Do You Hoard Complimentary Hotel Toiletries?

Complimentary Hotel Toiletries

Now I’m not trying to be racist (can I be racist towards my own kind?) so let me try to ask this in the most delicate manner that I can: is it an Asian thing that Asian mothers take as many toiletries as they can from hotel rooms?

You see, when I was growing up, each time I got to stay in a hotel with my parents, when it’s time to pack up and leave, my mum would turn on the Sweeper mode and sweep up all the complimentary toiletries from the hotel room. Her excuse? “You can always use them later. It’s free, don’t waste!

Hahaha, oh mum. Well, it’s true, they are free so why not, eh? So, for years and years, each time I had the opportunity to stay at a hotel, I made sure to clear out their tray of bath salts, shower gel, shampoo, conditioner, body lotions, razors, shower caps, combs, toothbrush, toothpaste, soap and whatever else I can bring home. I hoard and I hoard ’em good. Hello, they’re free? Don’t waste!

How low is your opinion of me right now? πŸ˜›

Complimentary Hotel Toiletries

Yet, the thing is, I end up never using the shower gels, shampoos, conditioners, soaps, razors and so on. I don’t know where they’re from, if they were from generic brands and if they were mixed with goodness knows what other ingredients. Most of the hotel shower gels I’ve used are quite drying on the skin and so are the shampoos and conditioners. Heck, I even caught Mum’s stash of hoarded hotel toiletries once and not only were they unused, I can remember some of them dated back to at least 10 years ago! I asked her why she kept taking them if she never even used them. You got it. “It’s free. Don’t waste. Plus you can always bring them with you the next time you travel“. Right, to another hotel, where you’ll end up bringing even more back!

Ahh so many LOLs right now.

Someone I know (won’t tell you who, in case that person reads my blog. It’s not Mum. Phew!) even takes the tissue boxes and toilet paper back from hotels. Toilet paper! I’m not even kidding.

I’ve stopped hoarding hotel toiletries since then. The only items I’d take with me are shower caps and disposable toothbrushes. I usually leave the rest behind because I really don’t need them. I prefer my own hair and body care products anyway.

Complimentary Hotel Toiletries

Having said that, I went a bit on a hoarding rampage when I stayed at Japanese hotels during my recent holiday. The Japanese really know how to take care of their customers, especially female travellers. I’m not even talking about men’s straight combs. They provide foldable hairbrushes (great for the purse), cotton buds, cotton pads, hair ties, bobby pins, facial masks, body loofahs and so on. So, erm, I did a very Asian thing and hoarded them back to Melbourne with me. It’s no wonder we ran out of space in our luggage! If airport security were to open our bag, they’ll see packets of hairbrushes, shower caps, body loofahs and toothbrushes spilling out.


Hey, just like Mum said, right? It’s free. Don’t waste. πŸ˜›

Do you hoard hotel toiletries? What’s the best thing you’ve seen provided by a hotel for free?

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51 comments… add one
  1. LeGeeque

    I’m selective with hoarding. Like you, I only pick what I know I would use. Shower gels and body wash definitely not because liquids leak and they add on to the weight. Stuff like cotton pads, hair ties and cotton buds, yes because I leave them at work for emergencies. I love those hair brushes by the way πŸ˜‰

    1. Tine

      Those hair brushes are awesome. They’re usually the ones you’ll need to buy from the pharmacy, and such good quality too! I hoard shower caps like gold because I use them so much and buying plastic hair covers just seem silly. πŸ˜› Ahem, does that mean you’re going to bring back all those hair brushes too when you’re there? πŸ˜‰

  2. Cel

    Oh gosh, I am embarrassed to say that I take the tissue/toilet paper too. I get to use what I hoard though, for school trips and such. Right now I actually prefer a toothbrush I took from from a hotel rather than my electric toothbrush, it’s weird haha

    1. Tine

      Hahaha no judgment here, I promise! Once I nicked an entire box of tissues just because it’s from Kleenex. Ahem. πŸ˜›

      Hey, if that hotel toothbrush works for you, all the better! Save money on charging that electric toothbrush, I say. Muahahaha!

  3. Issy

    hahahaha – my mother does this too! There have even been times where she has “gifted” me the hotel toiletries she’s taken! Maybe it’s a mother thing? :o)

    I used to take them, but I don’t any more. I’ve found that I never use them anyway, so I’d rather not have them kicking around my house. If there is something useful tucked in the toiletries (like a shower cap) then I may take that if I need it.

