Dating Deal Breakers—Home Edition

Here are ten ways your home is frightening your dates.

Amanda Thomas
6-minute read
Episode #161

It’s been a long time since I’ve dated, but I have a few friends who are single and have recently heard some horror stories about going to their date’s home for the first time. I thought it would be fun to talk about some of the deal breakers, or at least mood killers, that my friends have found when visiting their date’s home for the first time.

To be perfectly honest, my female friends could name many more mood killers than my male friends, but the men did have a few. One of my guy friends referenced the “Dirty Girl” episode of Friends, where Ross walks into his very well put together date’s apartment, and it’s so dirty she doesn’t even know where to find her pet hamster. Other than absolute filth, most of the guys I talked with claimed to be able to look past quite a bit. That’s good for women, but bad for the guys because, according to the women I spoke with, that may actually show in the condition of the guys’ homes.

Since most of my readers are women, I am going to ask you to share this with the young men in your life, especially the ones under 25. It appears that young men progress out of the frat lifestyle during their early 20s, but many times, it’s because they are learning the hard way that ladies don’t like to be in gross apartments. Share this episode with the single guys in your life, and hopefully they won’t scare off any more lady friends!.


Whether you are bringing a date to your house for dinner, or to get down and dirty, it doesn’t matter. The items on this list all have the potential to be dating deal breakers and came straight from people who have not returned for another date. Let’s get started:

1.) Filth

Hands down, a filthy home is a deal breaker for many people. Most women I asked said that they are never expecting perfection from a guy’s place, but they are expecting to be able to use the bathroom without feeling like they need to bathe in bleach afterwards. Likewise, many of the guys named nasty kitchens as a red flag in relationships. Piles of dirty (or molding!) dishes are perceived as a sign of laziness. Again, neither gender is expecting perfection, but no one wants to think they need a tetanus shot to hang in your house.

2.) Trash

Trash was actually named separately than filth by many people I spoke with. Overflowing trash cans were again perceived as laziness, as was trash being strewn around the home. Most women said they have a tough time focusing on their date when they are distracted by dirty tissues on counters instead of trash cans, food wrappers on the floor, and empty beer cans all over the house. Oh, and seeing a condom wrapper ANYWHERE or used feminine product outside the bathroom trash can will immediately kill the mood. The fact that these were mentioned specifically means there are people out there who need to hear this message!

3.) Odors

Strong or strange odors, including smoke smells, were a common turn off named by both men and women. Keeping your place clean and taking out the trash on a regular basis will help keep most odors at bay, but there are still times you can become nose blind to the smells in your own place. The next time you have a brutally honest friend visit your home, ask her if she smells anything funky just to be sure. The worst thing you can do is try to cover up a smell in your home with super strong air fresheners. That can be almost equally offensive for some people, so err on the side of a light scent or no scent at all in your home.

4.) Dirty Sheets

Guys, listen up. Almost every woman said this was a date ender. If you are lucky to have built enough rapport to get a girl to agree to go to your bedroom, don’t blow it by having nasty sheets on your bed. No woman wants to know exactly where you sleep in your bed by seeing the dingy grey blob from lack of washing, or food crumbs. And let me put this carefully: NO woman wants to see “evidence” that you’ve had other people in your bed. So, guys, if there is even a 1% chance that you’ll bring a lady back to your place, change the sheets and make up the bed just enough to not freak her out.

I found it very interesting that no men mentioned dirty sheets as a turn off. This may be because women do a great job of washing their linens on a regular basis, but it could also be because men are more focused on the pretty lady in front of them than the dirty sheets around her. I have my assumptions, but I’ll let you come to your own conclusion.

5.) No Common Ground

There’s not much you can do about this one, but it is worth noting that your dates are looking for common ground when they visit your home. From books to pictures of your favorite hobbies, it’s a good idea to have things out that let your date know who you are. These items can open up new conversations, which help you develop a stronger bond with the person you brought home.

 6.) Controversial Stuff

Porn isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but seeing a stack of it may be on the first visit to a date’s place. Drugs and weapons are under the same category of controversial stuff. Until you know that the person who is coming over is into those items, assume they wouldn’t be comfortable with them and put them in a closet until you have a conversation to see where each of you stand.

7.) Pets

Whoa, pets can freak out a date? Most of the people I spoke with, both men and women, felt that pets in general were OK, but pets who lacked proper care or discipline were a turn off. Women even went so far as to mention that a pet’s lack of grooming made them question the pet owner’s grooming habits. And things like excessive fur on furniture, cat tracks on counters, and dirty pee pads made people feel like a little more effort should go into cleaning up after the pets.

8.) Being TOO Clean

While everyone mentioned that they wanted their date’s place to be clean, it also became obvious that no one wanted the cleanliness to be a distraction. If you are a super clean person, your dates may not appreciate that you ask them to clean up any of their hairs that dropped on the floor, or that you gave them a lecture on how to wash dishes after dinner. Being unwilling to compromise on cleanliness for even just one night was a red flag for some people, both men and women, because they thought it was a sign of stubbornness.

9.) Dirty Laundry

We all have had weeks (or months!) where we’ve gotten behind on laundry, so it’s good to know that no one was judging their dates for having dirty laundry piles. When it starts to become offensive to both the females and males that I asked was when the laundry pile took on a life of its own. If your laundry pile can’t be contained in a closet or a couple baskets, or if it has a noticeable stench, take a couple hours and get it done before bringing a date back to your house.

Oh, and there was one thing that only women seemed to point out and that was smelly towels. Guys, please know that if a lady washes her hands in your bathroom, the last thing she wants her hands to smell like after using the towel is your sweaty body. Make sure to have a clean(ish) hand towel available for her to use at all times. That’s good manners for any guest, but especially a person you’re trying to impress.

10.) Clutter

For this last item, it’s again important to note that no one is expecting perfection, but having all your horizontal surfaces full of clutter could be distracting to your date. If you haven’t seen the “Dirty Girl” Friends episode clip, now is the time to watch it and get an idea of what your date is thinking if you bring him back to a super cluttered space. Use that as motivation to get rid of the clutter in your place, once and for all.

Those were the main complaints I got from the friends I asked. Are there any that are missing? Post them on my Facebook wall, or share them in the comment section below.

Until next time, I’m the Domestic CEO, helping you love your home.