Moving into college dorms is such an exciting part of starting college! I remember feeling so much anticipation around meeting my roommate, the other students on my floor, and setting up my bedroom for the year.
With all of that excitement also comes the reality that you are now on your own. Feeding yourself, washing your clothes, and of course cleaning your room are all entirely your own responsibility at this point (regardless of whether or not they were back at home).
While cleaning your dorm room might feel like a chore that you don’t have time for or just don’t want to do (source), it’s important to prioritize! A clean room can help keep you and your roommate healthy while living in such a small space together (source).
Equipping yourself with a kit of cleaning supplies for your dorm room will make weekly cleanup a simple step in your routine.
Why Choose Green Cleaning Supplies
This list is focused on green or natural cleaning supplies. There are a few reasons why using natural, washable, reusable cleaning solutions and supplies is important.
Natural cleaning supplies are devoid of harsh chemicals or airborne pollutants.
Air quality can become an issue in a small dorm with limited airflow (especially in cold winter months). Choosing cleaning solutions with natural, gentle ingredients can minimize the possibility of toxic VOCs polluting your air.
Besides your personal health, choosing more natural cleaning supplies and washable cleaning tools is also better for the health of our environment!
Opting for natural cleaning cloths vs. exclusively cleaning with disposable paper towels is one step towards a sustainable cleaning routine. What better place to practice than in a small dorm room?
Essential Cleaning Supplies for a Dorm Room
- Every Purchase Saves Pets. BISSELL proudly supports BISSELL Pet Foundation and its mission to help save homeless pets..Runtime: 20.0 minutes
- Cordless, Lightweight Vacuum. 10.8V lithium-ion battery provides up to 20 minutes of run time and charges in just 4.5 hours.
- Two-Way Folding Handle. Breaks down for compact storage and extended reach feature cleans under furniture.
This might seem like a cumbersome addition to your packing list but hear me out! Unless there are vacuums that you can borrow in your dorm, you will be SO glad to have one.
Think about it. Everything falls to the floor: crumbs, dust, dirt from your friends’ shoes, eraser dust, hair, lint, spills, and more.
A broom and dustpan are no match for the nooks and crannies under your desk, bed, and around your dresser.
I suggest a small, cordless vacuum that can transform into a handheld vacuum for surface dusting (desktops, shelves, etc.).
This model only takes up a little space, is relatively low cost, and has excellent reviews. It’s the perfect small space vacuum for a clean dorm room!
- ALL PURPOSE CLEANER & SPRAY BOTTLE SET: A Grove Co. cleaning bundle that includes two Lemon & Eucalyptus scented multipurpose cleaner refill concentrates and a Glass Spray Bottle with an orange…
- CUTS 2X MORE GREASE: This high-performance multisurface cleaner spray cuts 2x more grease than other natural brands.* Our surface cleaning solution is thoughfully formulated with 92% plant-based…
- ALL NATURAL FRAGRANCE: Our all-purpose household cleaners are formulated with 100% natural fragrance using essential oils & plant extracts. Choose from delightful scent refills like Lavender & Thyme…
While I prefer to make my own spray cleaners, I know how unrealistic it is for a college student to do such a thing. This all-purpose cleaning spray from Grove Co. is fantastic.
I have used it on countertops, stair railings, sinks, faucets, and more. It would work just as well when wiping down desks and shelves in a dorm room.
Remember to also clean common points of contact within your room! Spray this cleaner on a cloth, then use it to wipe down your light switches, door knobs, dresser knobs, and window pulls.
- Aunt Fannie’s Glass and Window Cleaning Spray: Our formula uses the power of vinegar and plant-based cleaners to remove smudges, fingerprints, rain spots, oil, and dirt
- Streak-Free Finish: Use on windows, mirrors, light fixtures, chrome and stainless steel; Try with a microfiber cloth for a perfect finish
- Natural Ingredients: Made with natural ingredients, no harsh chemicals, just vinegar, plant-based cleaner, and essential oils; Leaves a neutral scent with a hint of lavender
For your window and mirror, you want something that won’t leave behind any streaks or residue.
Grab a bottle of Aunt Fannie’s Vinegar Wash. Vinegar is fantastic for lifting grime and leaving behind a clean finish on glass surfaces. You can use this spray on windows, mirrors, shower glass, toilets, porcelain tiles, and more.