    1. Tine

      Confession (and OMG I can’t believe I’m saying this): I once emptied my bottle of cheap shower gel and pumped the hotel’s Molton Brown into that bottle for me to take home (the hotel’s came in a large bottle). Oh the shame! And I’d do it again! πŸ˜›

  4. Wendy@BlushandBarbells

    I’m not going to judge – I’m staying at a Hilton for work and the toiletries are from Peter Thomas Roth, good stuff!
    I may or may not be putting the ones I don’t use in my suitcase…
    Wendy@BlushandBarbells recently posted..Sunday SocialMy Profile

    1. Tine

      Good gosh, Peter Thomas Roth?? That, I’d take home, soap bar and all! πŸ˜€

  5. xin

    ooops! i am another one who is guilty of hoarding toilet paper, but to my defense, i usually use them up to wipe things. i don’t hoard the rest back though, except for cotton buds. and the Intercon hotel we stayed in manila, the verbena shower gels were so awesome i even asked for a few more bottles. LOL! and I told them, oh i like to shower a lot! #aunties

    1. Tine

      KAKAKAKAKAKA!!! I’d do the same! πŸ˜€

  6. Bugs

    I don’t travel a lot to begin with and all toiletries provided were generic brand. I used to sweep everything and never use any of them, and have just cleared my collection to clean the toilet. Haha! Now, I’ll take what I’ll use. Another thing, if the bottles are with flip cap, then I’ll surely bring it back as I can reuse the bottle with my own lotion and cream. I’m a packaging person.

    1. Tine

      Oh that’s a clever one. Good idea to keep the packaging for future decanting use! I never thought of that. Thanks for the tip!

  7. Cheryl from BusinessChic

    When my boyfriend-at-the-time asked if I minded if we took the hotel toiletries home with us, I knew he was the one πŸ˜‰ We have gone on to buy the full-size version of products that we were introduced to in hotels e.g. L’Occitane soaps and bodywashes are so gorgeously scented!
    Cheryl from BusinessChic recently posted..Read: ManRepeller, The Collective, #GirlBossMy Profile

    1. Tine

      Gee, where are these hotels I keep hearing about that stock L’Occitane toiletries?? That I’d sweep, soap bars and all. I may or may not ask for more. Ahem. πŸ˜›

  8. Megs

    I used to hoard everything but I stay in hotels so frequently that I just end up with way too much stuff! Now I’m a lot more selective and will just take the shower cap and toothbrush if there’s one there. If the hotel uses nice brands like Crabtree and Evelyn or L’Occitane then I’ll take the toiletries!
    Megs recently posted..Boe Beauty First ImpressionsMy Profile

    1. Tine

      Wow Crabtree & Evelyn? Fancy hotel, that one! The fanciest I’ve had stocked Molton Brown and I may or may not have emptied out my bottle of cheap shower gel, pumped the Molton Brown shower gel into my bottle and, er, take it home with me. Housekeeping must have thought this customer must really, REALLY like showering! πŸ˜›

  9. Norlin

    Actually…you’re wrong. It’s NOT free, you’ve paid for it in terms of the room charges so hello…take lah! πŸ˜‰ Wow! I wished all hotels were that generous and thoughtful of their female patrons. Those toiletries look awesome!!
    Norlin recently posted..Random Monday: Dressing Up to Dress DownMy Profile

    1. Tine

      Hahaha you’re right! I paid for them! Damn, should have nicked more Molton Brown in the previous hotel. Kakakaka! πŸ˜›

  10. Jelena

    Hi tine, yep I love hotel shower caps! I take it everyday so they keep topping them up! They’re the best, way better than any you buy at a shop! Also will take the ear buds or cotton pads. As Wendy said above, hilton gives you Peter Thomas Roth products, even my husband swipes that body wash they give, do try it if you like zesty citrus scents, now we keep the mini to refill from the big one, which we now re purchase forever thanks to that hotel for getting us onto it!

    1. Tine

      I always take home hotel shower caps. I’ll keep all the ones they leave at the bathroom, use just one and when they replenish it the next day, I keep them again. Sometimes I even nick a couple from the cart outside the room! This is how I hoard my shower caps. πŸ˜›

      Right, on to convincing the husband to stay at a Hilton next!

  11. Leire

    Hahaha, the hoarding seems more a mother thing than an asian thing, because I am spanish and my mom used to do it all the time. At the end we are all the same. She always says that you paid for it with the room, so it’s yours. Now I only take some stuff that I think I really will use. I also went to Japan a couple of months ago and I loved the toiletries, I was amazed that all hotels had facial foam, I had never seen that in Europe. And the soap and shampoo seemed better quality than the ones in European hotels. The facial masks I didn’t hoard them, but I used them there at the hotels :D. However, there were no shower caps in any hotel I went, luckily for me I had one from a hotel in the Netherlands I went some time ago. I guess Japanese women wash their hair everyday?

