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Dirty Jobs Done Dirt Cheap – A Quick Guide to Barracks Spring Cleaning

Serotonin drop
Serotonin drop
March 1, 2024
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As will come to no surprise to anyone who has served in the American Armed Forces, the barracks is not always the best. Which is similar to saying getting torn apart by the Arachnids on Klendathu from Starship Troopers was ‘itchy’. Just recently the situation became dire enough that the senior Enlisted member of each service branch was called to Washington D.C. to testify on the subject of barracks quality of life. To my own great pride, Sgt. Maj. Carlos A. Ruiz, Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps, said he wanted to be driving the bulldozer which destroyed the first ‘crappy barracks’ in a plan to bring the bricks up to a livable standard across the service. (The Army just mumbled it was a discipline issue while an acoustic tile fell on him, probably.)

This is unmistakably a great stride forward for the future, but what do we do in the meantime? If you said “field day” you are absolutely right, if you didn’t, haze yourself right now. Just put your phone on the floor so you can read this while you push. Summer is coming, bringing insects, bacteria growing heat, and your roommate’s natural scent will be more and more present, so it's time to take matters into your own hands.

Step One: Remove everything from your room. Everything. Furniture goes in the hallway, balcony, or yard. Appliances are piled safely next to them. Personal items and gear in a third pile. Uniforms go to the dry cleaners, all other clothes and washable kit go into the laundry, that way when they come back, they are mold, dust, and scent free. Make your filthy roommate do the same, because we take care of each other, and if not, you’ll dump their clothes in the lawn like a spurned lover. Once the room is completely empty, scrub every surface. Walls, floors, open the air ducts and clean inside, get under the sink and behind the toilet. After scrubbing, let the place dry, and spray it down with an antibacterial spray like Lysol or Clorox, a nice thick coat to kill as much as possible.

Step Two: Bring it all back, one piece at a time. Furniture first, once again scrubbing every surface, nook, and cranny. Wait for it to dry, then soak in the antibacterial spray before bringing it inside. Clean each appliance the same way, but instead of the antibacterial spray, use dish soap or food safe cleaner. If you have a Keurig, it needs to run a few cleaning cycles to get the biofilm out of the tubing, and cleaners for this are available in the Keurig aisle at the store. You’ll get less sick, and the coffee will taste less like some Gunny made it in the back of a dusty MATV. Lastly, bring in the remaining items, cleaning each one and putting it back in place. Electronic wipes for screens on TVs and use canned air or a vacuum out game consoles and larger electronics. Maybe throw away some of the crap you no longer need. My rule was always ‘if I haven’t touched it the whole deployment, maybe it can go.”

That’s all the steps. Just two. Is it time consuming, sure, but no one else is going to do it, and unless you trust Navy medical, getting sick because you live like a creature is definitely not the way to go. The military doesn’t exactly give you a lot of space, and it’s often shared, so keeping it fresh is the best you can do. On the plus side, if you are of age, you can drink while you work, which helps tremendously.

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