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.
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.
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.
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.
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.