I love that this product has the highest health & safety rating for cleaning products by the Environmental Working Group, and it’s made in the USA.
- Seventh Generation disinfectant cleaner spray kills 99.99 percent of bacteria and viruses
- Disinfectant with no rinse required, even on food contact surfaces and children’s toys
- Disinfecting spray that eliminates odors produced by odor causing bacteria
Disinfecting does not need to be part of your daily or weekly cleaning routine. I reserve disinfecting for occasional situations when I know certain illnesses are making their rounds or if I come in contact with someone sick.
When it comes to choosing a disinfectant, you have options. Chlorine bleach is an inexpensive, extremely effective way to disinfect surfaces.
Alternatively, studies have shown impressive results from disinfectants using the active ingredient “thymol” (source). Thymol is derived from thyme essential oil. When researchers tested three disinfectants against one another (bleach, thymol-based, and DIY) the bleach and thymol had comparable results.
All this is to say, the disinfectant by Seventh Generation uses thymol as its active ingredient, and it’s an excellent option for a natural-leaning college dorm cleaning kit.
- SOFT AND GENTLE FLANNEL BABY WIPES – Feel the softness of these OsoCozy baby wipes that are made of 100% cotton flannel so they will always feel smooth on your baby’s delicate skin.
- SAVE MONEY WITH REUSABLE WIPES – Good for the environment and your wallet, our wipes are a cost-effective alternative to disposable wipes and are gentle on skin and easy to clean.
- EASY TO WASH BABY WIPES – Our flannel wipes are easy to wash with your cloth diapers or your regular laundry. The single-layer fabric design is durable for long-lasting softness that dries quickly.
Now that you have your spray cleaners at the ready, you need something to wipe away the mess. Keep a stack of washable cleaning cloths at the ready for weekly dusting.
Don’t let the “baby wipes” name in the title confuse you. These 100% cotton flannel towels are absorbent, good for quickly wiping surfaces and windows, and easy to toss into the wash with your sheets and bath towels each week.
Microfiber is another popular material for cleaning and dusting. The problem with microfiber is that microplastics are leached from the fibers each time you wash them. Those microplastics eventually make their way into our oceans, sea life, and soil, so it’s best to avoid this loop if possible.
Cotton can technically be composted at the end of its usable life, making it a more eco-friendly alternative to microfiber.
- Pack contains 8 Family Rolls of Bounty white Quick Size Paper Towels
- Our shortest sheets are now more even more absorbent for a versatile clean
- More absorbent so you can use less* *vs. leading ordinary brand
While washable cleaning cloths are a sustainable choice, having the disposable version on hand is also a good idea. In a dorm room, all manner of accidental messes can happen.
You’ll have limited (or expensive) access to laundry machines – so if someone drunkenly throws up on your carpet, you’ll want a way to clean up the mess and immediately throw away the evidence.
- Mr. Clean Magic Eraser Original scrubber is 2X Stronger with DURAFOAM Cleaning performance vs. the leading all-purpose bleach spray
- This cleaning scrubber is tough on dirt, all around the house! Surface cleaner, wall cleaner, bathtub cleaner, oven door cleaner, erases marks on light switches, doors & much more!
- The Mr. Clean Magic Eraser provides a powerful clean with water alone.
Magic Erasers aren’t exceptionally eco-friendly, but they are incredibly effective. Magic Erasers can remove scuffs from shoes, furniture, backpacks, and tote bags (test a small area first!), stains from carpet, and more.
I maximize each sponge by cutting off a small square for every use. Make sure to get it damp with water before using and watch the magic unfold.
- Handy Drawstring – For hassle-free trash removal, the small trash bags are designed with durable drawstring handle. With a quick cinch, the drawstring 4 gallon trash bags are easy to lift, tie, and…
- Individual Bags – No need to tear each bag apart along a perforation or find where one bag ends and another begins. The 4 gallon trash bag is individually separated and interleaved in the roll.
- Tear Resistant – With great tensile strength, the small garbage bags are sturdy enough for daily household and everyday demands. The small trash bags 4 gallon can hold up a lot of weight without…
No matter how great you are at recycling, you will want trash bags on hand. I recommend avoiding scented trash bags (a headache waiting to happen!).
If you want to avoid purchasing trash bags, you could also start collecting plastic bags from local grocery store shops (although it is a fun challenge to grocery shop without waste!). Fold and store the bags in a drawer or a trash bag dispenser for weekly use.
