cleaning up
Increase your productivity and motivation by keeping your dorm room clean. Source: Sam Wasson / AFP

Leaving your home to study abroad can be exciting and exhilarating. However, as the saying goes: “With great power, comes great responsibility.”

Living alone would mean that you are now responsible for cleaning up after yourself. But as a university student with classes, assignments and balancing a social life, spending your time vacuuming and scrubbing your bathroom floors is probably the last thing on your to-do list. 

While leaving your room messy requires a lot less effort, what you may not realise is that ignoring the state of your dorm room can affect your physical and mental health. Strong links have been found between having a messy room and signs of depression and anxiety. Many see their room as their safe space, and as the clutter starts to pile on it can feel stressful or overwhelming.

However, cleaning up your dorm room isn’t as difficult as it sounds. With the help of these cleaning hacks, keeping your room tidy will be much easier.

Cleaning up: Five hacks for a productive study environment

A tidy room can help boost productivity for students. Source: Sam Wasson/AFP

1. Make your bed every morning 

The first step to keeping your room clean can be taken the second you get out of bed in the morning. Many dorm rooms are small which means that your bed would take up most of the space. As a huge part of your room, when your bed isn’t made it can have a huge impact. Making your bed the first thing in the morning can instantly make your dorm room look tidier.

Another benefit to making your bed first thing in the morning is that it will be a motivation for you to not crawl back under the sheets. Changing your bedsheets every week or two is also important. Though you may not be able to see it bedsheets and pillowcases accumulate a lot of germs including dead skin cells, dust mites and sweat.

2. Clean your bathroom at least once a week 

Unsurprisingly, bathrooms are where the most germs can be found. For example, bacteria such as E.Coli to Salmonella and Staphylococcus Aureus can be found on toilet seats, bathroom floors, shower curtains and even on toothbrushes. Research done by the NHS has shown that these germs can stick to surfaces for up to four hours

If not cleaned regularly these germs can be harmful and may put you at risk for a number of illnesses. As such, cleaning your bathroom clean is extremely important and should be done at least once a week. 

For those that are sharing their showers with other students, you can create a schedule where you each take turns cleaning up. Keeping the bathroom well-ventilated can also help, as when not ventilated properly, mould and frim can build up which can be difficult to clean. Leave a window or door open to let the bathroom air after a shower to avoid this. 

3. Maintain a tidy desk and drawers 

As dorm rooms aren’t very spacious, even the smallest amount of clutter can make one feel like a mess. In your dorm room, your desk is the most important place as it is where you will spend most of your time doing your assignments and studying. 

Having a clean desk has been proven to boost motivation and productivity. Though it can be a gruelling task to sort through all your books and papers, taking some time out of your schedule each week to organise your table is well worth it. This will not only keep your dorm room clean but help you in your work as well. 

4. Wipe down your windows

When cleaning many forget about the windows. However, keeping your windows clean can have a huge impact by helping to protect the air quality in your room. 

A great hack to keeping your windows clean is to use old newspapers instead of paper towels. Paper towels tend to leave behind lint when used to wipe windows. Newspaper on the other hand doesn’t leave any marks when used. 

5. Keep your floors clean 

Most university dorm rooms have carpeted floors, and while they carry the least bacteria, if left uncleaned germs such as escherichia coli (E. coli) and Staphylococcus aureus can be found in carpets.

Fortunately, you can avoid this by simply finding the time to vacuum or sweep your floors at least once a week. The good news is that dorm rooms are usually quite small so you won’t have to spend a lot of time vacuuming. 

The downside to having carpeted floors is the risk of staining them. Be sure to clean any spillages as quickly as possible. 


Baking soda is one of the most useful cleaning agents that you can find in your home. Source: Stephen Lovekin / AFP

If you are looking for hacks that will keep your room fresh and clean or even get rid of nasty carpet stains, here are two DIY hacks using things you can find in your kitchen: 

1. Vinegar

Living in a dorm room doesn’t provide much space. With the limited space you do not want to use it to store many cleaning products. 

Luckily, there are solutions to this problem. An all-purpose cleaner that is easy to store and affordable is distilled white vinegar. It can be used to clean your bedroom and bathroom, as well as sanitise any space while also getting rid of any awful odours.

2. Baking soda 

Aside from vinegar, another natural cleaner that is affordable and can be found right in your kitchen cupboard is baking soda. It is a potent cleaning agent that can be used to clean many parts of your dorm room. 

What makes baking soda special is that it can be used to clean carpet stains. So whether you spilt some coffee or pasta sauce, all you have to do is put some baking soda on it and let it sit for a while before vacuuming it away.