With summer break on the horizon, most students and parents aren’t thinking about the upcoming fall semester. But with the way COVID disrupted the lives of so many over the past year, and things starting to resume normalcy in the coming months, freshmen are as excited as ever to move into their dorm rooms. But that also means freshmen leaving their dorms are just as eager as ever to get out of their dorms (and probably not in the cleanest manner either).
Despite things getting back to the way they were, predictably parents are going to be more concerned for their children’s safety, and that starts with where most freshmen are living: the dorms. Universities will typically clean dorm rooms and common areas, but with our collectively heightened sense of awareness about hygiene and cleanliness, you can never be too safe.
It’s better to spend a little more time on the front-end to give yourself and your family peace of mind about your safety. So with that being said, read our tips below for best practices to clean your dorm room on move-in or move-out day.
Wiping Down Surfaces
Different surfaces require different cleaners, so it’s not a bad idea to have a couple of different options at your disposal. If your desk and bed frame is wooden, it stands to reason that wood cleaner is your best best to get them clean. If your furniture is slightly older, and made of metal, then traditional cleaners should work just fine. Opt for a multipurpose cleaner for nearly all of your surfaces, sans wood.
Because there’s a difference between cleaning and disinfecting, if you want to exercise caution, use commercial-grade disinfectant on surfaces to ensure that all germs and pathogens have been eliminated. You should also use this disinfectant on your mini-fridge, and throw a small box of baking soda in there so it does not develop a poor smell.
Cleaning the Floors
Once you’ve rid the room of all the physical matter on the floor, it’s time to break out the vacuum and mop and apply a little elbow grease! Most college dorm room floors have taken on years of abuse from shoes, spilled alcohol, and food, so there’s likely to be a few tough stains to get out. Consider a cleaning solution with bleach for your tile or hardwood floors, but make sure there is open airflow to the room while you are cleaning. Most dorm rooms are 200-300 square feet, and too many bleach particles in the air could make you light-headed. I always went over new floors twice to ensure everything is purged, for nothing other than the peace of mind.
Giving attention to the floors is as simple as three steps: sweep, vacuum, and mop. Give special attention to corners and alleys where dust and crumbs can collect (under beds, desks and your mini-fridge) when sweeping to ensure there is not any fodder for roaches or mice to get comfortable in your room. A handheld vacuum should do the trick.
Don’t Forget About the Bathroom
While some college freshmen are mature enough to keep a regimented cleaning schedule, many are not, and that fact is made evident when you look at the bathrooms. This is probably the room that will require the most cleaning time, when you consider the toilet, showers, floor, sink, and mirror. As for cleaning supplies, you’ll need bleach, disinfectant, gloves, a scrub brush, a mop, and either cleaning wipes or a rag.
Tackle the shower and sink first. If a college shower isn’t properly cleaned, it could give way to spreading funguses or viruses like athletes foot or staph infection. So wipe down all surfaces and appliances including walls, floors, and the shower head.
Make sure you disinfect and polish the shower and sink head as well to give it that shine. From there you can transition to the mirror. A simple glass cleaner and wipe should keep it clean for a few weeks. Next, I’d tackle the toilet and toilet bowl. Wipe down the exterior with disinfectant and tackle the inside with bleach and a toilet scrub. After you’ve cleared out any mold, it might be a good idea to leave a disinfecting pod to help maintain cleanliness in-between cleaning days.
Experts recommend doing the floors last, so you don’t track dirt or mud after you’ve cleaned them. Follow the same routine for your common area floors for best results: sweep, vacuum, then mop.
Develop a Cleaning Schedule
Now that you’ve done the hard part, and had your first deep clean of the year, the easy part is just maintaining the cleanliness. While it can feel a bit daunting at first, college is all about building, curating, and tweaking a routine that makes you happiest. At first glance, cleaning doesn’t sound like a task that brings joy, but the satisfaction of walking into a clean dorm room after a long day in the library or with your friends is immense. So you could break your cleaning tasks down into three buckets: daily, weekly, and monthly.
Daily tasks include things like picking up clutter and washing dishes. Meanwhile, you can save things like laundry, sweeping, and taking out the trash as a weekly task. But the bigger projects, like dusting, mopping, and wiping down appliances should be completed once a month. The easiest way to keep yourself honest is by marking it in your planner or calendar and sticking to it. It only takes 30 days to build a routine, so if you are diligent early on, you’ll thank yourself down the road. Additionally, it’s always nice to give your room a nice deep clean before long breaks so you come back to school to a clean home.
Cleaning is never fun. But it doesn’t have to be dreadful! But being confident and proud of yourself for building a strong routine and completing tasks can be rewarding enough to be fun. It’s also part of the growing process associated with college. If you have a roommate, have the conversation early and delegate responsibilities. Most importantly, hold up your end of the bargain so there is no chance for friction to develop.