Why Don’t Hotels Provide Toothpaste?

You'd think it would go with the shampoo and soap, wouldn't you?

Packing for a trip can be stressful, and we’ve all forgotten to grab something from time to time. So it can definitely be a weight off your mind when you remember that you don’t have to grab any shampoo, conditioner, or soap, because the hotel bathroom will almost definitely be stocked with those. In fact, toiletries are some of the things you should immediately check for in your hotel room.

Likewise, if you intended to bring those things but forgot them, those little bottles can be a life-saver (or at least hygiene-saver). Unfortunately, though, if it’s toothpaste you forgot, your hotel bathroom won’t have you covered there. Why don’t hotels provide toothpaste?

According to Janet Semenova, co-founder of Boutique Travel Advisors, this is one of the most major secrets hotels won’t tell you. “This is a contested topic, as hotels don’t truly disclose the reason that they do not provide toothbrushes/toothpaste,” she told RD.com. “There are a few reasons, however, that are frequently given by hotels.” No matter where you go, your toothpaste will be mint-flavored–this is why.

One of the reasons is the price of toothpaste. “For standard hotels, toothpaste is considered an expensive amenity,” Semenova explains. When they’re already providing several different things, these regular-tier hotels don’t want to splurge on toothpaste for every guest.

More luxurious hotels also have their own reasoning for not providing toothpaste. “High-end hotels, especially the AAA Five Diamond Hotels…have very strict requirements on what they must provide to all hotel guests,” says Semenova. These provisions are the usual: shampoo, a shower cap, soaps, a hairdryer, and a few others. But when you’re dealing with a very nice hotel, these items have to meet a certain standard of quality. “In order to differentiate themselves, most high-end hotels spend significant amounts of money on providing high-end, high-quality toiletries and luxurious bath products,” Semenova says. When it comes to toothpaste, there simply aren’t any “luxury” brands that go above and beyond in that way. And since hotels are not required to provide toothpaste to begin with, “the five-star hotels forego the unnecessary expense and invest more in the other required products,” per Semenova.

Semenova reminds travelers, though, that while you won’t find toothpaste in your room, the front desk probably will give you some for free if you just ask for it. The same goes for items like toothbrushes, shaving cream, and other toiletry staples. The bottom line, according to Semenova? “Travelers shouldn’t be afraid to ask!” Now that you know why hotels don’t provide guests with toothpaste, find out the answers to 10 more things you’ve always wondered about hotels.

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Meghan Jones
Meghan Jones is a word nerd who has been writing for RD.com since 2017. You can find her byline on pieces about grammar, fun facts, the meanings of various head-scratching words and phrases, and more. Meghan graduated from Marist College with a Bachelor of Arts in English in 2017; her creative nonfiction piece “Anticipation” was published in the Spring 2017 issue of Angles literary magazine.