Condiments for our guests

Just starting out with our first property and I used this as a guide for things to purchase for our guests. Spoke with a cleaning service that is very familiar with the AirBnB experience and she recommended against having refillable things like S&P shakers, Olive Oil, etc. for fear of exposure to contamination. Supplying single use “packets” of S&P or single servings of olive oil seems to be a waste or resources and could get expensive. Has anyone else had any experience with this? I’d like to get some perspective on convenience vs. potential liability. TIA

Liability? From a contaminated salt shaker? Sounds like your “cleaning service” is giving you advice on what is convenient for them. Listen, all I can say is that I rent my home - not a sterile investment property - salt, pepper, mustard, ketchup, vinegar, olive oil, and far more is all available to my guests. If it’s in my pantry, they can use it.

My guests have rented from me from 9 years because they want to rent a home. If your guests want to rent a property that’s more like a hotel then individual packets will work for you. Decide what kind of experience you’re offering.


Not contamination, but we did switch to single packets of sugar for coffee. My sugar container always turned into hard rocks.

I would not provide opened ketchup. Some will disagree, . I keep the fridge complete clean for appearance. May look like a college /bachelor fridge otherwise.

We supply salt , pepper, and sugar 2 powder creamer for coffee.

By the end of the summer we did have about 7 different bottles of oil guests left behind.

I only provide a spice rack, individual sugars & creamers and coffee pods. I think buying more would be wasteful.

This is what I provide in terms of food/drink:

salt shaker
pepper shaker and a pepper corn grinder
olive oil in a small 8-ounce bottle that I can replace periodically
mustard, ketchup, and mayonnaise in 16-ounce squeeze-bottles
spice rack with 24 spices
sugar in a pourer jar and also sugar cubes in a bowl
ground coffee in a large bin
Individual liquid coffee creamers (Mini Moos) and a jar of powdered coffee creamer
A few individual serving packages of powdered hot cocoa
A variety of individually-packaged tea bags.
A few 0.5L bottles of water (usually 2x number of guests, but sometimes more).

Still looking into providing butter in individual packets. The only items I’ve found so far were cases of several hundred which is not practical for me.

Another host recently mentioned he provided individual instant oatmeal packets and I’m going to try that out with the next guests.

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Well, I rent a separate home as well as a bd in my home. In my home of course, my guests can use the condiments and sometimes they can use my food too, but in the separate house I had a nasty lady who almost put me out of business. She gave me such a nasty review complaining about everything in the house. In the kitchen it was the “stale items in the pantry and fridge”. It’s true, every guest brought or bought stuff, especially over the holidays when they usually have family gatherings but they were not old or stale. So yeah, around new years I had like 3 kinds of coffee, different mustards, different cheeses, yogurts, dressing, pickle jars, cans of soda, eggs (still good), lemons etc.
After I read her review I threw it all out. I stick with my coffee and teas and the rest they can buy. I for example drink my coffee black. I do have a bowl of sugar that is impeccably clean and salt and pepper things that you throw out when you they are empty. I will never buy coffee pods because they pollute the planet.
Whatever you do you can’t please everyone. There will always be a nitpicky smart a__ who will complain. If it’s too clean, it’s sterile, it feels like a hospital, if it’s homey it’s too lived in, not fancy enough or too big, or too small or not what they expected. It’s true it’s rare when you get a nitpicker but occasionally, like once per year I do get one for which everything stinks…

Bloody hell, what is wrong with people. Our planet is slowly dying due to over-consumption and yet people are worried about contamination through an opened olive oil bottle? I’m starting to really hate Airbnb with a passion. People have been renting out their places for hundreds of years, Airbnb didn’t bloody invent it.
If you can’t handle a few things in the cupboards - book a sterile pod and go the moon.


That may have been me, they hardly get used except for the last guest who took them all! Another recent guest left behind some top ramen cups so I thought I would leave a couple out for the next guest and they used one.

So you put out new bottles each guest?


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No. Not worried about contamination from squeeze bottles.

Edit: I am definitely trying to avoid waste and expense where I can. I don’t want to do individual portions, but based on what I know of how milk and butter can get contaminated, I wouldn’t leave leftovers between guests. The other stuff, like tea and cocoa just comes that way.

I would agree that there is probably an element of convenience to it. This property is out of state so I can’t refill any of it myself.

