School is getting back in session. Whether you’re heading off to college, heading back to college, or sending your child off for the first time—there are some things that can make the experience go much smoother. Most dorm packing lists cover the basics, but they don’t take into account those things that can help you feel more comfortable in your home away from home. Plus, if you suffer from allergies or asthma, you have more to think about, not knowing what symptom triggers await you.
To help you (or your studious son or daughter) create a healthier, more comfortable dorm room, check out our list of must-have products.
Many dorms lack central air conditioning. Other dorms have it, but it might not be powerful enough to cool you during the late summer months and you might not have control over the thermostat. A great stand-in, a compact table fan fits easily on your bedside table, window sill, or desk to circulate a gentle breeze that cools you and keeps your space refreshed while you hit the books.
Our Pick: Weighing just under 4 pounds, the Vornado 573 Air Circulator features 3 cooling speeds, quiet operation, and a sleek minimalist design that looks great on your nightstand.
Dorm life isn’t exactly hotel life. You’ll have to do some cleaning. Luckily, most dorm rooms have either smooth flooring or low-pile carpeting that doesn’t require a heavy full-size vacuum for effective dirt pick-up (where would you store it anyway?). Enter stick vacuums. Lightweight and compact enough to tuck into a closet or hang on a wall hook, stick vacs make quick work of cleaning up dirt, crumbs, and other dry messes that always seem to appear out of nowhere.
Our Pick: The bagless Electrolux Ergorapido 2-in-1 Cordless Vacuum features a 180-degree swivel head to clean swiftly around corners and furniture and includes 2 attachments plus a hand vacuum that take it from the floor to your dusty desk.
Many dorm rooms are situated in older buildings that inevitably seem to have a signature musty smell. This odor permeates your room, closet, clothing, bedding, and more. It can be a sign of high humidity and unhealthy mold and mildew. A mini dehumidifier fights musty odors and absorbs excess moisture in the air to eliminate mold and mildew growth.
Our Pick: The Eva-Dry E-333 Mini Dehumidifier uses renewable eco-friendly silica gel crystals to absorb moisture and neutralize musty odors in small spaces like closets, cabinets, wardrobes, bathrooms, and your tiny dorm room.
If you’re plagued by allergies or asthma, consider bringing along a compact HEPA air purifier. It’s nearly impossible to predict what kind of allergens you’ll be up against in your new home. A HEPA air purifier, or High Efficiency Particulate Air purifier, filters out over 99% of microscopic dust, pollen, ragweed, mold, and other particles floating around your space.
Our Pick: The space-saving Alen T100 Tower Air Purifier uses a 3-in-1 combination filter to trap small and large airborne particles as well as unpleasant odors for healthier, cleaner air.
A must for allergy-sufferers, allergy bedding protects you from the most common bedroom allergy trigger—dust mites. Exposure to these microscopic organisms can cause sneezing, runny nose, headaches, watery eyes, and other cold-like symptoms that are hard to beat day after day. Dust mite covers zip around your pillow and mattress to stop dust mites from infiltrating your cozy bed, so you can get a better night’s rest.
Our Pick: Allersoft pillow and mattress covers are multi-purpose, forming a highly protective shield against dust mites, pollen, mold particles, and other microscopic allergy triggers. Choose from 3 comfortable fabric options.
Looking ahead to the colder months, your dorm room can quickly turn into an icebox with moisture-sapped air that spawns dry skin, dry breathing passages, and an uncomfortable scratchy throat. Pick up a compact space heater and a humidifier to keep you toasty and help you breathe easier during harsh winter temps.
Space Heater: The compact Honeywell Cool Touch Oscillating Energy Smart Heater fits snugly on your desk or beside your bed and features 4 heat settings as well as an Energy Smart mode to conserve power. Before you buy, be sure to check if your dorm has restrictions against using space heaters.
Humidifier: The lightweight Stadler Form Aquila Humidifier injects 1 gallon of comfortable moisture into your air each day, helping you breathe easier. Its compact design won’t compromise your space, and easy manual controls take the guesswork out of operation.
Here’s to a happy (and productive) fall semester! What are your must-haves for a more comfortable or allergy-friendly dorm room?