    1. Tine

      Hahaha that’s exactly what mum would say! “We paid for it!” Very true though. I agree, the quality of the toiletries in Japanese hotels are pretty good. I decided not to bring my shower gel and shampoo this time just to save on space and weight and it worked out very well because the ones we had at the hotels were from Kao and they were really good.

  12. Chelsea

    I generally don’t take hotel toiletries because the soaps give me dermatitis. I remember as a kid, though, taking them as my Dad would always take them (They’re free!), and never used them. I will take cotton buds or little items like that, because they’re in little packets that are so handy for travel and you don’t always get them in hotels πŸ™‚
    Chelsea recently posted..It’s Time To Say FarewellMy Profile

    1. Tine

      Ouch, that’s not good. Better stay away from the soaps then. I find the soap bars very drying and rarely use them unless I really have to.

  13. Efrain

    Well, now I think my theory that Asians and Mexicans are more similar than we think, first almost all Mexicans prefer to stay pale than tan, and now you tell that you hoard toiletries like us (I’m crying of happiness); so I think I’ve answered your question.

    Now I’m in the search of an hotel that have some luxury toiletries.
    Efrain recently posted..Los imprescindibles en belleza cuando falta tiempoMy Profile

    1. Tine

      HAHAHAHA well there you go! *high five* πŸ˜€

  14. Victoria

    I use to hoard toiletries from the hotels I stay especially if it was from L’Occitane. I was staying in Four Seasons Doha for 1.5 months for work in 2011 and the long stay customers were given Acqua di Parma and short stay gets L’Occitane. I think I must have kept them for more than 3 years before finally deciding to throw them away. I have since stopped hoarding stuff because I know I will never use them. I do not mind taking home shower caps and perhaps even sanitary bags because they are pretty useful.

    My mum on the other hand is hilarious. She recently returned from Jakarta where she stayed at Shangri-La hotel. She hoarded home the 3-1 coffee, creamer and sugar. She also thought the jams in mini bottles at the coffee house were free as well and she must have brought back at least 30-40 bottles. Suffice to say, the staff at the coffee house were extremely cross with my mum for doing this. I told her later that those jam bottles were not free as they did not come from the hotel rooms. I had such a good time laughing about it. LOL.

    1. Tine

      Acqua di Parma?? OMG really?? That is so awesome! HAHAHAHAHA your mum certainly is hilarious! I’ve hoarded coffee and tea from hotel rooms too. Basically anything that isn’t in the mini bar list or isn’t nailed on any surface is fair game. Ahem. Hee hee! πŸ˜›

  15. Angie

    I justify it by telling myself that they’ve built the price of the toiletries/beauty prods into the room rate, so I don’t feel so nasty about taking home the stash hehehe. Especially at Palazzo Versace on the GC, there’s no way I’m leaving without my mini bottle of Versace perfume and bubble bath at those room rates! πŸ™‚
    Angie recently posted..Beauty Battle: Tangle Teezer VS The Wet BrushMy Profile

    1. Tine

      Ohhh well in that case, don’t mind if I bring an extra bag with me to take home all those Versace goodies if I’m ever staying at the Palazzo Versace! πŸ˜‰

  16. Irean

    I do hoard those hotel toiletries too! Haha…great post you have there! On my upcoming trip I will be staying at Disneyland hotel, so I can start imagine myself grabbing all the cute Disney ‘goodies’. They are hard to resist thou! Haha πŸ˜€

    1. Tine

      OMG Disney toiletries! I will hoard every soap and shampoo, I tell ya! Maybe even nick more from the cart. Kekeke! πŸ˜›

  17. Beth and Beauty

    I worked for a hotel at the front desk and since then, I don’t want any of their shampoo, soap etc…LOL! Only things I want from the ones I have stayed at is the pillows, comforter, towels and they charge you for them now……LOL! Now, if I stayed in one that had the body loofas, hairbrushes, toothbrushes then I would probably join in!
    Beth and Beauty recently posted..How to get a great nights sleep! Pamper yourself!My Profile

    1. Tine

      Oh man, the pillows! The 1000 thread count sheets! The soft-like-down towels! Ahh it would be most dangerous if those were allowed to be taken home. The hotel would bankrupt! πŸ˜›

  18. Julie

    I thought I was the only one who loves getting toiletries at hotels etc. Never knew that we are many and mostly girls hahahaha. I sometimes do this for remembrance that I have been there or sometimes I like the hotel’s toiletries.
    Julie recently posted..Do Eyelashes Grow Back After They’ve Fallen Out?My Profile

