Cleaning Your Space
For the health and safety of our residents, it is critical that a reasonable level of cleanliness be maintained in residential areas. Outlined below are resident and departmental responsibilities. Working together, we can maintain safe and comfortable living spaces.
- Residents in all buildings are responsible for keeping their living spaces clean and free of excessive moisture by following our Resident Responsibilities for Keeping Living Spaces Clean & Free of Excessive Moisture (listed below). For residents of apartments this includes cleaning bedrooms, bathrooms, and shared common spaces.
Services Provided by Student Housing
- Staff conduct health and safety inspections
- Community spaces in residence halls and residential colleges, including community bathrooms in traditional halls, are cleaned by custodial staff twice daily Sunday-Saturday.
- In-room bathrooms and sink areas in contemporary halls are cleaned every two weeks if residents have removed belongings from those areas and have given custodial staff permission to enter their rooms.
Why It’s Important to Control Excessive Moisture & Mold Growth
In 2018, there was a dramatic increase in the number of U.S. colleges and universities impacted by excessive moisture and humidity issues associated with warmer than average temperatures and increased rainfall. This has sometimes resulted in indoor mold growth in residential buildings. As such, we are placing even greater emphasis on reducing excessive moisture and indoor humidity as part of our efforts to prevent the growth of mold in our residential buildings.
Having existed for millions of years, molds are everywhere in the world. Molds grow naturally outdoors, but, like other potential allergens, mold spores can be easily brought into buildings through open windows and doors, ventilation and air conditioning systems, clothing, or shoes. The Environmental Protection Agency reports that “there is no practical way to eliminate all mold and mold spores in the indoor environment; the way to control indoor mold growth is to control moisture.” Mold can grow on any organic substrate including wood, paper, carpet, foods, and insulation as long as moisture and oxygen are present.
While eliminating all mold spores in the indoor environment is not realistic, mold growth can be controlled indoors by controlling moisture levels and cleaning any mold growth already present. Molds grow best in warm, damp, and humid conditions. Therefore, indoor environmental conditions must be such that mold growth will be deterred.
We continue to invest in our buildings with the goal of reducing indoor humidity by replacing windows, mechanical equipment, and exterior facades as needed. We also regularly test mechanical equipment to ensure optimal operation. Visit our facilities projects page to view information about current and future projects in our buildings.
Resident Responsibilities for Keeping Living Spaces Clean & Free of Excessive Moisture
Our residents play a key role in keeping our buildings clean and free of excessive moisture. Therefore, it is essential that you fulfill the following responsibilities. You can print this list so that you have a checklist.
- Do not place air filters over vents. This blocks return air flow and reduces general air flow to the building. Our systems were designed to operate efficiently without the use of individual air filters.
- Do not place furniture or other items in front of heating and cooling units.
- Do not place potted plants or any other source of moisture on or around heating and cooling units.
- Limit the amount of carpet in your room.
- Limit the amount of decor made of pile-weave materials (faux fur, shaggy fabrics, velvet, etc.) in your room. Textured materials may require additional attention and regular professional cleaning.
- Make sure items stored underneath beds are in containers to prevent the collection of dust.
- Immediately report any health and safety issues via our maintenance request process.
- Make your bed.
- Hang damp or wet towels, bath mats, clothing, or other items immediately on racks and allow items to dry completely. Do not hang damp or wet items over the furniture in the room or closet doors.
- Keep windows and exterior doors closed when the air conditioner or heater is running to prevent condensation on vents.
- Set thermostats no lower than 70 degrees when cooling and no higher than 74 degrees when heating your room; fans should be set on low speed.
- Clean and dry any visible moisture on windows, walls, and other surfaces immediately. Never allow water to sit on soft surfaces (carpets, towels, sheets, etc.) for long periods of time.
- If a bath exhaust fan is provided in your bathroom, be sure to turn the fan on when bathing or showering.
- Clean up after you eat, seal all food containers after use, and refrigerate perishable foods.
- Wash and dry dishes, cups, and utensils immediately after use.
- If you have a service or assistance animal, regularly remove accumulated pet hair.
- Empty trash.
- Wipe down hard surfaces with water and detergent/cleaning soap (ex. Dawn, Ivory, Mrs. Meyer’s) and allow to dry completely.
- Wash and dry towels.
- If you have a rug or carpet, vacuum it and make sure any spills are immediately cleaned to prevent mold growth between carpet fibers.
- If you have an in-room bathroom or shared apartment bathroom, clean your sink, toilet, bathtub or shower, and shower liner.
- Wash and dry bedding and curtains.
- Clean the interior surfaces of your refrigerator monthly and discard any old food or drinks.
- Clean your microwave.
- If you live in an apartment, clean the stovetop and interior surfaces of the oven.
Information about Allergies
At present, it is thought that there are upwards of 400,000 species of mold found all over the world. Not all species trigger allergic responses and/or cause allergies; only a few dozen do according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America.
Molds are a fact of life and present no real threat to any healthy individual. Often what are believed to be responses to mold are simply allergies to other things. Still, the effects are the same whether triggered by mold or some other allergen (pollen, pet dander, dust mites, etc.).
Our geographic location and outdoor environment can cause issues for those sensitive to pollen and other allergens and possibly those who have never suffered from allergies in the past. If you experience sensitivity, please seek the assistance of Student Health Services and/or your health care provider. Below are also some suggestions to help cope during the high pollen seasons in this area.
- If medication has been prescribed to reduce your sensitivity, follow the instructions of your doctor and/or medical professional.
- Track the pollen count at pollen.com. On the days that the count is high, try to stay indoors as much as possible.
- Keep windows and exterior doors closed to reduce the number of allergens entering your apartment or residence hall room.
- Vacuum and dust regularly to reduce the number of allergens that may be on shoes or clothes.
- If you find you are extremely sensitive, you may want to invest in a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter vacuum to capture as many allergens as possible.
- Avoid tossing your backpack or the clothes worn outside on your bed to prevent spreading allergens to your sleeping area.
- Consider showering and washing your hair before going to bed to also avoid introducing allergens to your bed linens.
- If you remain highly sensitive to allergens, you may consider investing in an air purifier for your room to remove as many allergens as possible from the air.