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spring cleaning

Adulting Student Life

Best Practices to Clean Your Dorm Room On Move-In or Move-Out Day

June 23, 2021

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. 

Student Life

Spring Cleaning Tips for Your Dorm Room

April 24, 2021

Your spring semester is in its second half and will soon be coming to an end. This doesn’t mean your life will start to calm down, though! Between studying for final exams and all the campus events that come with the end of a school year, one thing that likely will get sent to the sidelines, or maybe even overlooked completely, is your spring cleaning routine.

Taking some time to provide your environment with a deep clean will not only make things easier for you when you pack up at the end of the semester, but it will also create a much calmer, mentally positive workspace. Here are a few spring cleaning tips for your dorm room, apartment, or your remote learning space.

Gather Your Supplies Before You Begin

No matter how prepared you think you are to clean your dorm room, there’s likely to be a tool or cleaning supply that would make the entire process easier for you in the long run. Running low on laundry detergent? Are you out of disinfectant? Make a list of the supplies you need before you start cleaning. Gathering all of your supplies in advance can save you tons of time down the road.

Whether you’re trying to be extra careful to observe social distancing, you don’t have a reliable ride to the store, or you just don’t have much time, a home essentials delivery service can provide you with all the necessary supplies you need to get the job done. A service like this can help you in your cleaning endeavors by providing items like detergent, disinfectant, pest removal traps, air fresheners, toilet paper, and paper towels. Oftentimes, you can even find home cleaners with natural ingredients that can be less harsh on your small space.

Tackle One Area or Category at a Time

Depending on how your brain deals with patterns and organization, this system will work differently for everyone. One way to tackle a cluttered dorm or online learning space is to select one area and tackle it first. Work your way from top to bottom or left to right through your zone to have the satisfaction of seeing progress as you go. As you clean each space, try out some different organization tactics that could make your studying more efficient. We recently shared 8 DIY dorm room storage tips to get you started.

Looking for a different approach? Channel your inner Marie Kondo! Start with similar categories when downsizing and organizing. In her book, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, Kondo recommends beginning with clothing as it often has the least emotional or sentimental attachments. You can then prioritize from there to your books, devices, photos, and so on. This way you can systematically declutter and reorganize your life.

Dispose of Unnecessary Items

In the process of cleaning and downsizing, you’ll more than likely come across many items you no longer need. Some of these items can be more mundane (and borderline disgusting) than others. Do you have a bag full of plastic bottles you meant to take to the recycling area? Leftover takeout boxes or beverage cans from your weekend hangout? Gather them up and bring them to the proper receptacles. If it’s a bit of a hike, bag everything up and set it by the door. If you have roommates, see if they can give you a hand taking everything out to the dumpster.

Other items might simply be unused. Have a stack of old t-shirts from an organization you don’t belong to anymore or a sweatshirt from an ex? Another one of Marie Kondo’s helpful tips, known as The KonMari Method, is essentially if you haven’t worn it in a year, then it might be time to give it away. The more you can do to compartmentalize your space before summer break, the less you’ll have to do at the end of the semester whether you’re graduating or not.

Reorganize and Reprioritize Your Life

Final exams have arrived, and with them comes countless late nights filled with hours of studying. Not only can this be overwhelming, it can be difficult to know where to focus your time. Create a strategic checklist or roadmap of your current course grades and prioritize where you should focus your time. If you’re feeling great in English Literature but feel like you’re a bit behind in Biology, this can help visualize where you need to spend the bulk of your time.

You can use this same roadmap for spring cleaning your dorm room. Use a task sheet to help keep your cleaning task goals organized and attainable. This works well if you live alone or have roommates, as long as everyone is made aware of the sheet, their responsibilities, and the timeframe in which they are expected to complete the tasks. Before it is time to start cleaning, make sure everything is in an easily accessible, easily found place. Containers and label makers can help with organizing your supplies. If you are in an online learning environment, many of these tips can still be applied to your home to help you stay organized and focused. For additional insights on managing your time and staying organized from home, check out these helpful tips.

While spring cleaning can seem like a daunting challenge, it is a process that can help you to focus, especially with the difficulties of finals week just around the corner. Remember, all it takes is a little forethought and organization to prepare you for your day of cleaning and disinfecting. Doing this will ensure you optimize your space and eliminate clutter for a calm and healthy study zone!