    1. Tine

      Haha yeah they do make good souvenirs. I’ve done that many times too. πŸ™‚

  19. Shamim de Varax

    I absolutely take the little toiletries, they’re so useful when I go on trips that don’t involve hotels- like hello, who would bring a whole toothpaste with them? The small tiny portable ones with a complimentary toothbrush is fantastic! and if there were some nice products, those are coming too……lotions and soaps are always useful…..heheheh
    Shamim de Varax recently posted..SDV Reviews: SHU UEMURA Cleansing OilsMy Profile

    1. Tine

      Hahaha I keep the tiny tubes of toothpastes too! Use and chuck at the end of the trips, so easy! πŸ˜€

  20. Beauty Box

    LOLOLOL!! OMG Tine, I laughed so hard. Actually my dad was the one who told me to keep hotel toiletries whenever we travelled. He said (and I quote him word for word), “The hotel WANTS you to take their toiletries home β€” it’s a form of marketing for them!” LOL – and I also formed the habit way into adulthood when I started travelling on my own. But I agree, hotel amenities tend to be very drying on the skin and hair so I stopped hoarding them since I prefer my own stuff, even if it’s for one or two nights, I will pack everything from shampoo to shower gel. Even hotels with branded toiletries like L’Occitane or Bliss, or even Molton Brown, I just think they are inferior to their retail products. I feel like they use a more economical formula hencewhy they are not beneficial to your skin and hair. But I would take teeny tiny toothpastes, hair ties, and sewing kits. πŸ˜‰
    Beauty Box recently posted..Sephora Haul In NYCMy Profile

    1. Tine

      Hehehe well your dad’s right, so I shouldn’t feel guilty about nicking more pens, notepads and toiletries from the cart, right? Hello, free advertising for them, man! πŸ˜›

      The one boutique hotel that used Molton Brown, oh that was definitely the real shizz. So real that I had to empty my existing bottle of shower gel (ie use them very generously in subsequent showers) and then, erm, refill from the the full-sized Molton Brown ones. I can’t believe how much Asian in me was showing that day! πŸ˜›

  21. Joyce (bronzerbunny)

    sometimes i keep them if they’re nice – had molton brown on a recent stay, but i didn’t have them refill them or anything so I just took home what i didn’t finish. i’ve definitely hoarded some before but sometimes i wonder what the hotels do with them? Like, do they keep them and reuse them? Or do they have to toss them once they’ve been in a room? If so, then i’ll def hoard them lol and try to find someone to use them if i decide i wont lol. Those packaged combs and things seem super handy! the average US hotel definitely don’t provide that sort of thing.
    Joyce (bronzerbunny) recently posted..June RecapMy Profile

    1. Tine

      I have absolutely no idea! I often wonder too. E.g. the ones that come in small individual tubes. Often there’ll be half-used ones left. I wonder what hotels do with them. Use a syringe or something to refill (since the holes are so small)? Or just throw them away, which is a real waste? Hmm…

      1. Joyce (bronzerbunny)

        Right?? I feel like sometimes they have to throw it away, bc then you don’t know if the guest did something to the items? I don’t know!! AHHH. Perhaps this is why they’ve packaged everything in Japan, so they know if it can be reused or not!! Lol
        Joyce (bronzerbunny) recently posted..June RecapMy Profile

        1. Tine

          In Japan, I have a feeling they chuck everything, half-used or not. They’re a stickler for newness and perfection; I don’t think they’ll be refilling it. I reckon that’s why a lot of hotels in Japan use full-sized products instead of the smaller travel-sized tubes. Less to throw away maybe?

  22. Didi

    Its okay , we’ve all done it. I used to hoard those small tiny soaps and scented tissue/wipes from airplanes! ops πŸ˜€

    1. Tine

      Me too! I used to nick toothbrushes and omg I can’t believe I’m even admitting this, sanitary napkins from the plane. Oh for shame! πŸ˜›

  23. belinda

    i do this as well…. i am caucasian so don’t think it’s restricted to Asians… however, the past 5 years, i have been collecting them, and then donating them all to old peoples homes, and orphanages throughout asia …these people truly appreciate such a small gesture… just an idea πŸ™‚

    1. Tine

      That’s a fantastic idea Belinda! I never thought of collecting them and donating them! These days, I usually just leave the shower gels, etc (anything heavier than a shower cap) behind. But that’s a great idea, donating them. I’ll definitely keep that in mind the next time I stay at a hotel. Thanks! πŸ˜€

      1. belinda

        welcome tine! ps just saw you hate baked beans! lol x

        1. Tine

          Yeah I really don’t like them. Really REALLY don’t like them. Erm, sorry if you do! πŸ˜› x

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