How often should you clean your dorm room?

Students for Clean Living

You'd think that the exorbitant price of college these days would include the cost of a Jeeves-like personal butler, but alas -- no matter how much you pay for your fancy Psychology of the Endangered Emu classes, you're probably still responsible for doing things like throwing away your pizza crusts and doing your laundry. But let's be realistic. Instead of asking how often you need to clean your room, we will instead answer the more pressing question: How long can you get away with not cleaning your room?

Let's address actual trash first. No beating around the bush -- if you leave food out, in your trash or otherwise, you're going to find yourself with new friends that you didn't meet in your Sociology of Vegans lecture. Common female houseflies will hang out around your trash and lay up to 150 eggs in a batch (up to six batches!). They hatch in just a few days. And remember that those larvae aren't just flies. They're maggots. Yup, your unfinished takeout from the cafeteria can become crawling with larvae within a day or two if you have flies [source: Orkin]. So best you clean up anything rotting -- food, drink, dead animals -- within the day.

Now, what about that pile of laundry? The biggest threat of dirty clothes seems to be odor; bacteria and germs aren't a huge problem, especially if they're just hanging out in the corner. That being said, many clothes don't need a wash after every wear unless you're getting stains or sweating through them a lot. The exceptions? Underwear, bathing suits and workout gear. They make for fertile bacterial ground, so wash every time [source: Bass].

If you're feeling really ambitious, please recall that you also need to change those sheets on your bed. Sleeping in pajamas? The recommendation is to launder your sheets once a week. Prefer sleeping in the buff? Twice a week, and don't forget to change any mattress pad as well [source: WebMD]. What happens if you decide to throw caution to the wind and sleep on the same sheets all year? You're exposing yourself to bacterial growth that could lead to things like acne, eczema -- and even mold [source: Roach].

Author's Note: How often should you clean your dorm room?

The not-so-dirty little secret of dorm life is that you might actually have someone do some cursory cleaning for you. Vacuuming, washing windows -- even taking out the trash -- might be done by a very kind janitorial staff. The least you can do, then, is wash your sheets and throw away the pizza box.

Related Articles


  • Anderson, Natasha. "How to get rid of fruit flies." The Bug Squad. April 23, 2012. (July 25, 2013)
  • Bass, Debra B. "How clean do our clothes need to be?" St. Louis Post-Dispatch. March 25, 2012. (July 25, 2013)
  • Illinois Department of Public Health. "The house fly and other filth flies." (July 25, 2013)
  • Murray, Todd. "Garden Friends and Foes." Washington State University, Whatcom County Extension. (July 24, 2013)
  • Orkin. "Flies." Orkin Pest Control. (July 25, 2013)
  • Roach, Bre. "That's disgusting: Dirty sheets." The University Daily Kansan. Nov. 10, 2011. (July 25, 2013)
  • WebMD. "How often to change your bed sheets." (July 25, 2013)