I know, I know. Cleaning is not the most glam task in the world. But it’s just one of those things that’s got to be done, bestie. When you’re living in college dorms, you won’t have your parents to clean up after you. That being said, if this is your first time being in charge of cleaning your dorm — or any room for that matter — it can be tricky to know where to start.
Don’t stress though — you’re not alone. Breathe. It’s all good. We’re going to get through all those cleaning chores together. The best way to do this IMO is with a dorm cleaning checklist. By using one of these, you can plan your tasks ahead of time, and then tick them off as you go along.
I’ve sought out expert advice and put together a checklist and routine of everything you need to do to clean up your dorm. I’ve broken this down into daily, weekly, and monthly tasks, so you can stay on top of everything.
Ready to get organized? Scroll on down for the ultimate dorm cleaning routine.
Where to start with cleaning a dorm
First of all, you’re going to want to get all your tasks written down, so they’re easy to refer back to. There’s a reason why chore charts worked when you were little, y’know. Write these down on a whiteboard (like this TSJ Office one that’s Amazon’s Choice), so you can easily see what needs to be done. “Create a rotation for cleaning the bathroom, vacuuming, and dusting,” says Carrie Rose, certified life and high school senior coach and founder of SunUp Coaching LLC.
She also suggests splitting up the chores that involve community space or items, if you have a roomie. Have this convo with them at the start of year and set out a plan early on, so you can avoid arguments later in the year.
Now you know how to manage the cleaning tasks, here’s everything you need to keep sparkling in your dorm.
Daily dorm cleaning tasks
These are all easily incorporated into your daily routine, and will keep things feeling fresh in your dorm.
Make the bed
This might be an obvious one, but making the bed is so easy. It only takes a minute or two at the very most, and just makes the room feel instantly tidy.
Put away used toiletries
The top of the sink can become a dumping ground for everything, making the bathroom look really messy. Rose recommends at least putting away things like toothbrushes, toothpaste, and any cosmetics.
Clean hair out of the shower drain
This task is a bit gross, so no one likes doing it. “No one wants to clean someone else hair out of the shower,” says Rose. Instead, just make sure you (and your roomie) clean up your own hair in the shower after you’ve washed, and you should be covered. Even if you share a hall bathroom with way more people, it's the nice thing to do.
Put away any dishes
If your dorm room has a kitchen, it’s super important to put away dishes or small appliances like air fryers or blenders every day. After all, a sink full of dishes isn’t just unsightly — it can also become smelly fairly quickly.
Put dirty laundry in your hamper
Laundry on the floor, especially things like underwear (ew!), looks very messy. This task literally takes just a minute.
Hang up coats, backpacks, and handbags
Leaving things on the floor can be a tripping hazard, especially after a late night. Put these away now, and thank yourself later.
Weekly dorm cleaning tasks
These are slightly bigger tasks, but they all need doing regularly to maintain good dorm hygiene.
Wipe down surfaces with a rag and cleaning solution
Dust can cause allergy problems, especially in small spaces. So, it’s crucial to wipe down all surfaces with a multi-purpose cleaner (Mrs. Meyer’s on Amazon is a Real Homes fave) and a microfiber cloth.
Change your sheets
For a variety of reasons, you should make washing your bedsheets a priority. However, more likely than not, it might be a little more than a week in between laundry sessions, so make sure to have an extra set of sheets on hand. “Weekly bedsheet washing as a college student is likely aggressive,” says Rose. “But, please do it more than monthly.” Stinky sheets are not it, people.
Wash bathroom towels
Dirty or wet bathroom towels not only smell bad, but can grow bacteria that irritate your skin and cause rashes. NTY! If you can’t wash your towels, at least make sure you have some clean ones on hand to swap out at least once a week.
Clean the floor
There’s nothing worse than having your feet pick up dirt. That’s icky AF. So, be sure to vacuum once a week or as needed, especially if you have carpet. If you have hard flooring, you can use a broom and dustpan instead of a vacuum. After cleaning up on hard floors, be sure to mop up to pick up excess dirt. If you’re looking for a small-space-friendly mop, this Swiffer WetJet on Amazon is a great choice.
Take out the trash
This is one task that you def shouldn’t forget. If you don’t take out the trash, your room could smell bad and you could attract bugs or vermin — especially if you have food in the trash. Tie up all the bags, take them out, and replace them with fresh ones. For bigger containers like pizza boxes and takeout containers, try to get rid of these ASAP.
Monthly dorm cleaning tasks
You don’t have to do these tasks too often, but they’re still important to do. They’re big ones, so you might want to split these out or alternate doing them with your roomie.
Wipe down and clean out the trash can
Yes, trash cans get dirty, too. Groundbreaking, I know. Just use a microfiber cloth and multi-purpose spray to clean out the inside and the outside of the can.
Deep clean the shower
Sharing an ensuite with a roommate or two? While using a rinse-free spray on your shower is great to do daily, you still need to give it a deep clean once a month. A good scrubbing with bathroom cleaner, like this Lysol power foam on Amazon, will get the job done.
Vacuum soft furnishings
Got couches and seats that people are always sitting on? Dirt can majorly build up on these, FYI. Rose suggests using the attachments that come with your vacuum cleaner to vacuum these. Don’t miss out the inside of the couch or the chair cushions either — you’ll be amazed at how many crumbs end up here. Don’t have a vacuum with attachments? Bag a handheld vacuum instead, like this VacLife Amazon bestseller.
Wipe down hard furniture and baseboards
They might look fine from a distance, but desks, headboards, and shelves can all gather a lot of dirt. Be sure to wipe down all of your wood, plastic, or acrylic furniture, as well as the baseboards of each room.