How To Live With “Green” Roommate Who Doesn’t Clean?

updated Mar 8, 2019
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(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Q: Let me start off by saying that my boyfriend [let’s call him Steve] has been living with his roommate for years and had been hesitant to look for another living situation for fear of finding someone/something worse. They were friends, but now he isn’t so sure. She [let’s call her Kelly] let her boyfriend [let’s call him Brandon] move in after weeks of them going out together and neither of them really do any washing up. Her bedroom is always a complete mess (dirty dishes, old clothes, nothing is put away – ever). But for the most part, that’s just messiness and something you (in my opinion) should be able to look past…

However, it’s the common areas they don’t care about. She considers herself a gourmet chef (as a hobby), yet she doesn’t clean the kitchen. She jams as much as she can into my boyfriend’s portable dishwasher (and broke it once), and puts washed-but-still-got-crud-on-it items away. The counters are never washed – and if something splatters on the floor or the walls that never gets wiped away either.

My boyfriend can only clean so much on his own (or with me). She’s had friends and family over and they don’t seem to find it a problem. She also has let her messiness (on top of her dirtiness) come out into the common areas.

Here’s the kicker – her boyfriend has a “chemical sensitivity” – and refuses certain products to be used in the house. He’s not on the lease, and he doesn’t pay rent. My boyfriend demanded he start paying a couple hundred dollars a month to help go towards utilities (but he doesn’t want him paying a third of the rent because he’ll then have a say – which he seems to already have).

She’s hid my boyfriend’s cleaning products in her closet because they aren’t “green.” She’ll swap out his dishwashing tablets for hers. She also will use up the “regular products” my boyfriend buys if hers run out – and won’t replace them.

I’m all for green living – but she never cleans. Now, for a few months, they’ve had german roaches. The apartment building has them, that’s clear, but she refuses to use the free weekly extermination service but doesn’t seem to want to pay up for her “green” guys to come regularly.

My boyfriend plans to move out – and in with me – by the end of the year. But we’re afraid these roaches have already laid eggs into his things and we might be bringing them to our future place. What can we do to ensure that these bugs don’t follow us to our new place, and to convince his roommate that she needs to start cleaning? -Sent by Dylan

Editor: Wow. That is a… lot. Readers, do you have any advice for Dylan and Steve, or for anyone who might find themselves in a similar situation? And how can they ensure they’re not bringing roaches/eggs with them to their new home?

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