The benefits of designing an eco-friendly bathroom span beyond protecting the health and safety of you and your family. Happy home, happy planet! Read on to discover simple swaps you can make today to make your bathroom a little more green.
Bath Mats and Towels
When you’re looking for eco-friendly alternatives for rugs, towels, and other textiles, there are a few specific types of materials to look for. There are also good questions to ask manufacturers depending upon just how ‘green’ you want to get. At a minimum, look for textiles made of bamboo, nettle (bamboo’s lesser known cousin), or soy to maximize resistance to mold and mildew. Also check to be sure they’re treated without flame retardants or anything else that may cause off-gassing.
Additionally, opting for quick dry towels and bath mats that won’t hold moisture as long as alternatives, is a great way to cut back on 1. How often you have to wash towels and 2. Their potential to get mildewy. I love the feeling of these waffle knit, quick dry towels:
If you want to take it a step further, look at where the materials are sourced and from how far away the products are shipped. The more you can shop local, the better! This cuts down on packaging and pollutants caused by shipping costs.
Eco-Friendly Bath Products: Lighting
A really simple swap you can make to detox your bathroom is to replace the bulbs in your already-installed lighting with LED’s, if they aren’t already. LED’s are marginally more expensive than other bulbs, but they’ll last 30 times longer and conserve so much more energy. They really do pay for themselves!
Another thing you can do is, of course, be conscious of always turning off lights when you leave the rooms and putting them on dimmers. Having control over your lighting, both natural and artificial is an often overlooked and essential part of green interior design. A note on natural lighting: If you have it in the budget to install windows or a skylight to let as much natural light as possible flood in during the day, that is ideal! Think about ways of minimizing your electrical use as much as possible.
Eco-Friendly Hand Soaps
(Hopefully) You’re washing your hands often and when you do, you want to be sure the soap you’re applying to your skin is doing its job and keeping you clean!
I love ambient candle light at home for a little pseudo spa-time as much as anyone, but I am careful when shopping for candles so as not to burn ones that contribute to indoor air pollution. That means waxes produced without paraffins, like those made with soy. That means candles without bleached wicks. And candles naturally scented with essential oils and natural ingredients, rather than synthetic fragrances.
All-natural deodorants used to not be so great. It was difficult to find ones that didn’t just smell like bark (not necessarily a bad thing, just not for me!), or ones that worked well at all. But the formulas have come a long way, now that green has gone mainstream, which is excellent! With that said, green is popular but not heavily regulated, so you do want to watch out for companies employing ‘green’ language as a marketing ploy. Do your research and read labels on all products carefully to assess what is right for you.
Body lotions, sun protectants, shampoos, conditioner, and scrubs: Unlike eye creams or lip balms, these are products you apply to large surface areas of skin, often while wet, when skin is most absorbent and vulnerable to absorption of chemicals placed on it and around it. That’s why you want to be extra careful that these products you are using are free of parabens and phallattes and aren’t tested on animals. Some of our favorite clean cosmetic swaps include:
All Purpose Cleaner
Every once in a while you can’t avoid the chemical-heavy cleaners, like when you want to just burn it all down with bleach! But for more regular use consider a green alternative that makes an excellent all-purpose cleaners to have on hand:
Going green means cutting back on the disposable as much as possible. Alas, we can’t do that when it comes to toilet paper and bath tissue. What we can do, however is look for bath tissue made of recycled paper and which doesn’t contain dyes or fragrances.