5 Steps to a Greener, Cleaner Bathroom
We use the bathroom to clean our teeth, our hair, our bodies – pretty much everything. So why is it that some of the products stocking our bathroom cupboards are filled with dirty chemicals and toxins we can hardly pronounce? Here are 5 simple ways to help you clean up your bathroom habits and make them body-friendly as well as eco-friendly.
1. Make a clean break with disposables. Instead of reaching for a paper towel (and bottle of toxic spray) to keep your faucets clean, wipe them down with washable rags – you can use old towels or dishcloths. If you really can’t stop using paper towels, at least opt for ones made with recycled paper. By replacing one 70 sheet roll of virgin fiber paper towels in every American household with 100% recycled ones 544000 trees would be saved. When it comes to cleaning products, look into refillable bottles – they’re good for the environment AND the pocketbook!
2. Clean as you go. Taking a few small measures after every shower saves you lots of time in the long run. Wiping your shower down immediately after use helps remove soap scum and prevent mineral deposits. So once the water’s off, wipe down the walls and pull the shower curtains closed – it lets them dry, reducing the risk of mould and mildew. While we’re talking shower curtains, try to avoid ones made from polyvinyl chloride (PVC), a plastic that can release hormone-disrupting phthalates. Your best bet for a healthy shower is to look for non-vinyl curtains. (Why not take a look at our cotton shower curtain?)
3. Let nature provide. Why use cleansers with toxins and artificial scents when you can get great results with all-natural ingredients? Mix half a cup of vinegar with a spoonful of baking soda, pour the mixture into your toilet, let sit for 30 minutes, scrub and voila – a sparkling toilet without the chemicals. As you’ll see in our Towel Care tips, vinegar also helps keep your towels as absorbent as possible. Just add a cup of white vinegar to the rinse cycle once a month and your towels will be as good as new! You can even use vinegar to unclog your drains. Once a week (or so), pour half a cup of baking soda and one cup of vinegar down the drain, let sit for 20 minutes, then chase it down with hot water. Finally, you can remove hard-water and mineral deposits from your sink or shower by soaking paper towels in undiluted vinegar and laying them over your stained surfaces. Let them sit for one hour before wiping the areas clean. (Photo Mrs. Green via Flickr Creative Commons).
4. Dry off organically – it does a body good. Conventional cotton is full of chemicals and pesticides. In fact, its crops use up 2 billion pounds of synthetic fertilizers and 84 million pounds of pesticides each year. That’s cause for great concern about the environment, and doesn’t exactly make us want to rub up against a towel made from such dangerous substances. Organic towels are a much cleaner, greener choice.
5. Don’t be a drip – keep water where it belongs. There are loads of easy ways to save water in your bathroom. You can install low-flow showerheads and faucet aerators, and make your toilet a dual-flush toilet so you only use as much water as you need. If you’re really keen, look into water-free composting toilets. Conserving water is a smart way to cut down on your energy bills while also saving our most precious resource. (Photo by AMagill via Flickr Creative Commons)