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How to Live With a Green Flatmate Who Wouldn't Clean?

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green cleaningYou would be amazed at the lengths that some people will go to be green. Have you ever been stuck in a room with a green freak who refuses to house clean on account that it would only ruin the room and that refuses to use even water for a floor mopping because it would be adding to the water waste problem? And that person will refuse to take out the rubbish because there are no recycling bins outside and better keep it around rather than “sending it away to pollute the environment”. The same person will have a problem with you bringing in plastic water bottles, and keeping them around because they emit CO2, but will also have a problem with you throwing them out because you still don’t have a recycling bin and will not let you pollute the environment. He or she will complain if you bring in a cleaning product because of the toxicity you bring in the room, and will strongly disagree that he or she needs frequent showers because that would be very wasteful and his or her body can handle a little dirt.

house cleaning

It seems – and it is – unbearable, but for whatever reason, either because you are afraid of someone worse or because you don’t have any other options, you are stuck with that person. So how do you live with such a person? How do you cope with his or her habits?

• Try to be understanding.
An attempt at empathy is the humane thing to do. See his or her point of view, see the world through foreign eyes and try to understand. Why that person does what he or she does? Is he/she just a slob or does he/she have a point? An exercise in understanding will get at least a normal conversation going and making friends with that person can at take at least some of the stigma away.


• Frequent confrontations.
Every time your roommate hides your cleaning products or swaps your plastic bottle with a glass one (which you typically break within first contact), you need to have a confrontation. Ignoring the problem will not make it go away, and you need to make yourself heard. Talk out every problem you have with your roommate and if you have to, do it again and again, until you see some comprehension on his or her face. Just as you are trying to be understanding, ask for the same of him/her.

cleaning responsibilities

• Do the home cleaning while he/she is away.
While your roommate is extremely green, he/she still hasn’t grown roots. That person will go outside eventually and this is your time to act. Do carpet cleaning and window cleaning however you like, use whatever cleaners and detergents you prefer and there will be nobody to stop you, and better yet, your roommate cannot undo the house cleaning. There will be an argument and plenty of pouting and resentment, but at a certain point you have to choose between cleanliness and friendliness. For the sake of your health, choose the former.

floor cleaning

A green roommate can be a source of great annoyance, especially if his or her stubbornness is getting in the way of healthy living despite what he or she believes. Tolerance and understanding will only get you so far, so at a certain point you need to take action, and if you will not be heard, then the cleaning problem should become his/hers and not yours. Stand your ground and get the room clean before the germ and insect infestations start.

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