Optional Cleaning Supplies for a Dorm Room
The items below are not “essential” but might be nice to have in a naturally clean dorm room.
Naturally Scented Fabric Spray
Skip the Febreeze and instead mix your own naturally scented linen spray.
The recipe is simple, and all you need are 3 ingredients: filtered water, your favorite essential oil, and 1 tablespoon of alcohol (rubbing alcohol or vodka both work well).
Mix it up in a spray bottle to use on your pillow before winding down for bed, on your comforter to refresh the room’s scent, or on a smelly roommate’s comforter to help them out if they haven’t washed their sheets in a while…
- The aromatherapy diffuser vibrates through precision high-frequency ultrasound,Can make essential oil and water into ultrafine nano water mist,In the air,Creating a fragrance can also humidify dry…
- Mysterious Oriental ceramics,Through the manual grinding of experienced craftsmen, the ceramic surface of aromatherapy machine has the quality of advanced frosted particles, fashionable and beautiful…
- [Atmosphere lighting effect] 7 soft LED breathing lights will automatically change, you can also choose a favorite light color, with fragrance and water mist, professional SPA enjoyment anytime and…
Speaking of scent… as I hinted above, I recommend avoiding synthetic fragrances as much as possible. A natural alternative would be a diffuser and your favorite blend of essential oils.
Of course, ensure your roommate is also happy with the chosen oil(s) before you diffuse them into your shared room.
- Removes pet accidents, grease, oil, ink, red wine, coffee, blood, rust, food, cosmetics, dirt, and grime
- Water-based, non-flammable and odor free
- VOC, solvent, and petroleum free
Folex isn’t a “natural” carpet cleaner, but I recommend it here because it works on almost everything. A few sprays of Folex can eliminate your desire to toss and replace a rug (unnecessary waste!).
With all of that said, carpet stain remover is only useful if you have carpeted floors or decorate with an area rug – spills will happen, and this will help.
- CLEANING SUPPLY STORAGE CADDY: Holds and stores a variety of cleaning supplies such as bottles, sprays, sanitizers, brushes, sponges, scrubbers, rubber gloves, and more
- BUILT-IN HANDLE: Integrated center handle makes it easy to carry the caddy even when full
- VERSATILE USES: Can be used on its own or with the Casabella 4-Gallon Rectangular Bucket (sold separately)
Keep yourself organized and set up for cleaning success with a cleaning caddy. Having all your supplies in one place will make you more likely to use them regularly!
Casabella’s is a straightforward option. If you want more, I compiled a list of my favorite cleaning caddies here.
Skip These Cleaning Supplies in a Dorm
Once again, you can do better than synthetic fragrances! Artificially scented candles, plug-ins, and sprays are not good for your health (and may give your friends or roommate(s) a headache!).
The best way to keep it smelling nice is to do your laundry, take out your trash, open your windows, and clean regularly.
Don’t waste your time or money on disposable dust wands. Save your precious storage space and use an all-purpose spray with cleaning cloths instead.
Broom and Dust Pan
Get a compact vacuum cleaner like the one recommended above. A vacuum will be more effective at eliminating dust and will save space and time.
Swiffer or Mop
Unless you have ample space to store a Swiffer and the pad refills, skip it.
You are FAR better vacuuming, spraying your hard floors with all-purpose cleaner, then quickly wiping them clean with a cloth.
Remember, a dorm room’s square footage is MINIMAL. You will survive a year or two of once weekly hands and knees “mopping,” I promise!
Once a week is ideal. If you commit to tidying, dusting, and vacuuming once weekly it won’t be as much of a chore. The whole process should take you at most 20-30 minutes – your friends and your roommate will thank you!
Clean it regularly! Commit to weekly dusting and vacuuming in your room. Use your vacuum’s brush attachment to remove dust from fabric drapery and upholstery. Clean your ceiling fan or box fan blades quarterly. Eliminate as much clutter that could collect dust as possible.
Final Thoughts on Cleaning a Dorm Room
I hope this list helped give you a good idea of the cleaning products you need in your college dorm room.
Adjusting to a brand new space and a brand new schedule can feel uncomfortable at first. Creating a clean and comfortable room to retreat to is one way to ease into the big adjustment.
Best of luck, make friends, and have fun!