It’s not new news that dorms can be pretty unpleasant places to live. Your roommate’s messy (Or perhaps you’re the messy roommate), people are being ridiculously loud at all hours of the nights, the rooms are small, the walls are some awful prison color, etc, etc. We all know it. For the most part, we’re all stuck here for at least a year. So while we can’t paint the walls a more cheerful color or expand the room’s square footage, we can at least turn our rooms into decently nice places to spend your academic year. The best way to do this is to keep your room clean.

As small as your dorm room is, it’s hard to imagine how it could get so dirty. And yet, every room accumulates a certain amount of messiness, dirtiness, and unorganizedness. There are a few things you can do to ensure that your room is always clean and pleasant to be in. We’re not talking about a super intensive cleaning process either. A cleaning ritual that you get in the habit of doing every few weeks will make your room much, much easier to live in. A few months ago, Emily gave us some great green DIY cleaning tips for dorms. But for students who don’t have the time to make their own cleaning solutions, there are some tips under the cut to help you keep your room clean as well.

Wash Your Stuff

This should be a no brainer. If stuff smells, wash it. You sleep in your sheets every night. Occasionally, you do get smelly. Thus, your sheets get dirty. You should be washing your bedding at least once a month. If you don’t, that’s gross. Seriously. If you think that’s too much, let me give you some motivation: No girl in their right mind wants to spend some quality time in your gross, smelly sheets that haven’t been washed since May when your mother washed them when you got home from school.

Sheets and blankets aren’t the only thing you should be washing. Towels get that moldy smell after about two weeks so you need to be washing those regularly too. Bathmats need to be washed just about as regularly as your sheets since they get wet every time you step out of the shower and smell even worse than towels do since they’re never hung up to dry.

Air Fresheners

No matter how clean a room looks, it’s going to be extremely uncomfortable to be in if it smells like feet. Get your room smelling good with some well-chosen air fresheners. You don’t need a flowery or super sweet air freshener either. Just browse a few at your local store and pick something fresh-smelling. You can get something fairly simple like a Glade Plugin to something a little more chic at Bath and Bodyworks (yes, a little girly but their fresheners work wonders. And they’re adorable. Win-win). Just getting something that you leave in the room year round will help cover up dorm-smells and make your room more welcoming.

In addition to a plugin or stationary air freshener, I’ve found it’s handy to keep a can of handheld air freshener that I can spray around the room when I feel like it’s unusually smelly. My preferred brand is Oust, but any air freshener is good.

Another thing you’ll want to invest in is some Febreeze or other kind of fabric cleaning spray. As I said you should be washing your sheets fairly regularly but for a quick room pick-me-up, spray the fabrics in your room with some Febreeze. Then smell the room enthusiastically like they do in the commercials. Febreeze also works with fabric-covered things you can’t exactly toss in the wash, like futons, couches, and chairs.

Clorox Wipes

In the same realm of fabulosity as 3M hooks are Clorox wipes. First of all, they come in this handy dandy container that provide you with a clean wipe every time. You don’t have to dirty up a washcloth and mix some cleaning solution to get a good wiping agent. Oh, no. Just whip open that lid and you’re good to go. They are good for everything. Desks, bedside tables, dressers, sinks, cabinets, etc, etc. Everything gets dirty in a dorm, so you should be wiping down surfaces every few weeks, especially when there’s that bug going around and everyone’s getting sick. Use them for everyday clean up and spills to your monthly cleaning spree while you’re procrastinating studying for that massive midterm.

Cordless Vacuum

While your RA will probably have a vacuum that you can borrow, I’ve found it’s been really nice to have my own personal mini-vacuum in my room to help pick up every day crumbs off the floor. Dorm floors are already pretty disgusting, so I’d rather not let those crumbs sit there until I remember to ask the RA to borrow the vacuum.

The cordless vacuum I have is a Dirt Devil, but obviously your choice will probably do the trick too. They usually plug into the wall and charge for some amount of time and then turn on for your vacuuming needs. They’re probably not as strong as a full sized vacuum, but they’ll at least help your floor stay clean. For cleanly students strapped for cash, you might want to check out a Bissel cordless vacuum which don’t even require charging. The way the brushes work as you push the “vacuum” pick up ground particles as you move (at least I’m going to assume that’s how they work– I’m not a Bissel engineer). They’re pretty snazzy as well and work decently well.

If you have tile in your room, get a Swiffer. Now. It sucks walking on tile and feeling crumbs all over the bottom of your feet. They’ll help pick up all of the gross stuff on your tile floors and leave your room with a nice, clean smell as well.

Trash Cans

Just like everything else in your room, trash cans need to be cleaned. I know, it sounds kind of gross and daunting at first, but you put your trash in them. It’s reasonable to see how they get dirty and smelly. First of all, don’t let your trash can get too disgusting that you don’t even want to think about cleaning it. Throw away food cartons in the big trash cans out in your dorm hall or even outside the dorm itself. It will reduce the smelliness in your room as well as making cleaning your trash can easier.

Every few weeks (or more if you have particularly gross trash) use your amazing Clorox wipes to wipe down the inside of your trash can. It will usually take two or three to do a really good job. To make sure your trash can stays extra fresh between Clorox cleanups, spray a little Lysol inside of it every time you empty it. Lysol kills germs which are both gross and smelly, and it will leave your trash can smelling… well as good as a trash can possibly can.

What do you do to keep your dorm room clean? Share your thoughts in the comments!