Green Cleaning: Dorm Edition

jar of cleaning wipes, all purpose spray and sal suds

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Is it possible to maintain green cleaning in a college dorm?

Sending your child off to college is an overwhelming experience on a normal year. Add in a global pandemic and watch your anxiety go crazy.

Our last daughter is heading to school about 15 hours away from us. And yes, we’ve thought about all the scenarios. We came to the conclusion that life is risky and there are many things out of our control. We work hard to eat right, use excellent quality supplements, get exercise, hydrate plus social distancing where possible and utilizing masks when needed. We are comfortable that the school is taking adequate precaution and planning for many situations. SO. Now we’re on to getting all the things on her dorm list and figuring out ways for her to maintain the healthiest of lifestyle.

The first area we’ve tackled is to maintain green cleaning.

Using harsh cleaners can have a negative effect on your immune system, and that’s the last thing we want to happen – right?? But is green cleaning possible in a college dorm without spending a fortune? 

After looking a lots of DIYs and for purchase products, I think we’ve found a winning combination and can say yes, you can indeed maintain green cleaning – that’s affordable – in college. 

Here’s what we’ve come up with. Hopefully you’ll find it helpful as well as a big timesaver!

There are a few things you’ll need:

cleaning wipes and sal suds for green cleaning in the dorms

Sal Sud’s Biodegradable Cleaner <-this is the key
Essential Oils: Siberian Fir, Douglas Fir, Lemon, Tea Tree
Laundry detergent (We have a great DIY for this, but it’s a bit too much for dorm life. There are quite a few different environmentally friendly brands out there that won’t break the bank.)

1-2 Spray bottles
Airtight container (like these)
Flannel squares, baby washcloths or similar
Dust cloths & cleaning cloths

And that’s it Sal Suds is actually pretty darn amazing. It is not a soap but instead is a concentrated hard-surface all-purpose cleaner. It is made with plant-based surfactants and natural fir needle and spruce essential oils, without any synthetic dyes, fragrances or preservatives.

There are just a couple of green cleaning DIYs, and they’re so easy it’s almost hard to call them that.

1) All Purpose Spray 

In a 16 oz spray bottle, fill bottle almost to the top with water, then add 1-2 teaspoons of Sal Suds along with 10 drops Siberian fir and 5 drops Douglas fir essential oils. You can swap these out for other oils like tea tree, rosemary, or citrus oil.

Use on any surface that is safe in contact with water

2) Window Wash

In a 16oz spray bottles, simple reduce Sal Suds to 1/2 tsp and add 15 drops lemon essential oil.  FYI we’ve used the regular all-purpose spray on windows with good results, so you may not even need this.

3) All Purpose Wipes

Airtight container (like these)
15 flannel (or other cloth squares)
1 teaspoon Sal Suds
1/2 cup white vinegar
1 cup water
10 drops lemon essential oil
5 drops tea tree oil

Combine liquid ingredients then add the fabric squares. After you use the wipes it’s totally safe to throw the squares into the laundry. It’s helpful to have a second container for the clean fabric squares. Once they’re used up, just repeat the cycle.

Keeping the supply list simple

These few items will tackle just about all the cleaning situations: counters, desk tops, mirrors, bath tub, toilets. You’ll notice one main ingredient in this, and that’s Sal Suds. It’s a powerful coconut derived cleaner that has SO many uses. It gets an A from EWG for eco-safe ingredients. Sal Suds can be used to pre treat laundry stains, as a fruit and veggie wash, to wash dishes and even for mopping the floor. It’s a bit drying on our skin, so it’s not for hand washing.

I have a fab online source to purchase supplies: Thrive Market.  It will be super handy to be able to place an order for needed items and have them delivered to Hana. As a college athlete with a full schedule (Bio, Chem, and PreCal all in one semester) she won’t have a lot of time for shopping.

Sal Suds comes from Thrive. They also have an assortment of other cleaning supplies and even more important, SNACKS. All college students need a stash of snacks, right?? At least these will be a bit healthier.  They also carry laundry detergent, hand soap, personal care items, and necessities like coffee and tea 🙂 You’ll get free stuff when you get set up with a Thrive membership. Free is fun.

I hope this is a helpful and simple way to prep your kiddo’s green cleaning stash for their dorm. If you’re the type you likes a handy printable recipe sheet, we got you (there’s cute labels too), grab the recipe sheet by filling in this form, and then check your email inbox:

Obviously there are loads of other cleaning DIY recipes out there. In fact we have more on the site. So if these aren’t your jam, check this all purpose cleaner and these recipes for cleaning wipes. Also, our sister company, #thehashtaggirls is offering a special set of reference cards designed for college students trying to live a bit more on the holistic side. You can order those HERE. Use the code holistic-ish for FIFTY percent off your order!

Also, as you are getting things prepped for dorm life, don’t forget about the possibility of quarantine. Check our post on preparing for quarantine: dorm edition. And speaking of covid…. Send them a bottle or two of mask refresher spray. Wearing those face coverings all day is not gonna be fun at least we can keep them fresh.

Looking for more DIYs?

Settle: a calming soap with calendula

Settle into bedtime with this calming soap If you’re looking for a fairly simple soap to make that is packed with skin soothing ingredients —

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you aren’t quite sure where to begin. Grab our FREE download with loads of simple tips to reduce waste and live a greener, more sustainable lifestyle.

3 Responses

  1. Now you just have to hope that she actually uses the products and cleans that dorm room! haha! But, I love that you thought about this! So many kids have no idea how to clean when they go off to college, let alone how to do it with safe homemade products! What a great thing to teach both her and her dorm mates! Good job!

    1. She’s pretty on top of things. And it was important to her to go as green as possible. So all things seem encouraging!!!

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