How to Keep a Dorm Smelling Good

Tips to make your dorm room smell better, connect with friends, and become a real adult—or at least to do one of those things!

Amanda Thomas
5-minute read
Episode #171

If the title of this week’s episode caught your eye, chances are you are a college student who has a smell in their dorm room, or you are the parent of a college student who wants him or her to make a good first impression. Whatever your personal motivation, there are plenty of reasons to want a dorm room to smell good. Aside from an annoying roommate, funky smells are the biggest reason no one wants to hang out in specific rooms on campus.

If you feel that people are avoiding your dorm room, and feel that both you and your roommate are pretty cool people, it might be time to start making it smell better. Luckily, there are a few easy things you can do to make your dorm smell good almost instantly.

Remove Smelly Stuff

When you are trying to sleep, study, socialize, and eat all in one room, it’s inevitable that some smelly stuff is going to accumulate. The first step in getting your dorm room to smell good is to remove the smelly stuff. Chances are high that offending odors are coming from one of 4 places:

·         The laundry pile

·         The trash can

·         The dirty dishes

·         YOU

So, what should you do?

1. Take a Shower

Yep, not only did I say that YOU might be the smelly problem in your dorm, but I’m going to go so far as to start by talking about your body odor as the culprit. If you are living in a dorm, there’s a good chance you are under the age of 20. I hate to break it to you, but teenagers can smell pretty funky some times. If you get lost in your video games, or have been spending every waking hour studying, take a minute and try to remember the last time you showered. If it’s been more than a day or two, drop everything and go clean yourself. You can’t expect the stuff in your room to smell good if YOU don’t smell good.

2. Wash Your Sheets and Towels

Before you dry off after your shower, take another moment and consider when the last time you washed your towel was. If you can’t remember, toss it into the laundry hamper and grab a new one. Towels do a great job of grabbing all the moisture from our hands and bodies, but they also do a great job of grabbing any excess sweat and all the other gross stuff you’re trying to get rid of. They need to be washed about once every few uses to keep them smelling fresh. There are few things that smell worse than a rank towel, so make sure you hang it up after each use and allow it to dry out completely. Then, swap it out for a new one every three to five showers.

Likewise, your sheets can get pretty stinky if you don’t wash them often enough. As a general rule of thumb, you will want to wash your sheets every week or two. If you eat in your bed, or shower in the morning, you’ll want to wash them more frequently. If you shower at night and always make your bed in the morning, you may be able to get by with only washing them every couple weeks. Regardless, if your sheets start to get a dingy tinge to them, they probably have a bit of a stench too. Wash them more often. Period.

3, Do the Laundry

If you are involved in sports, or are active at all, there’s a good chance that your laundry pile has a funky smell. While some college students had to do laundry growing up, many of them (including myself when I first went to college) have never done laundry before. Learning to do laundry is one thing, but learning how often you need to do laundry is another issue. In general, it’s a good idea to do laundry on a weekly basis. It can be tempting to let the laundry pile grow until you run out of clean undies, but that pile is bound to have a stench to it. Doing laundry every 7-10 days will prevent your room from smelling like a dirty gym sock.

4. Take Out the Trash

You know that kid whose trash can is so full it has overflowed into a big mountain in his room? Don’t be that kid. Unless your trash is only comprised of paper, there is stuff in there that can make your dorm room stink. Food, drinks, anything that had moisture in it will start to smell in a few days. Take out the trash every time it gets full, or anytime you walk into your room and notice something smells a little off.


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