Toiletries in the COVID era

It’s nearly time to replenish my toiletries at my air bnb in a tourism hotspot in B.C. The hotels are set to re-open in limited capacity June 15. Not yet sure about Air bnb’s. I am thinking about the time lag to order toiletries so I should start on it soon. I went with individual small size bar soaps last year, and refillable wall mounted dispensers of high end organic shampoo and conditioner. But now I’m thinking, are guests going to freak about these dispensers? I sure would hate to go to those individual, wasteful plastic bottles that are so bad for the environment. Any thoughts?

Some might but if they are going to freak out they probably aren’t the type to travel now anyway. Or they will bring their own. As long as the dispenser has been cleaned it’s just as safe as individual bottles. I’d only go to small size bottles so I didn’t have to clean anything. So it depends on a combo of factors.

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As long as the dispensers are clean with no gungy bits and are well topped up, there’s no reason to think that guests will freak. Plastic bottles are only bad for the environment if they are single use. I do find with conditioner and shampoo that most guests bring their own favourite brand to use but appreciate it if you’ve left products for them, even though they don’t use them.

A lot depends on where you place yourself in the market. In medium to high price brackets I’d expect individually-wrapped soap if I were a guest.

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I don’t see any reason to change things like the dispensers used for toietries. Just clean and sterilize the outside and openings of the containers as most of us normally do and let guests know this is part of your cleaning routine. The virus isn’t going to live in a bottle of shampoo or soap, so any guest that is ignorantly fearful of that shouldn’t be booking a place to stay anyway. It isn’t like leaving a partially used jar of jam that someone could have stuck a spoon into and licked off of. Even if they were provided with single-use items, there’s no guarantee that those items weren’t touched by someone who could be infected without having been sterilized.


I’m still using my wall mounted dispenser for body soap, shampoo and conditioner. Most guests seem to bring their own because I only need to refill them every six weeks. If I were you, I would still continue to use the dispensers.


When I set up my small cabin last year I went to trader Joe’s pump bottles, they are disposable but I kept them topped off and clean. 3 in 1 body soap/shampoo/conditioner and smaller pump bottles for the sinks. Wne CV19 hit I went back to the individuals. I was planning on using them up in the other cabin then switch to the pump bottles. Now I am just going to use them up and move back to the trader Joe’s stuff when I run out. They need to go anyway.

Regarding dispensers. I just use a spray disinfectant on them between guests.

I learned on ‘Forum Past’ that there are two camps: those guests who like dispensers and those guest prefer individual soaps. Since then, I have been providing guests the option: Dispensers and travel size soaps / shampoo, as well as miscellaneous toiletries, should the guest forget something.

I estimate that only 1 out 5 guests ever use anything from the drawer. Most either bring their own or use the dispensers.


I figure that if guests don’t trust that hosts have sterilized properly, they can always give things another once-over before using. I foresee leaving a container of Clorox wipes in the guest space, which I’ve never done before, altho I’ve always left them cleaning solution, a cloth, rubber gloves and a sponge under the bathroom sink in case they wanted to use that stuff. I imagine most hosts will be leaving more cleaning products for guests to avail themselves of now.


I’ve now removed almost everything from the drawer because I don’t want to clean it or spray it. The individually wrapped soaps are available but hardly used.

(Given the crowds I’m seeing in opened places and some of the viral numbskull behavior I’m seeing it may be a long time before I reopen.)

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I hear you. I saw a compilation video yesterday of anti-mask and isolation types actually purposely walking up to people and coughing or spitting in their face. It’s unbelievable. Those people should be charged and put in jail or locked up in a mental institution.


I either saw the same or similar. Unbelievably crass people and it seems the only way to make sure you’ve not come in contact with them is to stay home. It’s depressing.

In Australia we now have a $5000 fine for that style of assault,


If you don’t provide toiletries to guests and it’s something they need, then they will have to go to a store of some type and purchase the toiletry for themselves.

The toiletry from the store has not been touched any less by other people, it will still need to be wiped down.

However, now the guest has made an extra trip to the store which is a much higher risk then touching any toiletry anywhere because it is an air-borne virus, which is a threat in an enclosed space with other people in it, like a store. I’m actually thinking of ways to stock the apartment even better so as to save my guests from having to go to the store right away, so that they have time to just get a delivery instead (which is usually not possible the same day right now).

People are not dying from this virus from sharing a shampoo pump. It’s not cooties :wink:


Thanks everyone for your thoughts. I myself think it’s overblown as a guest to worry about viruses on shared dispensers that are cleaned regularly. Just wondering where the hosts were at.

I clean my dispensers with anti bacterial windex every single clean on the outside.

Just remember that soap and water is just as good. Anything that can be washed with soap and water should be. Use it while you can! The super-bugs bolstered by all of the disinfectants that will follow covid are not going to be as easily deterred :grimacing:


Yep, and I’ve read that people are getting ill from all the disinfectant being used. Personally I wouldn’t want to stay in an Airbnb where everything had been sprayed with Lysol.
And the cleaning advice is that everything has to be washed with soap and water before disinfecting anyway- it doesn’t work on surfaces that are dirty to start with.


Well aware of soap and water, thanks, I have been managing and cleaning houses for decades👍

So why use anti-bacterial Windex if soap and water are as good?


So true, saw something where they were trying to move the virus from one surface to another, it was almost impossible for it to stay intact. Though theoretically possible on some non-metallic hard surfaces such as plastic. The chances of passing it on with any fabric or paper are almost non existent. Even with plastic you have to shove it directly up your nose to infect yourself.

It pains me to see my friend who was just learning to cope with her o.c.d now with a pack of anti bacterial wipes constantly by her side.