Guest clearing out the toiletries

I am looking for some polite phraseology which I could use to put in a little sign by my toiletries basket. I keep a basket of assorted toiletries for guests in case they forget something. I get tons of positive feedback from guests on how well “stocked” my place is and how I have thought of “everything”. It’s a Plus property and I charge a fair but not cheap rate. And so I don’t want to stop leaving toiletries because in general it helps ensure guests have a special stay and I do think it contributes to my 5.0 rating.
However, every once in a while I get a guest who treats the basket like their shopping cart. The couple who left this morning literally took almost everything. We’re talking toothbrushes, toothpaste, deodorant, cream, eye makeup remover, bandaids, dry shampoo, hair spray, Tide spot wipes, hand sanitizer, disposable razors, tampons, etc etc. It must have been $30 worth of things. That really ticks me off.
So, again - any suggestions on what I could write on a small card to be left in the basket?
A friend suggested moving the basket to a closet and leaving a note saying “If you need anything please let me know; I have a stash of extra toiletries”. But I think that defeats the purpose of proactively providing a special level of comfort.
It’s honestly not the cost…this particular guest didn’t drink the wine I’d left so I saved $20 for the next guest….I think it’s the cheekiness of it.
Any suggestions? Maybe I should just get over it. This rant helped me almost get there anyway, so that’s good. :slight_smile:

It’s going to happen once in a while. I have exactly the same as you and supply an abundance of additional stuff plus a fully-stocked first aid kit. And occasionally, it will disappear. It happens. For me, it’s about once a year but every host will be different.

I think that leaving a polite little note goes against the values of hospitality that we want to demonstrate.

As long as you are charging enough so that you-re not out of pocket - and it seems that you are - then grin and bear it. You’ll be a happier host. :slight_smile:


Sod the toiletries, the wine would have been in my bag :wink: but seriously, a $20 bottle of wine for every guest? That seems excessive, or I am just too used to the prices here in Spain?



If it’s not the cost, and it happens rarely, then I’d say let it go. Have a back-up basket fully stocked to swap in for your next guest so you’re not scrambling to get ready.

People are funny, and they come in with widely different backgrounds and expectations. You could try to teach them your expectations, but I don’t think I’d bother. I’d just build it into the price.


Yeah, anything less than a $20 bottle where I live might make them take more of the Tylenol I leave with the toiletries! Actually, this area has become quite the winery area for the east coast (of US), so folks who come here are interested enough in wine that they might scoff at something cheaper.
I guess I’ve got to see the toiletries with the same attitude - an investment in the experience.
Thanks all!

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You’re right. Thanks. I think I just needed to vent a bit.


I know it’s annoying but in the long run it all evens out because some former guests never used any of the toiletries that were in the basket. I would let it go.

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Our guests stay anywhere from 3 days to 2 months, with discounts at anything over a week, and another discount at a month. We discount because less turnovers mean less work for us, and the folks who stay longer use less of the “starter packs”.

If you are staying a week you likely bring your favored shampoo. If you stay a month you likely skip the offered coffee for whatever your favorite happens to be.

Folks who stay 3 days use more of the little amenities. We’ve been entirely cleaned out of toilet paper three times in three years, and every time it was some one staying three days.

That’s why the shorter stays pay more per day. It makes up for it.


I don’t find it cheeky. Many guests simply assume that anything they find there in the way of individually packaged toiletries is theirs to take, just as a hotel figures that into the nightly price. They aren’t going to walk off with the hotel hair dryer, but most people assume they can take all the litttle shampoos, soaps, etc. and so does the hotel.

You could leave a note saying “Dear guest, these toiletries are provided for your convenience, should you need any of them during your stay. It will be appreciated if you do not take unused toiletries with you, as I would have to raise my nightly price to cover this if guests took all with them. Hotels figure these types of things into the nightly price, Airbnbs generally do not. Thank you for your cooperation.”

But if the majority of your guests have not “gone shopping” at your place, I wouldn’t bother mentioning it, as some guests may use none of it, so it balances out.

People like that will not be deterred by a note like this:

And no one else needs that note on the card in the basket.

I say leave it as it is. There is no reason to make a change for an every once in awhile problem. You could add a bit to your cleaning fee or your rates if it would make you feel better, but I bet it all works out in the end. As you mentioned,

I know it’s annoying, it has happened to me with the snack basket. I also stock a lot of stuff and always get the “you thought of everything” comments too. No one has ever taken too many toiletries but mine are in the medicine cabinet. Perhaps putting them in a basket makes them feel more like freebies to grab, psychologically. Do you have a medicine cabinet?

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The cheapest Aussie plonk here is $5.99US/.75l, and is actually quite drinkable. A $20 bottle here is a vintage estate wine that you would cellar for maybe 10 years at the most. The long term cellaring vintages from here in the US, as well as major French and Italian ones, start at around $50 when new but are rarely drunk new. A $20 bottle is a nice wine, not a great one.

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I have been in business for almost ten years and have had one guest wipe out the basket of toiletries, razors, sewing kit, etc. If you spread the cost over all your guests it doesn’t average out to much. I greet my guests and point out the basket and say “Here are some items that you may have forgotten”. I haven’t stressed that they should only take what they need, but 99% seem to get it.

Some people just kill ya, don’t they? But we can weather the occasional idiot/greedy person. But, yes, it still gets under your skin.

I have a little note in a frame beside my basket of toiletries. It says
“To our Guests,
To help you feel your best
Take what you need and leave the rest.
It may be useful to another guest.”

I’ve never had any one steal anything, but I also use dollar store items so if they did, it wouldn’t add up to $15. I have had guests comment in reviews that it was a life saver as they forgot their toothpaste or whatever.


Probably just the hotel guest mentality. I used to travel a TON for work (pre-covid) and often took home unused little toiletries from nice hotels. Ofcourse I would never do that from an AirBnB BUT I’m sure some wouldn’t see it as any different


I seldom stay in hotels, but when I do, I also take all that stuff. I use it myself when I’m on the road and my granddaughters loved those little soaps when they were young.

But I wouldn’t clean out the basket at an Airbnb.


Get over it. :wink: It happens. I’ve had guests use nothing and the next one clear out the toiletries even the ones in a cupboard in the guest area (they’re not there anymore!). So I put fewer out and it is what it is.


Yup, wine would come with me, especially a $20 bottle. There are wonderful wines under $10 a bottle (and I get a bubbly from Wal-Mart that is $5 and pretty darn good - and I am picky!).

Even folks in Napa or Temecula don’t leave out $20 bottles of wine. Are you catering to the #PageSix crowd? :wink:

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Thinking about this…

In NC there are now a couple of wine appellations & especially since some of the vineyards have older/mature vines, some very nice wines are being made. Most wineries are fairly small so bottles tend to be $15-$20.

I can respect wanting to highlight regional products.

I wonder if your favorite winery would give you slightly better pricing on a bulk purchase and some handouts to leave with the wine about their product offerings & information about their wine tastings.

About the toiletries note—I try to let people know what they can do instead of the NO or DON’T Do when I can.
I have a note on my toiletries basket “Forget something? Please take what you need”.

I think my toiletries basket may be like yours by including more than the usual shampoo, lotion & toothpaste with brush: plus a small sewing kit, deodorant, insect repellent, hairspray, Tums, aspirin, acetaminophen, vinegar & Benadryl cream (for fire ant & jellyfish treatment), bandaids, & anti-bacterial ointment. ( no worries, all are small packages so not enough to overdose).

Soapbox moment: aspirin is first line of treatment in the event of heart attack so good to have available.


Annoying update: these guests asked to check in early …I agreed and made sure to have everything set up the night before. They arrived at dawn and parked in my neighbors driveway. It was pretty odd, since they had to walk across a lawn to get to the cottage….you’d have thought when they saw that there was a driveway with parking directly behind the cottage they might’ve realized their mistake. But it wasn’t until my neighbors called me at 7am to advise me of the fact that there was a large truck in their driveway that I realized what’d happened. I called the guest and asked them if they could please move car from the neighbors driveway. He acted slightly annoyed, but moved the car. Btw, I was extremely friendly and didn’t make them feel badly about the error. (I later bought my neighbors a pie to apologize about the mixup).
I also reached out before and during their trip to ask them if all was going well and/or if there was anything I could do to be sure their trip was perfect. No reply. No interaction whatsoever except for when they booked.
Then they cleared out my toiletries.
Then they left me my first-ever 4 star review. The comment was “Better than a hotel”. They noted in “cons”: Too expensive.
Huh. They basically got 4 nights for cost of three (arrived at 5am), took about $30 of toiletries, were utterly ungracious about disturbing my neighbors, and then complained about the cost?? Btw, I’ve got a Plus property, and while not budget, it’s still way cheaper than local (even average) hotels.
Silver lining…I guess they’ll never return!


I vote “Block”. I’d never want to see or hear from them again (yes, I need to work on this attitude, I know). Did they pay for early check-in? We have lots of discussions on this in the forum. I charge hourly, non-refundable, must be paid prior to arrival & I cap it at 2 hours max (too inconvenient for me otherwise). Regarding the toiletries, I used to leave a ton of stuff but people stopped using it once Covid hit so I only leave the basics and if I leave it, I expect guests to use it - all if they wish. There is one exception. I have rather pricey makeup removing wipes and on the package, it says they may take it for a charge of $8. People use them all the time…never take them and leave me the empty package if they finish them. :wink:

I also think when people see an abundance of “stuff” they sort of go a little wacky. I do leave a little travel-sized toothpaste, one razor, and a new toothbrush in the master bath drawer. I leave products for ladies in the panty of the guest bath. I spread it out and try not to make it look like a “gift basket”, because you know, we have a whole other thread about the surge of “Idiocracy” in the guest population these days. Search for “Funny Story/Stolen Painting” as an example

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