The most important elevator etiquette rules. Avoid the worst mistakes you can make in an elevator.


What elevator etiquette is

Elevator etiquette is the set of rules to appropriately use an elevator. It includes how to get on an elevator, how to stay on it, and how to leave it.

Follow elevator rules to stay safe and respect others.

General elevator etiquette principles

Elevator etiquette is based on two major underlying principles. 

  • Facilitate transit.
  • Avoid behavior that can disrespect other persons.
Elevator etiquette.  How to get in, stand, and exit an elevator. Etiquette principles to interact with others on an elevator.

Elevator etiquette rules

1) Etiquette to get into an elevator

First, do not use the elevator if you can avoid it. Climbing the stairs is a great exercise and frees the elevator for those who need it. 

Thus, if you are going up to the 3rd floor, consider the stairs. Taking the elevator to get to the 1st floor is against etiquette. Exceptions are persons with reduced mobility or carrying heavy items.  

Respect the line to get into an elevator. Wait on the side of the door. Once the door opens, first allow people to exit the elevator. Let elderly persons, adults with children, or anyone with reduced mobility get in first.

Push the button for your floor as you get into the elevator. 

Do not try to get into an elevator when the doors are already closing.

Do not take the elevator in the case of an emergency. Such as fire or earthquake. 

2) How to manage your belongings in an elevator

Take your backpack or bags off your shoulders to save space. Keep them on the floor. 

Place any bulky item or luggage where they do not impede others. Ideally, place them near the elevator walls. Alternatively, keep them near or between your legs. Do not place them in front of the elevator door. 

Be careful with wet or soiled items. Such as a wet umbrella. Avoid touching others with such items.

3) How to stand in an elevator

The general rule is to maximize the distance between persons. First, occupy the corners of the elevator. If the corners are occupied, stand on the sides. Keep the side with the buttons last. Finally, occupy the center. 

Avoid standing right in front of the door if you can avoid it. If you stand in front of the door, be ready to get out of the elevator on every floor to let others out. 

Stand still. Avoid any unnecessary movement. 

Always face the door. However, in a small elevator, this could be awkward. In such cases, face the side of the elevator opposite you. 

4) How to dress in an elevator 

It is good etiquette to remove your hat before getting into an elevator. 

5) Respect others & their personal space

Do your best to avoid touching others. 

Normally, it is good etiquette to hold the door. However, do not hold the door if the elevator is already full, during rush hours, or in busy transit areas such as the subway.

Avoid bringing food or drinks in. In any case, do not eat or drink in an elevator. If you spill food or a drink, clean after yourself.

Limit noise. Listen to music strictly with your headphones on. Speak softly. Avoid talking on the phone.

Smoking or vaping is forbidden. 

6) Elevator etiquette for kids

Kids should follow the same elevator rules as adults. 

7) Elevator rules for pets

Keep your pets on a leash or hold them. Limit the space they occupy and their movement. It is best to avoid bringing your pets into a full elevator, as they may disturb others.

8) Etiquette to exit an elevator

Pay attention and get ready to exit the elevator as it approaches your floor. Exit quickly.

Avoid touching others. If someone is standing between you and the door, ask them politely to let you out.

elevator etiquette mistakes

Elevator etiquette: the worst mistakes

The Rude Index identifies and ranks negative behaviors. 

A high score (8-10) means that the behavior has the potential to trigger a conflict with others. A medium score (4-7) means that the behavior risks making you look inelegant and unsophisticated. More about the Rude Index and its methodology here.  

Avoid the worst elevator etiquette mistakes. 

  • 8/10. Pushing others.
  • 7/10. Using the elevator when you can avoid it.
  • 7/10. Speaking loudly.
  • 5/10. Standing in the wrong position.
  • 4/10. Eating or drinking on the elevator.
  • 4/10. Placing your belongings wrong.


  • Daily stair climbing is associated with decreased risk for the metabolic syndrome: