You’re living on your own for the first time – without the support of parents, siblings, or loved ones to keep you healthy and sane. The first few weeks go well. You’ve managed to eat three meals every day and only oversleep for class or work once until it hits you: you don’t actually know how to be clean.
Here, I’ve collected some simple tips and tricks that I’ve had to learn the hard way throughout college and post-grad life, all designed to help you live a little cleaner and healthier.
Let’s start with your bed, the best-loved item in your dorm or new apartment. If you’re anything like me, your bed sheets are the last thing you remember to clean unless you spill coffee on them. Yet, conventional wisdom states they should hit the laundry every two weeks – and maybe even weekly during sweaty summer nights. Your comforter, however, can last much longer. I try to only wash them when the seasons change…or if I spill coffee on them.
I love my long hair. It makes me feel sexy and awesome, and any time I cut it, I always regret it. That is, until my hair clogs up a drain, and I have to spend an afternoon trying not to vom as I scoop it out. A neat tip I’ve picked up to help prevent some nauseous hair balls is to treat them proactively. Don’t just buy Draino when you’re ankle deep in shower water; show your drain some love every week! Drop a little pipe cleaner down the drain, followed by boiling water each week to keep the clogs at bay.
If you’re ever out of all-purpose cleaner, or if you’re ever tackling a particularly caked on stove top, kitchen floor, bathtub, you name it – meet the homemade cleaner of your dreams. Thanks to my mother and the power of her friends on Facebook, I have discovered this miracle cleaner: 8 ounces of vinegar, 2 ounces of Dawn or other dish soap, 10 ounces of water, 4 ounces of lemon juice and 2 teaspoons of baking soda. Most of these ingredients you can find lying around any time, so there’s no excuse when you need to tackle a huge mess.
There’s a lot of “clean” stuff around the house that you actually have to clean. My roommate this year turned me on to the wonders of cleaning your sponges nightly to keep the dinner bacteria at bay. Pop your dish sponge into the microwave for 30 seconds, and that bad boy will come out bouncy and new (and also very, very hot, so be careful). Thankfully BuzzFeed has a full list of all the weird products you’ve probably never disinfected.
You will always have to vacuum and dust, and you’ll always separate your lights and darks. But utilize these four tips to up your cleaning game this fall, and you’ll be way cleaner in the spring!