Blue top spray bottle, cleaning brush, green dish soap, and rags in white caddy

8 Important Steps for Your Dorm Spring Cleaning

Spring is in the air, and so should be the fresh scent of a clean dorm! Follow these steps to get your room in tip-top shape with some spring cleaning.

Your college years will be some of the best, especially if you ensure you feel at home on campus. Living in a dorm allows you to connect with new friends and provides a home base for your late-night hangouts. The only downside is that the small space can get messy fast—and you have to keep it clean yourself (or with a roommate). Spring is a great time to refresh your surroundings, so use this dorm room cleaning guide to tidy up the place and keep it that way!

1. Restock your cleaning supplies

For students in apartment-style residences, scrubbing your shower tiles or kitchen sink will take a long time if your cleaning products are ineffective. The first step to dorm cleaning is stocking up on the best supplies at your local grocery store for maximum cleanliness at a minimum cost. Compare sprays and solutions that safely sanitize multiple surfaces, like bleach-free products that easily cut through grime. You won’t spend as much time scrubbing, and you’ll remove any bacterial growth from shared surfaces.

2. Organize your drawers

Although spring cleaning traditionally involves sanitizing living spaces, it also includes decluttering. Major cleaning should cover all the basics, including organizing, dusting, picking up clutter, and sanitizing to remove potential health threats like mold growth. As you learn about the importance of cleaning your dorm room, keep in mind that your organizational efforts count too. Reorganizing your drawers and tidying your clothes storage or school supplies is an essential part of making your dorm room a nicer and more efficient place to live.

Related: 7 College Organization Tips From a Type A+ Student

3. Wash your fabric masks

COVID-19 remains a big concern for any student living on campus. You likely have a collection of masks hanging by your apartment or dorm room door, so don’t forget to throw them in the washing machine while you’re cleaning. It’s part of staying safe and considerate of your living space with your roommate. If you eliminate the risk of putting on a dirty mask when you’re leaving for class, you’ll remain healthier as the semester progresses.

4. Redefine your ground rules

Use your cleaning time to reflect on what caused your dorm room to become so messy in the first place. It’s also an excellent opportunity to redefine cleanliness rules with your roommate. Scheduling responsibilities like who dusts or vacuums every week will keep the peace in your dorm and make your spring cleaning efforts last longer than a couple of weeks. You and your roommate may have different cleanliness standards that make it difficult to live peaceably. Communicating your goals and finding common ground will help you both redefine your expectations and start a routine that keeps your dorm clean long-term.

Related: How to Make Your Own College Roommate Agreement

5. Establish a trash location

If you and your roommate have friends over frequently, you may end up with trash lying around. It can cause tension between roommates and make your dorm feel less comforting to you and your friends. Establish a permanent place to collect trash if your wastebasket can’t contain it all. An open cardboard box or plastic bin will hold more waste and can be easily transported to your campus trash facility. You’ll keep your dorm room cleaner and transform it into a hangout spot that welcomes everyone into a pristine, odorless environment.

6. Wipe down your windows

Staying healthy is the primary importance of cleaning your dorm room. Mold can grow on surfaces you’ve never thought about before, like the edges of your windows. Condensation creates the perfect environment for mold colonies to thrive, so wipe the glass and edges with anti-bacterial or anti-mold sprays. When mold lingers on dorm room surfaces, it can trigger asthma attacks or cause respiratory issues like wheezing and congestion. Look behind blinds and around any area with water buildup and make your room a healthier place to live.

Related: Video: How to Stay Healthy in College

7. Empty your fridge

When was the last time you threw out old food from your dorm refrigerator? As you clean your room, don’t forget to add the fridge to your routine. Toss any food that’s past its expiration date so it doesn’t cause mold growth or pest problems. Ensure any trash bags with old food also go in waste containers in your building immediately. Otherwise, they might linger by your trash can and cause the same health concerns. And once the fridge is cleaned out of old food, be sure to give the walls and shelves a good wipe down before putting any items you’re keeping back in.

8. Sanitize shared surfaces

Many common illnesses spread through shared surfaces. Your roommate might pick up a stomach bug while they’re in class one day and unknowingly leave the germs on the doorknobs and light switches when they return to your dorm. Sanitize any surfaces you and your roommate frequently touch to make your dorm cleaner. You should repeat this step when flu season peaks on campus or when you or your roommate falls ill.

Related: Sniffles and Strep: What to Do When You’re Sick at College

Now that you know the best way to clean your dorm room, create a checklist based on what you need to get done. A unit with a full kitchen and bathroom will require more steps than a traditional dorm room with just two beds and a minifridge. A personalized cleaning checklist will guide your efforts and help you make your living space into a healthier, more pleasant place to live.

For more general college living advice to get you through the rest of the year, check out our Student Life section.

Like what you’re reading?

Join the CollegeXpress community! Create a free account and we’ll notify you about new articles, scholarship deadlines, and more.

Join Now

campus life college students dorm life dorm rooms spring cleaning student life

About Ginger Abbot

Ginger Abbot is an education, learning and student life writer, as well as the Editor-in-Chief of Read more of her work for college students on her Classrooms author page.


Join our community of
over 5 million students!

CollegeXpress has everything you need to simplify your college search, get connected to schools, and find your perfect fit.

Join CollegeXpress
CollegeXpress Logo


Are you our next winner?

Register now for our scholarship giveaway

Priscilla Yeboah

Priscilla Yeboah


Throughout my search for colleges I was afraid and timid, but I finally found the college that was fit for me, and luckily, I got accepted. One of the most influential things that’s helped me a lot was the articles and advice on CollegeXpress. It’s helped me a lot and benefited me as a senior to make the right choices in life. Thank you!

Kory Gilbertson

Kory Gilbertson

High School Class of 2022

CollegeXpress has helped me explore my views on college in that "why do I wanna go to a certain school" way. It’s helped me explore the best fits in all of these outstanding choices. All these college admission counselors can access my accolades showing them how I could help their college. This source of information helps me show these admission directors who I am and what I'm interested in. Thanks to this platform, my experience for education will be better than most, and I'm so grateful for all that it has provided for me.

Casey Kammeyer

Casey Kammeyer

$500 Refer-A-Friend Scholarship Winner

I love the site CollegeXpress; it has been very helpful finding colleges and getting them to send me information. It has also been very, very helpful with finding tons of scholarships. Also, I told many of my friends about it and they love it as well!

Kelly Nogueiro

Kelly Nogueiro


For me, CollegeXpress has given me a valuable tool to use with my students to explore colleges easily beyond objective data. It helps me find colleges for students that fit their needs and wants that aren’t quite so black and white. It's a wealth of knowledge, and the Type-A side of me loves all the lists and the fact that I know they're coming from folks who know what they're talking about. I share it with colleagues and students alike, and it's always well received.

Rayan Hamdan

Rayan Hamdan


I joined CollegeXpress just a few months ago. I had been struggling with severe anxiety, causing me to not be able to tour schools and make sure a college would be perfect for me. I came across CollegeXpress one day when I was searching for colleges online, and it completely changed the game. I was easily able to choose colleges that would suit me, and I also entered a few giveaways! Thank you so much!

College Matches