New supplies for every guest

What kind of supplies do you change for every guest?

As some of you might know, we have purchased a STR property. The property manager said they give to new guests the followings:

  • 1 x Sponge for dishes (new)
  • 1 x Sponge for surfaces (new)
  • 1 x Bar of soap
  • 1 x Bottle of water
  • 1 x Canned soda
  • 2 x Rolls of toilet paper (unused)

I am surprised about the sponges, but the property manager said that it would be gross to pretend that guests use a dirty sponge. How dirty can it get if we have people staying 7 to 21 days and eating out most of the times?

I am quite sensitive to environmental issues and I would like to minimize wastes. Liquid soap could be one (though less environmentally friendly to produce, I can’t bear throwing away a bar of soap used for a week or two)

What about instead of the sponge you use a dish brush, and put through the dishwasher after each use to sterilise?
Instead of a sponge for surfaces, a few microfibres cloths that can be washed with the towels

And yes definitely liquid soap instead of bar soap. You can buy the big refill bottles for when it’s running low and just keep it topped up


I think that’s totally overkill. I have Method pump dishwash soap for kitchen and Mrs Meyers pump handsoap in the bathroom. There’s a large bottle of good quality bath gel in the shower & if for some reason someone has to have bar soap, I have a few small hotel soaps in a basket with some other items – those bar soaps are still there after a year. I leave a roll of paper towels and I expect a partial roll to be left when they leave, even after a week. The only time I’ve seen whole roll get used is when little kids stayed and I’m guessing parents are wiping up a lot of spills. I leave nice kitchen hand towels and smaller not so nice kitchen wipes that can be used for wiping up counters.

I provide a dishwashing scrubbie (not a sponge) which I replace whenever it starts to look used or frayed (usually lasts for a few months if not more). We have a dishwasher so guests usually aren’t doing lots of dishes by hand. I don’t replace partially used toilet paper rolls – cleaner just folds the ends. Your property manager throws partially used TP rolls away?

We put a Brita water pitcher in the fridge and I leave the replacement filters in the kitchen, Sharpie marked with huge dates indicating when they need to be replaced so that guests know they are always getting a fresh filter.


I believe the soap bar is a cultural thing here. Even in supermarkets, there is a ton of shampoos and soap bars, but just 2-3 brands of liquid soap and bath gel (which are of course expensive in comparison to soap bars). In every house there is a soap bar for hands and another one for the body (but it is the same kind of soap). Only in fancy restaurants I have seen liquid soap.

I think the maiden takes away the used rolls and soaps. She comes from a low -income neighborhood and I think she gives them away - I’ll check with her. I’d rather have them donated than thrown away, but she cleans many properties so I am not sure she can keep up with the soap bars she collects.

Glad to hear I am not the only one to find the sponge thing ridiculous!

Instead, why not try:
1 x dish brush
1 x cleaning cloth which you can wash after each guest
1 x handsoap in refillable pump bottle (not antiseptic)
1 x chilled jug of water in the fridge
Definitely no canned drinks
Fresh fruit in a bowl which you can eat yourself if they don’t use it.
3 x toilet paper (fill up a toilet roll holder). Fold the edges of ones that aren’t completely full.


New sponge is a must. If I have one, I will wash my dishes. If I’m only left a dishrag I will use it grudgingly while swearing under my breath because a sponge is so much more effective and I wouldn’t sweat it if food wasn’t coming off my dishes and I had to leave them in the sink.

I throw lightly used kitchen sponges in the wash with the rags and then use them to clean bathrooms before I discard.

I supply liquid bath soap and small individually wrapped bars in a drawer. After the soap is left behind I use it myself.

Sponges can be sanitized. Buy cellulose ones because they will compost. As long as the sponge has been sanitized and looks to be in good condition I would continue to leave it out. You can leave new ones still in the package for those that are easily grossed out.

I think the original list “for every guest” is 'way out of line; and expensive.

In the kitchenette we supply liquid dish soap, a dish brush, and a sponge that get replaced “when they need it” – Certainly not new with every guest set!

In the bath we supply liquid hand soap at the sink and a ‘travel’ bar of soap (that I buy in bulk) in the shower (new for every guest set). We also supply large bottles of shampoo and conditioner, replaced as needed.

