Distilled water is not needed for iron, and other life lessons

I have been hosting for a year and have had only two experiences that would potentially qualify as less than positive ones so I consider myself lucky. I cant wait until my current guest leaves tomorrow morning. He arrived without incident on Thursday which is great. I was a bit irritated when he sat at my kitchen table for hours on his laptop yesterday five feet from my recliner where I was reading and relaxing on Sunday. I did not say anything although the rules state that the rented area is for the bedroom, use of the guest bathroom, and limited kitchen access to make simple meals. Thats it. Common areas that are not for guest use are not pictured in my listing. I will amend my listing to specifically state guests should not hang out at the kitchen table all day unless they are temporarily sitting there for a meal. At the time i didnt feel there was a polite way of telling him to sit in the comfy chair in the room I rent out and if I really needed to i could have left the house and gone to a library or something.

I am irked because he returned home from a college interview today and said that he was unable to use my iron for his clothes because I did not provide distilled water for the steam. First of all it has been years since I have needed to iron anything so I had to think about it. Then I recalled that it is possible to dry iron on a medium or low setting without burning. Third I found a consumer report article that states that it is a myth that distilled water should be used for ironing and in fact it can void the warranty.

I sent him a politely worded message on air so our communication is in writing and he cant use the lack of distilled water against me. He has gotten too comfortble here and just told me that an avocado on my counter is ripe and needs to be eaten soon. I said my daughter is going to do just that later, thanks. He used my kitchen to warm up soup and was slamming drawers looking for a spoon even though I showed him on the first day where everything is in my small kitchen. He needs to GO. If I didnt need the additional income so bad for medical expenses, I would limit my guests to 2 night stays. After that time they seem to get a sense of entitlement and overstep boundaries. And it has always been white men of different ages who do this! (I am white and dont want to make this about race, it is just an observation.) I am seriously thinking of limiting my guests to single evening stays female only but probably would only get three reservations a year.

Distilled water is actually way better because it won’t leave mineral deposits inside of your iron like tap water can. That said, your guest sounds like a major PITA! Tell him that you don’t provide distilled water and he’s welcome to buy some himself, as you have not advertised that as an amenity in your listing. And tell him that he needs to stay in his room or find a cafe to hang out in, but not your kitchen!


Actually that is a myth that’s been busted by the consumer report that I provided to him. You can Google it I don’t feel like looking it up but that’s a myth

No, it’s not a myth. It’s science. Distilled water doesn’t have minerals in it. Minerals are what cause the water deposits to form in things like irons, coffee makers, CPAP machines, etc. With occasional use, it really doesn’t matter, and tap water is probably fine. But what I said is that distilled water is BETTER if you want to extend the life of your appliances.

I found the article you’re talking about. It says it “may be another suburban myth,” and then they go on to say that if you have hard water, to mix it half and half with distilled. The article proves nothing.


I also think he has internalized rage against people of different generation. He was eating a banana and we were talking about composting scraps and we agreed its an important way to protect the environment. As he was leaving he sarcastically added, of course your generation created the problem but doesn’t have to deal with it. I’m 48 so I think the problem started longer ago than 1970. Regardless of the cause of global warming and climate change, it is unnecessarily confrontational to say that to anyone whose house you’re staying in as a guest.

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It is but I don’t see why you’re letting him get away with so much.


Because he leaves tomorrow, I am not in any danger I am merely just a little irritated, and as I said in my original post, I need money. I have lots of bills to pay and this helps me with that objective.

We all need money, dear. That’s why we’re in business. But it doesn’t matter when he’s leaving. You wrote a long post complaining about him and avocados and armchairs but yet you don’t mention it to him. I understand that you’re venting and that’s no problem but I like to think that hosts are educating guests along the way.

No worries, he will be so educated when he checks out and I have the opportunity to review him. I will be concise and direct.

And don’t call me dear. It’s patronizing and rude.

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I’ll tell my husband then…


I have ironed millions of things having been a seamstress and I have never used distilled water inside my iron.


When I hosted in my home it also irked me when people (and yes it was overwhemingly men though not all white) would pay $40 a night and then take over my home. A couple of times it was men sitting in my living area with their laptops and then also peppering me with questions to the point where I just wanted to hide out in my room. So I invested $15,000 in remodeling my home to add a bathroom and separate entrance to my home. This worked out great for me but I realize not everyone has the $$ or the home layout to do this. But seriously look over your house and think about if there are any changes you can make to give yourself more privacy in your own home.

Another thing to consider is if you can raise your price any at all so that you host fewer people but make almost the same amount of money.


He’s a kid? College interview? To attend as a student or to work there as a professor? If he’s a kid, I would just ignore him. He’s inmature. If he’s an adult, then he should know better.


Lighten up @lauras0323 – the term “dear” is neither patronizing, nor rude. And, it’s not a good idea to irritate one of the Moderators who was being helpful to you.


I’m trying to figure out exactly what he did wrong other then being a bit of a PÍA. It just sounds like a personality clash? The distilled water would only affect your iron (if it were true), not his clothes, so if he thought it was necessary than I don’t see the harm in his asking about it. The kitchen I think you do need to be more clear in the rules as if he’s allowed to sit and eat there he probably thought it was okay to sit and work there? Does the guest area have a desk/workspace? While he certainly doesn’t sound like the most delightful guest, the situation doesn’t sound that horrid. That being said, I rent an entire space, not a room in my home because I don’t want to share any space with anyone.


Well, that is the crux of the problem:
Laura also does not want to share her space, but wants the money. Hers is not a homeshare, rather a boarding house where the renter is welcome to see only the 4 walls of the room.

In my homeshare we’d rather thought it strange if a guest never came out of the room.


Does his room have a desk/table that he can use for his computer. I have stayed at airbnb’s that don’t provide a workspace and then I’m stuck on the kitchen table.(I’m literally typing this on a kitchen table at an Airbnb).


It sounds like you’re getting some host burnout from this guest. I have a similar setup to Karma, with a suite attached to my house and I still feel that way when people overstep bounds. The closer guests are to your “sanctuary” spaces from the world, the harder hosting gets IMO.

My BF was in the Peace Corps years ago and they’d sigh and say “Ah, differences” whenever cultural or personal norms caused irritation. Hosting seems to be a constant exercise in figuring out when to assert boundaries and when to say “Ah, differences”. (At times my “Ah, differences” might come out like George Costanza’s father screaming “SERENITY NOW!” through gritted teeth)


I would set kitchen times, breakfast then a maximum of 1 hour in the evening. He sounds very rude and entitled. Get the young generation, making 3rd world children recycle toxic metals from the smartphones they change every 5 minutes. Suggest he pops out for a nice slow avocado on toast.

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