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Living away from the influence of parents can be liberating, but it’s not always for the best. Rooms can quickly become pigsties without the constant nagging of parental units to clean up. But it’s relatively easy to keep a small space clean and tidy – just use these dorm room cleaning hacks to maintain it.

Clorox wipes and Swiffer duster for days

Even if you have nothing else in your college cleaning arsenal but Clorox wipes and a Swiffer duster, you can still survive. Clorox wipes can be used for any accidental spills, cleaning the kitchen counter, the toilet cover, sink, desk, window, and basically all messy surfaces. Just maintaining stain-free surfaces will improve the dorm room’s cleanliness by a staggering amount. The Swiffer duster is recommended because dust settling on surfaces is simply not acceptable.

Or just use an old sock

If you’re not one to stock up on cleaning items at the store, an old sock can be a replacement. Just stuff your hand in there and scrub and dust away. Please don’t use those cute reindeer socks from Christmas though; spare them the indignity.

Lemon in the microwave

Cut up a lemon in half and squeeze some of the juice into a glass cup of water. Place the cup (with both lemon halves) in the microwave and zap it for about two minutes until it comes to a slight boil. The steam created by this mixture will remove any unpleasant lingering smells from the microwave as well as coat the walls with moisture. Wipe the moisture away to remove any spills and splashes!

Baking soda in the fridge

If your roommate’s Chinese takeout they’ve kept in the fridge for three weeks is still there but you don’t want to take it out for them, stick a box of baking soda (opened) in the fridge. It’s a super magical odor remover that will keep it smelling tolerable. Replenish the box with a new one every month or so as it will run out of it’s magical properties after extended exposure.

Baking soda and vinegar for any suspicious stains

It’s college – you’re going to be spilling those 3AM cup noodles as you fumble your way to bed or vomiting uncontrollably while sick with the flu or under other less innocuous influences. Your carpet is going to be abused. If you don’t want any fees piling up at the end of the year or the smell of strange substances lingering in the air, then remove those stains as soon as possible.

Pour a little bit of vinegar directly onto the stain and then sprinkle some baking powder on top of it. Scrub gently and vacuum it up after. Make sure you don’t create a 4th grade science project by adding too much of either substance!

Duct tape all the crumbs away

Not all of are going to have the space or desire to keep a mini vacuum in their dorm room. It’s fine if you don’t! Use the sticky side of the duct tape to pick up any crumb spills from snacking or hair balls. (Yes, there will be many hairballs forming on your cheap dorm room carpet and they suck.)

Dryer sheets as air freshener

If you attach these to your air conditioner unit or in front of an air vent, the pleasant laundry-smelling breeze will permeate the air in your room! Who needs Febreeze?

A clean room makes for a more organized and relaxing college experience. Plus, you don’t want the next year’s occupants deal with the aftermath of suspicious carpet stains and smelly fridges. It really won’t be good for your karma.

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the author

Jilliann Pak hails from the suburbs of SoCal but is currently attending school across the coast at Johns Hopkins University. When she’s not complaining about the cold weather or sleeping in the library, she’s probably eating, cuddled up into a blanket burrito, or watching Parks and Recreation, preferably all at once.

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  1. Rachael Moore on October 20, 2015

    Baking soda and vinegar saved me in college , too. I have an awful roommate. I cleaned everything every weekend. I used this mixture to clean almost everything. I have never tried to put an open box with baking soda in the fridge. I am going to try it. Greetings!

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