Back to school means back to small and packed living quarters that will likely need more than a good sweep every now and then to keep students clean and healthy this semester.

Forgetting to clean important areas of your dorm room can result in substantial health impacts because students are constantly interacting with each other and this can lead to transmission of infections.

As students start moving into their dorm rooms this fall, here are four tips to keeping the dorm room clean:

1. Don’t stuff your room. Many students arrive to college with U-Hauls and three cars in tow with more than necessary décor to pack the room. There’s nothing wrong with personalizing your room and adding personality but keep in mind that the more clutter and less space you have, the more difficult it will be to clean.

2. Disinfect your work and eating area. Keyboards can easily become contaminated with germs. Imagine all the stuff you touch each day and then coming back to your dorm room to deposit all the germs you’ve accumulated onto your keyboard and desk. As a result, students should not only sanitize their hands but also disinfect their work area during illness outbreaks to ensure germs are eliminated.

3. Clean the bathroom. Some college students may have their own bathrooms or share a bathroom with suitemates. If this is the case, clean the bathroom regularly. Create a cleaning schedule that includes disinfecting the sink, counter and toilet bowl once a week and more frequently during illness outbreaks.

4. Develop a cleaning routine. Students should get into the routine of cleaning on a daily and weekly basis. Daily cleaning could include things like wiping down things you touch with disinfecting wipes or washing your dirty dishes at the end of the day. On a weekly basis, students should fully clean their dorm room. This includes throwing away trash, sanitizing high traffic objects and washing sheets and dirty clothes.

At college, reducing cross-contamination is important to living a healthier lifestyle. For more information on preventing infections on campus, check out this post.

About Dr. Allison Aiello

Dr. Allison Aiello is an assistant professor of epidemiology at the University of Michigan. She has taught courses on social and life determinants of infectious diseases, antibacterial soap use and antimicrobial resistance, and the link between infections and chronic disease. Dr. Aiello believes hand hygiene is a key component of good hygiene practice in the home and community, and can produce significant benefits in terms of reducing the incidence of infection.