My guests are welcome to buy their own condiments and spices, if they don’t want to use mine. And sometimes they do and leave it. Yay for me! I am not supplying individual anything - not even a Keurig. I offer a stocked kitchen.


The one thing I do that is unique is I put out a basket of eggs with a note about our happy chickens with names. They are almost always used.



I rent a 2 bed 1 bath entire property. I provide a little coffee, tea, packaged snack like popcorn for arrival/ first morning. I expect guests to provide everything else for there stay. If guests leave items like condiments I leave them for convenience of guests. I don’t supply any on purpose. I put all back stock behind locked cabinets so guests can raid my inventory. My STR is homey but designed more like a hotel suit with private yard. This is exactly what I like to rent when I travel.

That’s cute @RiverRock. Really cute, as for the 16oz bottles of everything… if you have anything opened in your fridge or pantry you will get a guest like mine who will complain about the “stale” items. I don’t provide anything besides coffee, tea, hot chocolate packets, sugar and salt. if they leave anything behind I throw it away.

How’s that working out? I put a few microwave popcorn packets in the pantry before my first Airbnb guests arrived in December. I expected they would go fast, but not really. They got used up by early February, but every time a guest used one, I was sweeping it off the floor or vacuuming it from between the sofa cushions. It’s not terrible, but I didn’t restock because I felt like I was creating work for myself.

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When I finish off the huge box from costco I will likely not re-stock for the same reason.


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I would find the middle ground. Since you are out of state, the refillable option would mean storing a huge thing of Salt, Pepper, and a jug of olive oil. Going the opposite end of the spectrum is wasteful and also requires storage of keeping giant boxes of individual servings. Actually, I have never heard of single servings of Olive oil.

I would just purchase those sets of disposable salt and pepper shakers like this:

Or…if you really want a nicer set to go with the decor and ambiance, then my second option would be buying a nice set of shakers and refilling yourself. That’s what I do, but I have the convenience of living nearby. You would have to rely on housekeeping.

As far as liability, it’s not a concern of mine. Yes, we hear about all the things that could go wrong like a family leaving mayonnaise outside in the heat, etc. But let’s think about this. How many restaurants have opened ketchup and mustard, salt and pepper shakers on the table? And think about how many customers sit at that table all day long. And think about all the snot-nosed kids who have touched their knives and stuck it inside those bottles while they are bored waiting for their food…

For olive oil, I don’t purchase. I will leave an open bottle of what guests leave behind. They are lucky if it’s there but I will not start to supply expensive olive oil for a family to use all week. They can purchase that at the store. But couples staying only a couple of nights do appreciate the condiments/oils left behind.


We supply so much stuff that a couple can stay in one of our apartments for three days and survive only on what we provide :slight_smile:

But that wasn’t the question. Regarding liability, we supply ONLY items which are fully packaged and unopened. This does not include items such as olive oil.

However, each apartment has a selection of foodstuffs left by previous guests. I corral these items into a separate section of the fridge and say during the house tour “these were left by the previous guest and as I don’t like throwing food away, I’ve left them for you to use if you wish”.

Of course, I check sell by dates and throw away anything old. But the guests know what has been provided by us and which items are ‘leftovers’.

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I use “terra cotta sugar savers” to prevent this:

For olive oil, I use a glass dispenser. I think the brand is Tablecraft, and I bought it for like $4 at Wegman’s. Is it completely sterile? No but I think the contamination factor is pretty low, since people are not opening and closing it. I refill it from big jugs of EVOO I buy at Costco. See pic:

You can see in the next photo how I do sugar. I think cubes create less mess. They are tightly sealed in the jar to help prevent ants. I have both coffee beans and ground coffee. Again, not sterile, but there are scoops to use with them. You just have to hope people aren’t sticking their dirty hands in there. If they are, the coffee comes in contact with boiling water.

The Yorkshire Gold teabags are not sealed. I refill the metal tin with bulk ones from Amazon. I do have a few other teabags that are different brands and individually sealed, in case guests are squeamish about reaching into the bin of unsealed bags.

In the fridge is a sealed pint or quart of milk, depending on length of stay and some Mini-Moos.

There is also a pepper grinder and a tub of salt, plus lots of spices which are my own. I don’t provide other condiments like ketchup, because I don’t want to listen to complaints about them.

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