Social quandary: My roommate never cleans

She doesn't wash the dishes, doesn't take out the garbage, and she leaves leftover food crumbs on the kitchen counter for days. Confronting her hasn't worked — what can be done?

dirty dishes piled in kitchen

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Have you found yourself in an awkward situation? Has someone irked you and you’re not sure how best to proceed? If so, you’re not alone! Every week, we feature a reader-submitted quandary so that you can weigh in with your best advice. What would you do in their situation? If you’d like to submit your own quandary, click here.


I’ve lived with my roommate for 2 years, and when we first moved in together she joked that she didn’t like to clean. I dismissed it at the time, but it turned out to be so true! When she cooks, she leaves food crumbs left over everywhere. For example, she grated cheese a few days ago and there’s bits of cheese still sitting on the counter. She leaves dirty dishes in the sink, doesn’t take out the garbage — basically, I’m left doing all the housework. I confronted her about it one day and she agreed to a routine where we’d take turns cleaning week-by-week. It worked for a month, and then she went back to her old ways. I even suggested she hire a maid service to clean in her place, but she refused. I can’t afford to live on my own in the city, and I love the place I live in. Plus, I don’t want the hassle of finding a new roommate — besides her messy habits, we get along great. Can anyone recommend a system of cleaning that ensures she does her share of the housework?

Please comment below and help this reader with your feedback.

Read our previous social quandaries here.