RACHEL BELLE

Most college kids say they ‘were not prepared to clean’ their dorm or apartment

Sep 7, 2022, 12:50 PM | Updated: Sep 8, 2022, 3:16 pm
college clean...
(Phillip Goldsberry/Unsplash)
(Phillip Goldsberry/Unsplash)

In college, I briefly dated a guy who had the filthiest bathroom I’ve ever seen. I’ll spare you the dirty details, but I will say I had to bring over my own toilet paper. This memory came to mind when I read the results of a new survey of college students from the American Cleaning Institute.

“We undertook a survey earlier this summer and about three in four admitted they were not completely prepared to clean when they went to college,” said American Cleaning Institute’s Brian Sansoni.

According to their survey, 75% of college students don’t feel prepared to clean their dorm rooms or apartments.

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“Fifty-three percent said it was a lack of motivation,” said Sansoni. “About 50% said it was a lack of time.”

This confused me. Not feeling prepared to clean makes me think they don’t know how to do their own laundry and they’re not sure which cleaning supplies to buy. But the survey indicates they don’t feel like cleaning or don’t have the time.

“It could be situational that they didn’t do a lot of their own cleaning and laundering when they were at home,” said Sansori. “For millions of college students, especially the freshman, it may be the first time that they’re on their own, literally learning about new habits. Mom or dad aren’t taking care of that.”

Kamri McKnight, a junior at BYU in Utah, has seen some examples of this in her community.

“The roommate never washed dishes,” said McKnight. “She would just buy new dishes, throw them away, and buy new 50-cent plates at Target. That is so crazy to me — so crazy! Definitely, there’s a learning curve for a lot of people.”

McKnight said she grew up doing chores and had parents who taught her how to clean. But I asked her what she thought about colleges offering a basic one-time cleaning class for those who didn’t learn before they left home.

“I think that’s a great idea,” said McKnight. “There is this revolution in broadening awareness about mental health with college students. Schools are already involved in sleep and exercising a social life. But one that is less talked about is how productive it can be to focus on your environment and cleaning. So I could see that being super beneficial for students to recognize that it’s not taking too much time out of your day, but the benefits can be something that really helps you in your academic studies and personal life.”

Sansoni says college students might not clean, but they do want to live in a clean space.

“Sixty-one percent, interestingly enough, said they strongly agree that having a clean room makes them feel their best, both mentally and physically. Anecdotally, a sense of calm when you’re not cluttered, it helps put one at ease.”

Parents and guardians, let this be a lesson to you. Teach your kids how to do basic cleaning before they move out, so that in 25 years, some lady isn’t telling a story about your kid’s filthy bathroom on the radio.

Listen to Rachel Belle’s James Beard Award nominated podcast, “Your Last Meal.” Follow @yourlastmealpodcast on Instagram!

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Most college kids say they ‘were not prepared to clean’ their dorm or apartment