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How to Handle Hygiene in the Dorm Room

By Kayla

A good chunk of time during events is spent in the lodging rooms. Guests sleep there each night, run back for a quick change after water activities, and sometimes just chill. This is also the area people can be most relaxed in, which is why hygiene and healthy practices within are so important.

Motel rooms do not cause as much concern, since they are usually used by individuals, couples, or families. Less beds, means less people, means less germs to spread. And if they already live together, there isn't going to be any new spreading than if they were still at home. However, dormitories raise more pressing concerns. They can often hold 10 to 30 or more guests at once, all in close proximity.

Be Proactive

Encourage your campers to carry tissues or a bandana around for them to cover a sneeze or cough. The counselor should be in the habit of wiping down hot spots in their dormitory room. This can be encouraged by event planners providing disinfectant wipes or spray to each counselor to use. Remember! Just be sensitive to those campers with allergies though.

Visit the Nurse

During an event, if any kind of wound or illness occurs, the guest should immediately visit the nurse or medical staff on hand. Sickness is very easy to spread in closed quarters and any discomfort should not be ignored.

Shower Specifics

It’s hard enough to get a dorm full of middle school boys to shower once during camp, let alone shower daily. But counselors need to enforce the importance of hygiene AND event planners need to set aside enough time in the schedule for campers to do so.  Finishing activities at 4:30 pm and expecting everyone at dinner at 5 pm just doesn’t cut it. Additionally, shower shoes or flip-flops are a must!  This helps prevent infections.

Make a Habit of Hand Washing

Each time a guest enters the dorm, the first place they should visit is the sink to wash their hands.  Depending on the activities, guests should wash all the way up to elbows.  


If a guest begins exhibiting symptoms, it’s important to get them to a nurse asap. After an examination, it may be determined the guest is to return home in which case you may be laundering bed linens and towels.  Ideally personal items should not have been mixed with other guests, but if cross contamination did occur then laundering guests’ clothes may need to happen as well.

Not Sharing is Caring

Personal items should not be shared. Items like towels, blankets, clothes, and even personal hygiene items like combs and toothpaste, should only be used by the person who brought them. Each guest needs a designated area for their things so that each person's items can stay separate and safe. If a guest forgot an item, maybe your venue has a gift shop, or your event has a camp store, or even a nearby gas station where you can pick up a replacement.

Here are some specific items:

  • Towel
  • Comb
  • Hair tie
  • Blanket
  • Toothpaste
  • Deodorant
  • Pillow
  • Sunscreen
  • Headphones
  • Clothes
  • Jewelry
  • Water bottle

Christian Retreats Network /

Based at Lake Williamson / PO Box 620 / Carlinville, IL 62626