College fall semester is upon us once again. About two-thirds of all homes in the U.S. have air conditioners, so many American students are used to cold, filtered air at home. Unfortunately, many student dorms today do not have air conditioning. When extreme temperatures hit, students sprint for the nearest box store for fans and mini AC units to stave off discomfort and even a drop in cognitive functions. Not only that, dorms are close-packed with young people who don’t necessarily have the best hygiene habits. So this autumn, what can you do to keep dorm air clean besides investing in an AC unit?
Filter Out Those Nasty Dorm Particles
Dorms are full of dust, mold, bacteria, and airborne illnesses. One of the most effective ways you can keep your own room’s air clean is investing in a dorm-size air purifier. Come flu season you’ll be thankful that you can retreat to your filtered room while your suitemates are coughing and visiting health services.
Vacuum, Dust, and Laundry
Another way to keep down airborne nasties besides an air filter? Vacuum and dust often. You only need a small stick vacuum and a handheld duster cloth to get the job done. On top of that, do your laundry! It’s tempting for college kids to slack on washing dirty towels and old sheets, but washing your linens and clothes once a week cuts down on unwanted dirt, bacteria, smells, and moisture in your room. As a bonus for acne sufferers, your skin will thank you for clean pillowcases that won’t clog up your pores overnight with dead skin, dirt, and bacteria.
Use Caution When Heating Up Food
College students are all about delicious, smelly, greasy foods. Who can blame them? Mexican food is especially all the rage. Almost 234 million Americans used Mexican ingredients and recipes in 2016, and college kids are no exception thanks to the ease, deliciousness, and reheat-ability. You’ll probably hoard leftovers in your mini fridge to heat up in your microwave later. But careful — smells can linger in the air, carpet, and your bed and clothes. Your tiny dorm room is no match for heating up strong-smelling leftovers. To keep everything smelling fresh as your late-night study snack is heating up, make sure you have good air circulation going such as a fan blowing out a window or an open door.
Bask In A Salty Glow
Trendy, earthy details like a Himalayan salt lamp are not only relaxing to look at, they might just be beneficial for your health and air quality. Salt lamps reportedly release negative ions into the air, and negative air ionization was found to be associated with lower rates of depression by a study in BMC Psychiatry.
Dorm air can be dry, dry, dry. A mini desktop humidifier or even a vapor-producing essential oil diffuser can bring a calming essence into your room while putting some much-needed moisture in the air. Sleeping in optimum humidity can keep your mucous membranes healthy and less prone to infections and viruses that run rampant in dorms.
Remember that certain air quality issues, like a lingering, diffused mildew smell, should be treated like an emergency and immediately brought to the attention of the school and whoever is in charge of dorm upkeep. Students can do their best to keep the air in their space clean, but some problems just aren’t theirs to fix!