Put some Windex on it

Dear Clean Freaks,

Don’t worry, I’m not here to criticize your “irrational” obsession with sanitation. I swore that I would never become one of you after living with my mother — who vacuums the walls of our house just for fun — for 18 years. But upon arriving at college and suddenly being confined to a sardine can-sized living space, I’ve noticed that she’s definitely left an imprint on me and my cleanliness standards, making a lot of college situations noticeably grody.

For example, dorm floors. Normally, outside of a college setting, life is spread out across many rooms and spaces. But here, everything ends up in one room, on cold, hard, linoleum tiles, where nothing can be hidden. Dust, tape, take out menus, Dewick cookie crumbs, bacon bits, tears — but most importantly, hair. From eyelashes to PPPs (possible pubic pieces), dorm room floors garner unidentifiable clumps like none other. Thus, vacuuming has become my favorite sport as of late. Nothing is more satisfying than sucking up rogue hair and other miscellaneous floor droppings. I even vacuumed my dorm hallway for the hell of it the other day. It was wild.

Dorm bathrooms are another territory that tend to terrify those who prefer cleanliness. Everyone is familiar with the no touching policy: flushing the toilet with your foot in some sort of acrobatic manner; holding the door handle with your pinky and on the lesser-touched bottom half; writhing in anger when the hand soap dispensers don’t work. All of these issues are only exacerbated in college, where every bathroom is essentially a public restroom. The cleaning staff does a good job, but only to an extent. Showers will always have random hairs and disturbing amounts of PPPs. Just remember to wear your flippy floppies around all the time and you’ll steer clear of lurking bacteria. If the grossness becomes too much, go the slightly sassy and humorous anonymous letter route. For example, “Dear residents of (specific hall floor), please remember to put the toilet seat up before peeing. The wet look only works on hair.” Or maybe even “Don’t dump food or other large items down the drain. Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes are no longer ‘great’ when they are floating around in pool of water and old toothpaste. Frigg off Tony the Tiger.”

Living in close quarters with other people also warrants the fast and furious spread of germs, viruses and sicknesses galore. As the talented Mr. Kanye West once said in his “The New Workout Plan” (2004), “cover your mouth up like you got SARS” people. I’m taking inspiration from Japan and many other Asian cultures, where wearing a mouth mask is both a preventive method against sickness as well as a fashion statement. They’re the perfect barrier against projectile sneeze spittle and other airborne illnesses. And you can tell everyone you’re just trying out for Grey’s Anatomy. Watch out Sandra Oh.

And coming off the last point, dining hall violations must be avoided. I know, I know — it’s a pain using a spoon to pick up some grilled cheese in a tray while a line of judging people wait impatiently behind you. But using your hands is not the answer. Struggle through and keep things clean. Also, last week I saw someone drop half a hash brown on the floor and then proceeded to motion as if he or she was about to put it back in the tray. Whoever you are, HOW IN THE HELL DID THAT SEEM LIKE A GOOD IDEA? Just keep it clean, bud.

So while I haven’t started Cloroxing everything in sight just yet, I just may be getting there. Gonna go scrub my hands with bleach right quick. See you bitties.