A more sustainable bathroom is not about buying trendy “eco friendly products”. Here are a few simple ways to have a more sustainable bathroom… without buying more stuff.
Rethink your cleaning products and routine
Just like in your kitchen, you only need chemical cleaners when your bathroom gets dirty from being neglected for a while. A daily wipe down is easy once you get in the habit. If you keep rags in the bathroom it will just become automatic to wipe down the counters and toilet every morning. Scrub the toilet bowl, get on the floor and wipe around the toilet too. Doing it every day means you never have to get down there and deal with anything gross.
Now the shower is a challenge. It is a damp, confined space and likes to get gross very quickly. Again, to avoid chemicals, you need to deal with it daily. I keep my cleaning products right in the shower. That way when something icky crops up, you deal it right that minute before it becomes a big deal. To keep it pretty, they go in clear bottles.
But the best way to keep your shower sparkling is to dry it off after every single use. Squeege down the glass, then take an old towel and dry it. Doors, walls, floor, fixtures, everything. feels like a pain a first, but if you time yourself you’ll see that it takes under five minutes. And you will NEVER have to scrub it again.
Switch to bar soap and even bar shampoo
A real bar soap and a bar shampoo cuts way down on packaging and shipping because most of what what is being shipped in standard toiletry products is water. But when you use a body wash, you are not using a real soap. You are using a watered down petroleum- based detergent with chemical agents to add lather and fragrance. Read this article if you want to compare the environment impact further.
People really resist bar soap, and I understand. It seems like a lot of work, and body washes are so foamy and indulgent feeling. Try a real soap and see how much cleaner you feel. Many store-bought bars are actually “detergent bars”, so look for the actual word “soap”. I have a recipe for one that lathers a lot and feels like a body wash, if you want to try your own. Or find a local person who makes them at a craft show or Craigslist.
Examine why you have so many over the counter products
I used to have a bathroom countertop packed with skin care products that were expensive, unnatural, and came in fancy plastic packages. I had every imaginable over the counter medicine and took something multiple times a week for headaches or to help me sleep. That is a lot of money and resources being wasted on problems that can be solved with a lifestyle change.
I needed to cut way back to sugar to help my skin, drink more water to stop getting headaches, and cut out afternoon caffeine to sleep better. Obviously this doesn’t work for every problem you are taking medication for, but sometimes it does. Instead of looking for “natural cures”, see if you can eliminate the problem.
Plants for air quality and beauty
Air fresheners and bathroom decorations will inevitably be thrown out one day. Plants will do the same job and will cheer you up every morning. You can get free houseplants by getting cuttings from friends and family, sticking them in water until they root, and potting them up.
Peace Lily and ivy are both widely available and will improve indoor air quality. Don’t be afraid to propagate many and gather them together in your bathroom. They are cheerful and beautiful. If you find yourself looking like a crazy plant lady, they make a lovely gift.
Use and do…less
Obviously, a lot of what happens in the bathroom is necessary. (Gross.). But maybe some tasks can be reduced.
Blowdrying your hair, putting on a full face of makeup, putting on perfume… could do you this every other day instead of every day? Could you shorten your showers by just a little?
Habits like this will save you money and use less electricity, water, and resources.
A sustainable bathroom is about changing your life, not what you buy
Don’t worry about bamboo toothbrushes and washable toilet paper. Those things are great, but you don’t have to spend a lot on new stuff or adopt outlandish habits. Just focus on using less packaging, less water, and overall… less.