Ew! These are the 8 dirtiest places in your dorm

Get cleaning ASAP

Dorm room with pink bedding
(Image credit: Pottery Barn)

Hey, you missed a spot!  You may wanna check the dirtiest places in your dorm room before you get settled in. College life is busy which is why cleanliness in dorm rooms can become neglected without the right routines in place. 

Rather than setting bad habits, like stuffing your dirty laundry behind your headboard or procrastinating on scrubbing your sinks, now is a fantastic time in your life to develop a cleaning routine that can last a lifetime. 

Learning to keep your home space tidy and sparkling clean will allow you to have the peace of mind that you can study (or hang out) in a serene, clean environment. 

1) Bed and bedding 

Since there’s no universally agreed-upon rule about when to wash your bedding, it’s easy to procrastinate on hauling your sheets, pillowcases, and duvet cover to the laundromat. In fact, experts recommend that bedding is washed every one-to-two weeks. Since sweat build-up can cause skin irritation, it’s especially important for your health to keep your pillowcases washed, especially if you experience acne or scalp issues. Keeping your bedding clean could help you have a better night’s sleep, leaving you in a better position to tackle your long study days. 

2) Private and shared toilets 

Whether you’re lucky enough to have your own bathroom or you have to share it with your floor, the toilets are the most common places for bacteria and germs to thrive. Although cleaning and unblocking your toilet might not be the first thing you want to accomplish, since it’s often the chore people procrastinate on the most, it’s a good idea to tackle the bathroom head-on. For shared toilets, consider creating a shared rota and check out our toilet-cleaning hacks too.

3) Sinks and shower

Because of moisture, sinks and showers can be a place where bacteria thrive, especially if they aren’t cleaned often. By setting a daily or weekly ritual of at least spraying and wiping down your sink or shower, you can be in a better position not to have to do deep cleanings as often. For shared kitchen sinks, food contamination can be a big risk, meaning keeping those areas free of germs is even more important to your (and your roommates) health. 

4) Entrance and shoe rack 

Because entrances see the most foot action (and shoes), this can be a place where dirt and grime build-up. As the entryway to your dorm, you want to keep this area organized and free of clutter. Consider adding a shoe storage idea (like a rack or cabinet), especially in “shoe-free” dorm rooms, as well as a welcome mat to trap dirt before it tracks on the floors. While you’re cleaning this area, it can also be a great time to make a resolution to also keep your shoes clean. 

5) Kitchen area 

The kitchen is one of the most important areas to keep clean for your health. Because of food contamination bacteria and potential cross-contamination for people who experience food allergies, the kitchen must be cleaned often and properly. Consider investing in the right tools, including cleaning gloves and scrub pads (available at Amazon)  in order to make the most of your cleaning sessions. A clean kitchen may also lead you to cook more often for yourself, which can be a great habit for your health and your wallet. 

6) Rugs and window dressings

Textiles, such as rugs and curtains, are often overlooked and ignored in cleaning routines but these areas can attract the most dust build-up. One reason you shouldn’t neglect cleaning the textiles in your dorm is a huge one: bed bugs. Because dorm buildings are the places where people are moving often, creatures like bed bugs (that can live on curtains and in rugs, as well as bed posts) can be a huge risk. Instead of taking that risk, consider a routine that includes your rugs, curtains, pillows, and every fabric in between. Our guide on getting rid of bed bugs can aid you if you're in need of a li'l help.

7) Floors 

Because dorm rooms receive a ton of traffic, many dorms feature easy-to-keep-clean concrete flooring but for carpeted or wood floors, cleaning often is a must. Whether you need to drag out a mop or invest in a good cordless vacuum, a regular routine can keep germs, stains, and dirt from collecting on your dorm floor. At the very least, a handheld vac or dustpan and brush (check out this one from Oxo on Amazon) can allow you to keep the floors germ-free for longer in between deeper cleanings. 

8) Door knob

What’s the number one place where germs are transferred in a dorm room? It's likely that could be your door knob. Receiving germs from people from both the inside of the room and the outside of the room, the doorknob is one area that is often neglected when it comes to cleaning. The upside? It’s also one of the easiest areas to clean. Since cleaning a door knob only requires a few paper towels and some spray cleaning solution (ie: Method's Lemon Verbena)) both on Amazon, it can be done often without exerting too much energy. Cleaning your door knob will cut down on the amount of germs that are transferred between roommates and dorm mates, making the entire dorm a healthier and happier place to live. 

Kate Santos

Hello! I’m Kate Santos, a writer and photographer based in Los Angeles. In the design world, I got my start working as an Editorial Intern for Dwell magazine in San Francisco. Since then, I’ve written about design and architecture in many national magazines and online publications, including Playboy, Hunker, and The Culture Trip.

I grew up in a very old house in North Carolina and am still influenced by the rustic, charming, antique and aged elements of a home. Sustainability and longevity is extremely important to me and I believe learning to reuse materials or purchasing items you’ll love forever goes a long way. I also lean towards the Japanese philosophy of wabi-sabi when designing my own home, embracing the perfectly imperfect items I can find.