Some of the issues here are cultural.

We supply two freshly washed and dried washcloths to each new guest set to use for the duration of their stay. A couple weeks back we were “weirded out” by a guest lady who was expecting not one, but two fresh clean washcloths every day!!

If you feel you must supply sponges, you can extend their life by running them through your dishwasher on the top shelf.

My guests get a new, wrapped bar of soap. As they rarely use it all, I take the used soap to my own apartment, grate or chop it, add it to a glass jar (about half full) then top it up with boiling water. (another reason I can’t be without an electric kettle :wink: )

I use the resultant ‘liquid soap’ in a dispenser in my own bathroom.


I always put out a fresh roll of toilet paper in each bathroom (no used ones). But I also take the used ones for myself…so no waste there. And I supply back up rolls in the bathroom drawers that will last the group size for their entire stay. Keep in mind my max night stay limit is only 7 nights. My min. night stay is 2.

No bar soaps are provided. Only jumbo size bottles of shampoo, conditioner, body wash, and lotion.

Kleenex boxes are provided in each bathroom. But I only change them out when I think it will get too low and the guest may run out. Again…it depends on the group size and length of stay. I also have unopened backups if a guest really needed them. I also use the remainder for myself.

I put a new paper towel roll in the kitchen holder and leave a backup in the hall closet. I use the remainder of the roll during cleaning.

I have a paper napkin holder on the dining room table and that is filled every time. I just place new napkins on top of the old.

I don’t provide any bottled water or sodas. If a previous guest leaves them behind (and I won’t use it) then I will leave it in the fridge for other guests.


I leave 3 dish drying towels, 1 new sponge, and 3 dish wash cloths. Under the sink is an entire tub of dishwasher tablets and a dish scrub bristle brush. I also leave a small bottle of Dawn dish lotion soap on top of the sink. This just gets refilled from a large bottle. If the small one gets ratty looking, then I purchase a new one.

I have liquid hand soap in each bathroom and that gets refilled when low.

I also leave out complimentary packets of coffee and herbal tea. The theater room gets replenished with popcorn for the popcorn machine and also microwave popcorn for those who don’t want to clean the machine out after using it. New guests also receive boxes of movie theater candy. I can purchase them for $1 at Walmart. So a guest paying the base rate for 1-4 guests, gets 4 boxes. If they pay for 6 guests, they get 6 boxes.

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I am not a “sponge” person myself…meaning I can perfectly clean dishes with dish cloths.

But I am a bit surprised by how many people would give their guest a used sponge from a previous guest. This to me would be the equivalent of providing my guest with the used dish cloth that my previous guest used.

I always make use of the sponge by soaking it with water and wiping off the bird poop on the wrap around deck. Then I toss in the trash.

But who am I to talk? I don’t wash my coverlet in between each and every guest!- lol.


No the equivalent would be you giving each guest a new dishcloth. A sponge can be sanitized just like a dishcloth or a washcloth. I’m assuming everyone here washes and re-uses wash cloths. You know some people wash their private parts with those right? They aren’t just used on faces.

I’m quite surprised at how people think one thing should be new each time but another thing that could be just as contaminated doesn’t have to be replaced and I bet in some cases they don’t even think to wash it. For example a rug or a chair pad, cloth upholstery, throw pillows, carpet could have something icky on it but you would try washing it before tossing it.

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I have shampoo/ conditioner/ body wash dispensers in the showers. Liquid hand soap as well. In the guest bathroom, i always leave loads of toilet roll , you never know what way a tummy could behave, always good to have a few just incase. In almost a yr only one guy took some into his room

Well of course I know that people wash their privates with wash cloths. But are you saying that you could also throw a sponge into the washing machine and it would be completely sanitized? I just figured it would not hold together in the washing machine and break up in there.

I certainly would not run the dishwasher just to sanitize a sponge. My guests already have run the dishwasher before I arrive. I also do not use the dishwasher at home. I have heard of people putting them in the microwave. But not sure if that would really clean it…

This is exactly what I have. Except I don’t put out three TP rolls unless they are staying longer than a week.

