Green Dorm Essentials

by Delaney Baxter Martin

Moving into a new college residence hall  means needing to buy all the things necessary to have a comfortable living space. But that also means a lot of confusion about what to get and where to get it. Unfortunately, tons of waste is created every year from moving. Buying second-hand, borrowing from friends or older siblings, or even just being mindful about what you really need in your new residence hall room can all be great ways to save some money and save some waste when moving in. We’ve also made this quick guide for what to get at Bed, Bath & Beyond so you know the best things to get for a greener room!

Natural Cleaners

Cleaning Supplies

Because most cleaning supplies have so many toxic chemicals, this can be a huge opportunity to find something healthier for both you and the planet.

All-natural and chemical-free All-Purpose cleaner is your best bet at Bed, Bath & Beyond. Try scrubbing with microfiber cloths to avoid using tons of paper towels. They can be washed with your other laundry and reused! Your wallet and the planet will thank you.

As for the bathroom, and kitchen if you have one, a hypoallergenic, non-toxic and natural cleaning powder is super easy. Just sprinkle it where cleaning is needed, scrub with a cloth or rag, then rinse.

If you’re not ready to make the switch to cloth, try to find unbleached paper towels. Skip the cleaning wipes because they don’t break down, they clog landfills, and they’re usually filled with tons of toxic chemicals. No thank you!

For pleasant scents, opt for a candle or open a window. We like soy candles, scented by essential oils rather than toxic chemicals.

Drying Rack


With all those memes about Tide Pods, they might seem healthy, but they’re not good for you or the environment… Instead, try sulfate-free and plant-based laundry detergent.

Drying your clothes can take a ton of energy, plus there’s nothing worse than coming back to your laundry to see the dryer hasn’t fully dried them. Invest in a drying rack made of a sustainable material like bamboo to avoid those dryer struggles and save some energy while you’re at it.

If you do decide to dry your laundry, skip the dryer sheets. Try using reusable dryer balls instead. They don’t leave toxic chemicals on your clothes, and they save energy by making your clothes dry faster. Definitely a plus for busy students!


Organic Linens


When shopping for linens, like sheets and towels, it’s most important to try to get organic cotton or 100% cotton over polyester or blends.

Also, definitely try getting hand towels for the bathroom, and kitchen if you have one, to replace paper towels, which can save you a lot of money and cut down on the amount of trash you have to take out.

Shower essentials

For shampoo and body wash, try to look for brands that don’t have sulfates or phosphates and have organic, natural ingredients instead of toxic chemicals.

Surge Protector

Surge Protector

Getting a power strip with a surge protector is important for keeping your electronics safe from power surges.

We like a surge protector with a switch, so you can turn all your electronics off when not in use, saving tons of electricity. If you want to go the extra mile, you can unplug the surge protector entirely to save even more electricity.


If you don’t already have a reusable water bottle, definitely get one so you can avoid buying plastic ones on-the-go. Stainless steel or glass varieties are better for the environment than plastic. You can even get a NYUGreen water bottle for free by attending our Welcome Week events.

Reusable Bottles & Mugs

Go even further with a reusable coffee cup to bring your own coffee on the go or to use at local coffee shops. Stainless steel and insulated reusable coffee cups keep your coffee or tea nice and warm. And if you don’t believe the claims that NYC has the champagne of tap water, invest in a water filter instead of buying bottled water. You’ll save money and reduce your plastic pollution!

Other Room Essentials

Try to go for non-plastic materials, like wood or metal, when buying hangers, storage boxes and other essentials. Natural wood hangers will make your closet feel more grown-up, and metal desk organizers will keep everything tidy without all the plastic.


Heading to Bed Bath & Beyond with the IRHC? Here are my suggestions for a greener room:


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