When I start thinking of back-to-school shopping, new cleaning supplies are definitely not what I’m most excited about getting. Though they’re usually the last few items to pick up at the store, if I’ve learned anything from living in a forced-triple dorm room (a room sized for two people except they throw in an extra roomie!) and two double dorm rooms, it’s that space is limited. You’ll be trying to figure out ways to cram as many of your precious and necessary (no, there’s no way I’m leaving that at home!) belongings into this room as possible and the last thing you want on your mind is how much dust or dirt you’re inhaling, or what type of bugs and little creatures your poor dorm hygiene is attracting… I know, worst-case scenario am I right?
THANK GOODNESS the latter has never happened to me (despite how filthy one of my roommates in the forced triple kept her few square feet of the room) but last year someone in my dorm thought it would be funny to place plastic cockroaches on the stairwell and down the hallways and it FREAKED ME OUT. Believe me, you do not want them in your room – fake or real!
So to avoid said horrors and to ensure that you’ll be living in clean and healthy conditions next year, I’ve put together a list of dorm cleaning essentials that don’t take up much space, but will definitely come in handy! As soon as you get to school don’t forget to make a cleaning schedule with your roommate(s) and STICK TO IT. Whether you clean once a week, bi-weekly, tri-weekly, every day (if you do, you’re awesome), make sure everyone’s actually doing their part or else things can get gross pretty fast…
- Black & Dekker Hand Vacuum
Taking up much less space than a full-size vacuum, the Black & Dekker Hand Vacuum with Washable Filter is perfect for picking up the crumbs, dust and dirt that so easily accumulates on a dorm room floor. It comes in a variety of colors and retails for $21. (Plus you get free 2-3 day shipping with an Amazon Prime Student Account!)
- Invisible Glass
From the windows to the wall (mirror) you’re definitely going to need this Invisible Glass EZ Grip Spray Cleaner for your dorm room. I especially love this one because it eliminates the need to waste paper towels or tissues to clean with! It comes with a Reach and Clean Tool, which you can use to reach higher up places and get an even brighter result. The Reach and Clean Tool retails for $14.99, the EZ Grip Spray Cleaner retails for $7 and the Lens Cleaning Wipes retail for $10.
- Swiffer + Wipes
The epitome of dorm cleaning supplies is the treasured Swiffer and Swiffer Wipes. When you’re looking to do a thorough (but quick) room clean, this is exactly what you’ll need. It doesn’t take more than a few minutes to “Swiffer” the room but the results (and amount of gross dirt you pick up) will make you wonder why you don’t do it every other day… The Swiffer Starter Kit retails for $16 and Refill Wipes retail for $12.
- Cleaning Wipes
These wipes are so cost-efficient and overall useful. Even on days when you aren’t dedicating 30-45 minutes to thoroughly cleaning your dorm room, you can wipe down your personal items in just a few seconds. I make sure to wipe my desk, dresser and bookshelf every two or three days. It is truly amazing to see how much dust and dirt can collect in such a short time! You can find them at just about any convenience store, but I love using these. The Clorox Cleaning Wipes retail for $10 for a pack of 3.
- Lens Cleaning Wipes
This is not necessarily an “essential” item, but it does help a lot. Just by giving my laptop screen a quick wipe every so often with one of these lens cleaning wipes I notice a difference in my screen visibility. As someone who wears glasses and contacts I know how to appreciate what it means to see clearly! I’ve been using the Well-Kept Screen Cleansing Wipes above retail for $6. I’ve also tried and love the Invisible Glass Lens Cleaning Wipes retail for $10 and can be used on computer or phone screens, glasses or camera lenses.
Especially if your room has a hard-wood floor, this will come in handy. If you get a small set like this one you can store it in a bin of cleaning supplies and whip it out as needed. This set retails for $5.
The secret to keeping uninvited “guests” out of your room is an organized garbage and recycling system in room that gets emptied just about every day. Most dorms offer garbage rooms in every hallway or on every floor and making sure that your garbage is empty contributes many positive things to your room. Again, you’ll be living in limited space and you want this to be as clean and fresh smelling as possible! This pretty waste basket retails for $20 each.
In case the above system fails – or you just enjoy living in a room that smells good – I would definitely suggest investing in an air freshener or two. You can’t go wrong with Febreeze sprays and I also really love the Air Freshening Beads and wall plug-ins. These retail for $5.09 for a pack of two, $3.89 and $12.99, respectively.
I always keep at least one mini bottle of hand sanitizer with me at all times. Especially living in the big city this is so important with the zillions of germs going around! It’s also really helpful to keep a bottle in your dorm room, especially if you’re sharing a communal bathroom that’s down the hallway and inconvenient to wash your hands before snacking. You can purchase the organic and all natural hand sanitizer above for about $9 for a big bottle.
Even if you don’t have a kitchen in your room, you are definitely going to need dish soap. Whether you have a teapot or Keurig in your dorm, you’ll be using and washing cups and mugs, plates and utensils ALL the time. You can find them on sale at most convenience stores, grocery stores and department stores.
- Paper Towels
You won’t know why you’re getting them for your dorm room when you do, but when something spills you’ll be so glad you did! I wouldn’t suggest bringing more than two rolls with you to school because they’ll just take up space until you need them, plus they’re sold in most stores that you’ll have on or around campus.
The same as paper towels, tissues are more of a precaution that can become an essential all of a sudden. Switching from the heat of the outdoors to the freezing AC of the indoors and vice versa, it won’t be hard to catch a cold. This combined with seasonal allergies make tissues a pretty great investment, because there’s nothing worse than needing a tissue and not having one handy! They usually retail $1-4 for travel packets and full boxes. The Kleenex Perfect Fit Tissues above double as bright decorations and fit in small spaces! A pack of four is $6.59.
Stay Classy! xx