sink with a couple of individually wrapped cheap razors and a few feminine items. They rarely get used but people appreciate them being available in a pinch.

I suppose it depends on the location. Dispensers seem cheap and generic. They remind me of something that would be found in a gym shower.

I bought an inexpensive refill holder and just refill it with the bulk so it looks full and unused every time.

@John, I only offer travel-sized toiletries - brand-name minis of shampoo, conditioner, body lotion, toothpaste, face soap, body soap. I do offer a pump soap that I refill. Here’s the interesting thing: about half (or more) of my guests don’t touch the toiletries! I suppose they bring their own products.

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We use bulk soap because our shower is designed to be environmentally friendly. So we still have the option of using handmade bar soaps even though they are more difficult to find. i’ve seen the soap shavings that are hand made. however felt the dispenser option was the best option as we could choose a bio-degradable soap to encourage people to try the concept of going green.

our shower uses water that drains into the surrounding vegetation as we are in a desert community and water is a luxury while we are surrounded by wasteful desert metropolises’.

because we use a wilson instant tankless hot water heater, we had someone call our shower a car wash even though a listing nearby us which has the exact same shower design, and they run 130$ a night and we are only 80$. in addition to the fact that no other listing in our area even has a shower. as our community is extremely rural and historically non income. so i can’t say it warms the heart of all guests, some are not tuned in to whatever it is you are doing.

this being said, we still prefer to use hand made bio degradable castille soap. cotton towels pinzon by amazon which i found mentioned in another airbnb host forum topic and will mention here to echo that the brand recommended was such a great choice, the towels are fluffy and easy to manage. we use ambient light for lighting and the only two resources used to power the shower are propane and water. and the battery to run the ignition. at some point as the summer draws down into the late sunsets we will add a solar security light with motion sense for when guests open the door and if it is after dark.

We made a bulk purchase from
Weiner’s Ltd.
3205 Kinglsey Way,
Madison, WI 53713 PHONE:

7 cent toothbrushes, 12 cent toothpaste, 8 cent conditioning shampoo, 11 cent bars of soap, etc.

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