Living in a dorm will undoubtedly make for some lifelong memories. Of course, you want those memories to be good ones (not grimy ones), so maintaining a clean dorm is essential. But don’t get it twisted: Clean doesn’t just mean free of dirt and grime. It also means a sanitary, dust-free, well-organized space. After all, have you ever seen a room strewn with clothes, shoes, and books, all covered in dust, and thought to yourself, ‘Man, now that’s a clean room.’ No, we bet you haven’t.
With that in mind, we’ve gone ahead and rounded up 15 of the top products to keep your dorm as clean as possible this semester. Add these items to a bubble list in your iPhone notes or print out this story to serve as your one-stop reminder for things you most definitely won’t want to forget at home.
1. A mess-free mop for every surface
Not all dorms have carpets. In fact, many come with tile or linoleum floors. As such, having a mess-free mop on hand to keep your floors in tip-top shape is always a good idea. Instead of fussing over a traditional bucket mop, stock your cleaning closet with a Swiffer WetJet—which, by the way, we ranked as the best mop off 2021. All you have to do is buy Swiffer sheets and solution, put the mop together, and get Swiffering. It’s all very intuitive.
2. The best air purifier you can buy
Clean air is just as important as a visibly clean space, especially with rising COVID-19 cases and wildfire concerns in different areas of the country. Fortunately, in 2021, air purifiers are more popular than ever, so there are a ton to choose from. When we tested the top-sellers, we found that the Winix 5500-2 Air Purifier reigned supreme, with easy-to-change filers, and an easy-to-move silhouette.
3. A set of stackable under-bed storage bins
Dorms are small. Luckily, there are ways to make the most of your limited space. Namely, putting the space beneath your bed to good use. The best way to do so is with underbed boxes. This four-pack of Sterilite storage boxes are great for their spacious, long, stackable nature. They're perfect for storing extra clothing, school supplies, food and more.
4. A set of microfiber cleaning towels
Another sustainable solution: Microfiber cleaning towels. They work wonderfully for wiping down surfaces, drying dishes, and cleaning windows and mirrors, and they’re a whole lot less wasteful than paper towels. This set of microfiber cloths has a 4.2-star rating at QVC and comes in five fun patterns, perfect for any dorm style.
5. An ultra-lightweight vacuum
Whether you live alone or with roommates in your dorm, there’s always the possibility of dragging dirt and debris in from the outside world. To ensure that it doesn’t clutter your baseboards or get matted into your carpet, make sure you’re well prepared with a top-notch vacuum. The Shark NV682 is the best affordable lightweight vacuum we tested. It comes with a number of useful attachments, it's easy to use, and it performed nearly as well as the Dyson Ball (which is about three times as expensive).
6. Or, if you prefer an unthinking approach to cleaning, a robot vacuum
If you’re more of a sit back and relax while the cleaning takes care of itself kind of person, you can’t go wrong with an iRobot Roomba i7+—our personal favorite robot vacuum cleaner. The best part about this automatic vacuum is that it disposes of dirt itself, so you don’t have to painstakingly empty it every other day.
7. A high-quality trash can
Naturally, if you want a clean dorm room, you won’t want it to be littered with garbage, or swarmed with scents wafting from your garbage can. As such, investing in a high-quality, odor-resistant can is essential. When it comes to such, nothing compares to the Simplehuman 45L Rectangular Step Can. While $140 might seem pricey for a trash can, as someone who has sworn by them in all of her own apartments over the past seven years, I can assure you, they are 100% worth it—especially since they’re resistant to fingerprints despite being stainless.
8. A pack of microfiber cleaning mitts
Another microfiber cleaning solution worth stocking up on? Cleaning Mitts. You’ll be shocked at how well they work to dust surfaces and clean mirrors with a totally streak-free finish. Nearly 300 shoppers give these mitts 4.5 stars, noting that they're perfect for small jobs and easy to wash.
9. A bunch of disinfectant wipes
COVID-19 is still very much something to be mindful of, especially if you're sharing a dorm with dozens of fellow students. Thankfully, as we head back to school, disinfectant sprays and wipes are much more readily available than they were back in 2020. In other words, do yourself a favor and stock up while you can. But not just on any brand—one that’s proven to be effective—Lysol Disinfectant Wipes.
10. A well-designed dishrack
If sustainability is top of mind for you, chances are, you won’t want to rely solely on disposable plates, cups, and silverware in your dorm. However, since most dorms don’t come with dishwashers, that means you’ll want to outfit your space with a well-designed dishrack to keep your sink and counter space clean. While dishracks may seem one in the same, we tested a bunch and found that the PremiumRacks Professional Dish Rack is best. It has a double-decker design with plenty of space to dry plates, cups, cutlery, and more. Also, it comes with two drain board options, so water won’t pool and mold won’t form. Thank goodness.
11. The trendiest hand sanitizer around
I know what you’re thinking: How does cleaning your hands make for a clean dorm? Simply, by not bringing endless bacteria into it! This sanitizer from Touchland not only will keep your hands impeccably clean but it will leave them smelling great, too. Plus, the rectangular bottles are so unique, you’ll likely want to feature them on your grid. In that way, they’re almost like a trendy accessory for these times. No wonder they’re beloved by hundreds of shoppers and have an overwhelming number of 5-star reviews.
12. A can of disinfectant spray
While you’re at it, add a can or two of Lysol’s Disinfectant Spray to your cart, too. It’s a powerful and effective cleaning workhorse that belongs in your supply cubby. It's perfect for surfaces, knobs and handles—and basically every visible inch of the dorm room.
13. Sturdy, durable hangers
Do you feel like a space is tidy if there are clothes all over the floor? Probably not. So, to avoid that disastrous feeling for yourself, keep your dorm and closet clean and organized by hanging your clothes on our very favorite hangers: The Container Store Basic Acrylic Hanger. They’re sleek, modern, and make navigating small, dark closets (as is often the case in dorms) a breeze. Plus, clothes cling to them, so they’re less likely to fall off on the floor.
14. A bottle of trusted stain remover
No matter how careful you aim to be, spills will inevitably happen. And, if you have any type of fabric in your dorm—whether it’s a comforter, chair, carpet, or rug—you’ll want to have a top-quality stain remover on hand. Fortunately for you, we’ve already tested a bunch and found that the Woolite INSTAclean Pet Stain Remover is the way to go. Not solely for pet stains, the remover works exceptionally well to address everything from chocolate to tomato sauce stains, and even removes stubborn scents in the process.
15. A top-rated step stool
You don’t want your dorm room to turn into dustville USA (yes, that’s a Samir Celebrity Home Shopping reference). Part of ensuring it doesn’t is making sure that you’re tall enough to reach even the highest corners in your home. The Honey-Can-Do Folding Step Stool is our favorite stool for just that. In addition to making crown molding more accessible, this sturdy stool will make organizing tall shelves and closet spaces a breeze, too.
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.