Going green in your bathroom is easier than you think! With just a few simple swaps, you can dramatically reduce your environmental impact without sacrificing comfort or convenience. Here are 14 easy, eco-friendly changes you can make in your bathroom.
Switch to Eco-Friendly Cleaning Products
Traditional cleaning products often contain harsh chemicals like ammonia, bleach, and synthetic fragrances. These ingredients can pollute indoor air quality and aren’t safe for septic systems when they go down the drain.
Luckily, there are plenty of green cleaning options available today. Look for plant-based ingredients like vinegar, baking soda, essential oils, and enzymatic cleaners. Brands like Seventh Generation, Method, Mrs. Meyer’s, and Ecover make high-quality, non-toxic cleaners for the bathroom.
Homemade cleaners are another great option. Just mix together baking soda, vinegar, lemon juice, and water for an all-purpose bathroom cleaner. For scrubbing power, make a paste with baking soda and liquid castile soap.
Not only are green cleaners better for the environment, they can help improve air quality and reduce irritation from harsh fumes. Ditch the conventional options and give eco-friendly cleaning a try!
Install a Low-Flow Toilet
The toilet is the biggest water hog in most homes. Older toilets use 3.5 gallons or more per flush, while newer high-efficiency models use 1.28 gallons or less. Replacing an old toilet with a low-flow version can save thousands of gallons per year.
Low-flow toilets have improved tremendously in recent years. New dual-flush models offer a choice of light or heavy flush settings. This allows you to conserve water for liquid waste without sacrificing performance.
Many utilities and municipalities offer rebates on high-efficiency toilets, making them even more affordable. If a full replacement isn’t in the budget, consider adding a tank bank or early-closure flapper valve to your existing toilet. This can help reduce the flush volume.
Use Eco-Friendly Toilet Paper
Toilet paper seems harmless, but it takes a surprising toll on the environment. Conventional toilet paper is whitened with chlorine bleach and often sourced from virgin forests. This toxic processing contributes to air and water pollution.
Fortunately, eco-friendly toilet paper abounds these days. Look for brands that use recycled paper, alternative fibers like bamboo, and chlorine-free whitening processes. Unbleached paper is another good option, though it won’t be as bright white.
Better yet, install a bidet attachment to reduce your toilet paper usage altogether. Using just water, a bidet cleansing system is gentler on your body than wiping with dry paper. You’ll use far less TP, saving trees and plumbing in the process.
Install Water-Saving Faucet Aerators
Bathroom faucets are a major source of water waste in most homes. Older models can flow at 5 gallons per minute or more, while we only need about 1 gpm for basic hand washing and teeth brushing.
Adding aerators is an easy way to curb faucet water usage without affecting water pressure. Look for WaterSense-approved models that mix air into the water stream to maintain feel while reducing flow. High-performing designs can cut faucet water usage by 30% or more without any noticeable difference.
Aerators are simple to install yourself and cost just a few dollars. If your faucet is incompatible, consider upgrading to a WaterSense model. New faucets have flow restrictors built in to conserve water right out of the box.
Switch to Eco-Friendly Hand Soap
With frequent hand washing, bathrooms go through a lot of hand soap. Many commercial liquid soaps contain petroleum-based detergents, synthetic fragrances, and preservatives. These ingredients get washed down the drain where they can harm waterways.
Natural liquid hand soaps are a better choice for the environment. Look for plant-based ingredients like coconut oil, olive oil, aloe vera gel, essential oils, and vegetable-based preservatives. You can also find hand soaps made with recycled materials in their packaging.
Another green option is hand soap in bar form. Bar soaps tend to have fewer chemicals and less plastic packaging compared to bottled liquid soaps. Brands like J.R. Liggett’s, Dr. Bronner’s, and Tom’s of Maine make great castile-based bar soaps.
Reuse Towels and Cut Down on Laundering
The average household washes bath towels after just 3 uses. But towels don’t really need laundering that often if hung up properly between uses. Extending the time between wash loads saves water, energy, and detergent.
Wait until towels smell musty or look visibly dirty before machine washing. You can spot clean in between with a little vinegar or green cleaner if needed. Install hooks near sinks for hanging towels to dry thoroughly. Using two towels per person allows you to rotate usage for better drying.
When it is time to launder towels, skip the hot water setting. Warm or cold cycles get towels perfectly clean using less energy. Also, try using a greener laundry detergent like Seventh Generation, Molly’s Suds, or Meyer’s Clean Day.
Use Reusable Cloth Napkins and Unpaper Towels
Paper napkins and paper towels have an enormous environmental impact. US paper product consumption requires over 15 million trees and 20 billion gallons of water daily. Napkins and towels also generate tons of waste.
Cloth options are the green solution. Swap paper napkins for reusable cloth ones that can be laundered. Look for cotton, hemp, bamboo, and other eco-fabrics.
For drying hands, reusable “unpaper” towels are a great choice. These ultra-absorbent towels made of bamboo, cotton, and other materials work just like paper towels. Use them again and again, then toss in the laundry to refresh. Using reusable hand towels and napkins saves trees while cutting waste.
Use Shampoo and Conditioner Bars
About 90% of the ingredients in liquid shampoo and conditioner rinse straight down the drain. Most commercial formulas also come packaged in disposable plastic bottles.
For a plastic-free, low waste alternative, try shampoo and conditioner bars. These solid cakes lather up just like bottled products. Look for options made with plant oils, botanical extracts, and essential oils.
