First-year flats: The dirty truth


Before you came to uni, you probably considered yourself to be a relatively clean, well-turned-out human being. Sure, you never quite understood your mum’s compulsive need to clean the bathroom every single week, or your Dad’s insistence on ironing absolutely everything (seriously – who irons jeans?). But you ate off clean dishes, you wore fresh clothes, and you kept your bedroom at a respectable level of tidiness. Never did you imagine just how questionable your personal hygiene would become once you were thrown into a flat with however many other grotty uni students. Here are the grossest things first year’s do when they eventually leave home and are forced to fend for themselves.

The leaning tower of crockery

It’s all fun and games at first, with no annoying parents standing by to make sure that you wash up after every meal. You revel in the freedom, leaving your pans to soak overnight, abandoning your dirty plates on the side for days on end – right up until the OCD flatmate, which every student flat has, tells you to pull your sh*t together. You still refuse to clean anything right away, but you get stealthy about it; you hide stuff in your kitchen cupboard or move it to your bedroom, promising yourself that you’ll do it later. Before you know it, though, that small pile of dishes on your desk grows and grows until it’s towering above you quite spectacularly, its newly-acquired green bits proudly on show for all to see.

The launderette is so close, yet so far

You knew that in halls you’d no longer have the luxury of a washing machine in your own home… but nobody warned you just how strenuous the trek back from the laundry room would feel, especially with a hefty Ikea bag full of wet clothes in tow. Who has the time to do a weekly wash anyway? That’s just excessive. You discover that most items of clothing have at least seven days worth of wear in them, maybe more if you avoid major spillages, and bedding should only be changed a maximum of once per term. There’s nothing wrong with fishing an old t-shirt out of the dirty pile anyway if you’re really desperate – a quick spray with some deodorant and who’s going to know?

The constant mysterious fridge-raids turn into a 'Whodunnit?'

Fridge-sharing was never going to be pretty. You live in a perpetual cycle of worrying that the dodgy odour emanating from someone else's shelf will somehow contaminate your valuable Dominoes leftovers. Though decidedly pungent, the scent is impossible to pin down to a precise location, and no one's owning up. On the (not so rare) occasion that it's your milk that went out of date over a week ago, you're not telling - hopefully, if you leave it long enough, someone else will figure out the source and bin it for you.

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Desperate times call for desperate measures, and getting creative with the few clean kitchen utensils you have left when the rest are stewing in your bedroom is no exception. The need for plates is a myth, you realise, as you enjoy your baked beans straight out of the saucepan. You get a few judgmental looks when you fish a teabag out of the mug with a wooden spoon that everyone knows you used to eat pasta with earlier - but you’re the one saving on washing up, so who’s the real winner here?

There's grime, grime everywhere

You and your flatmates start the year off with the best of intentions, devising a bathroom cleaning-rota that you all assure each other you'll stick to. As the weeks go by and the filth around the edge of the shower begins to build, you realise not one of you has kept your word. Only when the smell from the drain reaches an unbearable level of disgusting do you eventually give in and decide to tackle the problem head-on, armed with antibacterial wipes and a hell of a lot of bleach. However, the mould that lies in the cracks between those tiles is enough to put anyone off, and you decide it's just not worth it. You're happy to shower in squalor if it means never seeing the gunk around the plug hole at eyeball level ever again (forever curse the long-haired flatmate).

The good old days of basic hygiene are over, and only now that it’s too late do you appreciate just how much your parents did for you. Never has your pristine, shiny home felt further away.

#tyro #digs #flats #cleaning #national