The Daily Gamecock

Column: Make an old rental home feel new

Moving away from home can be scary, and dirty rentals can make things even scarier. For the first time, all of the cleaning, cooking and laundry responsibilities fall on the shoulders of college students. It is especially challenging when students move into an older apartment or house that already has its fair share of damages. 

Whether it be stains, clogs or that weird smell that just won’t go away, moving into student-living arrangements can be a difficult adjustment. Luckily, thanks to Pinterest and some simple around-the-house ingredients, it can be easy and affordable to turn a used space into a clean one that feels like home. 

Here are some tips to making your rental feel more like home.

The hardest yet most important room in a house to clean is the bathroom. While the bathroom is a space to get clean, it can be a strenuous one to keep tidy and fresh. For safety and health reasons, it is important not to use multiple cleaning products with different chemicals at the same time. I suggest using essential oils and homemade products.

An effortless trick to keep a bathroom smelling fresh is putting a few drops of essential oil on the inside cardboard tube of a toilet paper roll. Every time someone uses the roll, the smell is released into the air.

To make an odor-absorber jar, just add baking soda and a few drops of an essential oil to a small mason jar, poke some holes in the lid and place on an open shelf in the bathroom or even behind the toilet.

Poo-Pourri, the popular toilet deodorizer, can get expensive on a college student’s budget. However, with an old spray bottle, it can be recreated with a few ingredients. Put one teaspoon of dish soap, one teaspoon of rubbing alcohol, 10 drops of wintergreen essential oil and five drops of peppermint essential oil into a spray bottle in that order. After, fill the remainder of the bottle with distilled water and spray the mix into the toilet before each bathroom use. 

Also, by switching out the rubbing alcohol for two tablespoons of baking soda, those same ingredients can create a non-toxic toilet bowl cleaner. Although it isn’t a homemade product, putting a few splashes of Pine-Sol in the bottom of a toilet bowl brush holder will clean the brush while making the bathroom smell lemony-fresh. 

Old shower heads can be covered in grime and effect the direction of water flow as well as water pressure. By filling a plastic sandwich bag a third of the way full with distilled white vinegar, secure the bag around the shower head with a rubber band and let the shower head soak for at least an hour. The built-up grime will then scrub off easily. 

The kitchen is another difficult room to keep clean. One product that comes in clutch when first moving in is Glad’s Press’n Seal. Place a Press’n Seal sheet on each fridge shelf and spills will be a breeze to clean up. 

The dishwasher is a favorite kitchen appliance for most, but older ones tend to have a certain odor. To get rid of that lingering smell, fill a glass with white vinegar and place it on the top rack of an empty dishwasher. After running it through one time, the smell should dissipate.

Most college students have roommates, so organizing the kitchen can get tricky. Luckily, Walmart sells bundle packs of mason jars. Instead of having dozens of cluttered boxes and bags in the cabinets, use mason jars to organize different things such as pastas, spices and snacks. It will look clean and simple while clearing up a lot of space.

Making an apartment feel new goes beyond just cleanliness. An item that always makes a room feel and look better are plants. Trader Joes sells no-fuss succulents and other plants that are easy to take care of for less than ten dollars. After buying a few of those, head to an arts and craft store to buy a few terra cotta pots that can be painted to match any room. 

While moving into a new place away from home can be intimidating, there is little that a quick
Google search can’t solve. Messes can be cleaned, and if they can’t, that is what security deposits are for.