Bars typically come wrapped in paper or cardboard. Without all the water weight, their carbon footprint for shipping is lower too. Brands like Ethique, HiBAR, and J.R. Liggett’s make excellent natural hair care bars.
What’s more, solid bars tend to last 2-3 times longer than bottled liquids. You’ll save money while generating less waste. It’s a win-win for your hair and the planet.
Opt for Plastic-Free Floss and Bamboo Toothbrushes
Conventional toothbrushes and floss contain plastic that ends up in landfills and oceans. But it’s easy to swap for more eco-friendly options.
Bamboo makes a great biodegradable alternative to plastic toothbrushes. Look for bamboo handles topped with nylon bristles for reducing waste. Brands like Brush with Bamboo and Preserve make a variety of bamboo brush models.
For floss, try 100% biodegradable options made of silk or other plant fibers. Dr. Tung’s makes great plastic-free floss out of gentle silk fibers. Using plastic-free oral care products keeps your smile shining while protecting the environment.
Use Razors with Replacement Heads
Disposable razors account for a shocking amount of plastic waste. Americans toss out over 2 billion razor cartridges per year in the US alone.
Razors with replaceable heads are far better for the environment. Keep the handle and swap out dull blades periodically. This saves plastic and money over continually buying disposables.
Safety razors with double edged blades are another plastic-free option. These old-fashioned razors have come back in style for their close shave and low waste. Brands like Merkur, Parker, Muhle, and Edwin Jagger make high-quality safety razors built to last.
Look for Plastic-Free Period Products
Conventional tampons, pads, and liners contain plastic components that end up in landfills. Luckily there are several greener alternatives available:
- Menstrual cups made of medical-grade silicone collect rather than absorb menstrual fluid. Look for brands like Saalt, DivaCup, Luna, or Lily Cup.
- Organic cotton tampons and pads often come wrapped in biodegradable paper rather than plastic. Try brands like Lola, Maxim, or Natracare.
- Period underwear by companies like Thinx and Knix absorb fluid into the reusable fabric. Just wash after use and wear again.
- Reusable cloth pads snap into underwear and can be laundered. Eco Femme and GladRags make great eco-friendly cloth pads.
Switching to plastic-free period products is better all around for you and the planet.
Use Bar Soap Instead of Body Wash
Body wash often comes in plastic bottles that generate unnecessary waste. The cleansers themselves also contain synthetic fragrances, preservatives, and stabilizers.
Bar soap is the simpler eco-friendly solution. Traditional handmade soap contains few ingredients – mainly saponified oils. Without water content, bars require less packaging as well.
Natural bar soaps from companies like Dr. Bronner’s, Tom’s of Maine, and Clearly Natural are great plastic-free picks. Try a soap saver bag to extend the life of your bar. Using bar soap over bottled body wash has less impact on the earth.
Look for Plastic-Free Deodorant Options
Standard deodorant sticks contain plastic applicators that are rarely recyclable. For a greener alternative, try deodorant without the plastic waste. Here are some options:
- Deodorant bars allow you to rub on without an applicator. Look for brands like Meow Meow Tweet, Each Peach, and Ethique.
- Cream deodorants come in glass or cardboard jars to apply with your fingers. Schmidt’s and Ben & Anna make great natural cream deodorant.
- Natural spray deodorants avoid plastic waste with recyclable glass or aluminum bottles. Try sprays from Myro, ByHumankind, Kopari, and Humble.
With so many green deodorant choices, you can easily skip the plastic applicator sticks.
Use Bamboo Q-tips and Cotton Rounds
Conventional cotton swabs and pads contain plastic sticks and polyester fibers that generate waste. Choosing more natural materials can make a big difference.
Several companies now make cotton swabs with bamboo sticks instead of plastic. Try sustainable Q-tips from LastObject, Humankind, and Brush With Bamboo.
For remove makeup and applying toner, look for organic cotton rounds free of polyester. Making the switch to plastic-free cotton swabs and rounds cuts down on bathroom waste.
Invest in Reusable Makeup Remover Pads
Disposable cotton pads soak up tons of makeup remover and face wash every day. Over time these single use pads create mounds of waste.
Reusable makeup remover pads offer a zero waste solution. These mini washcloths are made of absorbent fabrics like organic cotton, bamboo, and microfiber.
Simply add your regular cleanser and use to remove makeup. Rinse and repeat. When dirty, just toss the pads in with your regular laundry. Brands like Greenzla, Humankind, and LastObject make quality reusable makeup pads.
Recycle Empty Beauty Product Packaging
Most skincare and beauty product packaging – tubes, bottles, jars, and more – are recyclable through Terracycle. This organization offers free recycling programs funded by brands to divert waste.
Sign up online for the Personal Care and Beauty Brigade recycling program. Terracycle will send you free shipping labels to mail back empties. You can recycle packaging from any brand – even if not sponsored by Terracycle.
Collecting and recycling beauty product packaging keeps millions of items out of landfills every year. It only takes a few minutes to box up empties and drop off shipments. This simple act makes a real environmental difference.
Small changes in the bathroom can have big impacts on increasing sustainability. Opt for greener products, reduce disposables, and recycle whatever you can.
With these simple eco-friendly bathroom swaps, you can preserve water, energy, trees and cut waste. Protecting the environment starts right at home. Implement a few of these ideas for easy, everyday ways to go green in your bathroom.