I advertise my place as self catering so guests will think it’s their responsibility to supply provisions. I also state in my listing that provisions, supplies and food are the responsibility of the guest.

I do provide coffee, tea, creamer and sugar but I don’t advertise it.

I don’t provide paper towels at all. If they want those they can buy it.

I also supply hand soap in the bathroom and body wash in a refillable pump. I leave leftover shampoos in case they want to use them. But I don’t buy or provide new ones. No guest has ever complained.

As for scrubbers, I supply them and sterilize them between guests. Sponges or scotch brights don’t last long in Hawaii so I won’t supply them. I do supply dishwashing soap.

I supply snorkel gear, noodles, beach chairs, beach umbrella, coolers and beach mats. These are always greatly appreciated by guests.

I have just bought a very nice compact portable table top BBQ for guests to use. I set it on a camping table and covered it from the elements.

I’m a mid priced, fully outfitted apartment by the beach. I have a high end king size bed in the room now, along with tables, comfortable chairs, a futon and outdoor furniture. They get fast free wifi of course.

Guests often comment on the spectacular views and private beachside location.

I go out of my way to help them with tips for finding the hidden gems and navigating the island without backtracking.

It must be noted that I have never been a Superhost and am rated at about 4.6.

I would sanitize it with bleach or in the microwave. The microwave method requires you to have it wet and it heats it up as hot or hotter than any water in your dishwasher or washing machine. If the sponge were stained or torn, etc then I wouldn’t leave it for a guest.


We host couples in a separate apartment and for every couple the new consumables are:

1 roll paper towel (unused)
1 new loo roll in the holder + 2 - 4 spares depending on the length of stay
Arrival snacks (2 bags chips, 2 bananas, 2 apples) + cheapo bottle of wine
First morning breakfast (2 mini cereal, 2 yogurts, 2 croissants, small bottle of milk, 2 bottles water)
Coffee and tea
Small dish soap
Sachet of Tide

2 spare toothbrushes (rarely used by guests)
2 mini toothpastes (ditto)
1 mini bar of soap
1 mini bottle of shampoo
Q-Tips (not often used)
Various miniatures such as body lotion, conditioner (rarely used but guests appreciate the thought)

In the bathroom cabinet there are various ‘in case you forgot anything’ items - tampons, small sewing kit, mini deodorant, mini mouthwash, aloe vera lotion and whatever else I have in stock. These are rarely used. Also rarely used are various sunscreens (left by previous guests) and a spray bottle of Off insect repellent. The Off is replaced when it’s about a quarter full. There are also many cleaning materials under the kitchen sink, plus spare trash bags, and Clorox wipes in the bathroom.

Also to be factored into our costs are current magazines, personalised welcome card and business card.

It might seem like a lot but we use half-used shampoos etc. at home, eat any leftover food and in general use up anything that is half-used or not used at all by guests. Either that or they are used for the next guests in the case of non-perishables. Or we use leftover items ourselves.

Because of bulk buying, this equates to about $12 per couple. This is excessive of course when we have guests staying for two nights but balances itself out when couples stay for two or three weeks. But it also equates to good reviews and repeat business.


I have the usual toiletries in the bathroom. There is always a new or near new TP roll in there and another under the sink, even for one night. If someone has a problem and is using a lot I sure don’t want them having to disturb me or use something else like paper towels, facial wipes, kleenex and clog my toilet. Now that I have a fridge in the room I put a bottle of water per person. I hate the single bottles but I love my privacy more. I also put a good quality dark chocolate per person.

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Haha Good one
I like the idea of the wrapped bar of soap along with pump soap option.

I stayed at a vacation rental and did appreciate the new wrapped sponge in the kitchen
So now have started providing them for each set of incoming guests along with a dishrag.
Then I wash the sponges and use them for my household chores, bathrooms, car detailing etc. They sure do not go to waste…

Isn’t it fun as a host to stay in STRs? Sometimes I get good tips about what to offer in our rental but mostly I find shortcomings. These in themselves are good lessons.

Like you, we don’t waste anything that is leftover in the rental. I also find that guests often leave a few groceries that they can’t take on the plane with them and I am only too happy to use them up. :slight_smile: