Room by Room Green: The Bathroom

January 2, 2013

The bathroom may be the most un-eco-friendly room in the house, with all the water that gets wasted, the paper that gets used, and the plumbing necessary to send all of our waste into the septic or the sewer. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t several changes you can make right away to clean up your act in your bath.

After taking a look around my own bathroom, I have come up with a list of things to get you started. Most of these are changes I have already made at home, but some are still waiting my implementation. Let’s take a look at ways you can green your bathroom starting today:

Install a Low-Flow Showerhead – By installing a low-flow showerhead, the average homeowner can save upwards of 10,000 gallons of fresh, clean water each year. Decent ones don’t really cost more than $15 at most now, which is a small investment for a big return.

Install a Low-Flow Faucet Aerator – For just a few bucks, you can substantially cut the amount of water coming out of the tap. If you or your kids have a habit of leaving the faucet on longer than you should, installing a Low-Flow Faucet Aerator can help reduce the water waste.

Hang a Non-PVC Shower Curtain and Liner – Go with hemp, cotton, or bamboo and skip the toxic plastic. If you can’t find one of those, at least go with nylon. PVC is nasty stuff that shouldn’t be breathed in… especially when in a hot, steamy shower.

Use Only Non-Toxic Cleaner – Vinegar can clean almost anything. In fact, here are 23 ways to use vinegar for nontoxic cleaning. Pick up some tea tree oil and baking soda and you won’t need to use toxic cleaners anymore.

Buy Only Recycled Paper Toilet Paper – Toilet paper made from freshly cut down trees? That makes no sense whatsoever. Start buying toilet paper made from recycled paper and let the trees remain standing in the forest. After all, think about what you use TP for… does cutting down trees for that purpose sound like a smart idea?

green bathroom

Install CFL or LED Light Bulbs – Despite the controversy surrounding CFLs, choosing CFL or LED bulbs still helps reduce energy costs and trash in the landfills. Yes, there is mercury in CFLs. But no, it’s not as toxic as some media types like to make it out to be and by reducing our energy demands from power plants we cut pollution by leaps and bounds.

Use Organic Cotton Towels – Having towels made from organic cotton isn’t just good for you; it’s good for the entire cotton supply chain. By skipping cotton coated with pesticides, we can cut toxic chemicals from our aquifers and farms and reduce exposure for farm and mill workers. The added bonus is that the pesticides don’t come into your house, either.

Install a Vent Fan or Open a Window – Want to prevent mold from growing in the bathroom? Open a window or install a vent fan. This is absolutely necessary to maintain a healthy bathroom.

Turn the Water Off When Brushing Your Teeth – Whether brushing your teeth or shaving, there is no reason to leave the water running. Shut it off until you need it again. It costs nothing and saves a lot.

Install a Low-Flush Toilet Kit or Even Better a Dual-Flush Toilet – If it’s not time for a new toilet, consider converting your existing one to a low or dual-flush unit. If it is time, pick up a toilet that gives you two flush options – liquids and solids. Even better? If it’s yellow, let it mellow.

Unclog the Shower or Sink Drain Using Only Natural Products – A post I wrote in 2007 about using vinegar and baking soda to unclog a drain is still the most popular one on the site. Why? Because it works. If you have a clogged drain, follow those instructions.

Consider Installing a Tankless Water Heater – Okay so this one isn’t for today and it may not be for this year. But the next time you need to install a water heater, consider going tankless instead of with a conventional tank.

Now that you’ve read the list, you can see that most all of these are cheap (or free) changes you can make right away to green your bathroom. Make 2013 the year you start greening your home, Room by Room, and please share these posts with your friends and family. The next segment of this series will focus on the kitchen and will be published in a few weeks. Stay tuned!

Contemporary Lavatory image from BigStock.

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About the Author:

After a varied past of being a test driver for automotive television programs, a Hollywood studio lackey, and an online media sales director, David is now the publisher and editor of The Good Human. In his spare time he rides motorcycles, drinks good beer, and builds stuff in the garage. You can follow him on Twitter at @thegoodhuman or G+ at Google
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Comments (1)

  1. Lois says:

    I would add to your list that if you have an old toilet which wastes water with every flush and can’t afford to change it out,or in my case rent and can’t change it, add filled bottles or bricks to the tank to reduce the amount of water you flush away. My tank was so huge I collected 3 2 liter pop bottles to displace the water.