We’re always looking for new ways to make our homes eco-friendlier. We invest in solar power and double pane windows to reduce our energy consumption, recycle and compost our organic and inorganic waste to reduce the amount of material that ends up in the local landfill, and drive electric cars and hybrid vehicles to reduce our overall carbon footprint. One room that often gets overlooked is one of the most important rooms in your home – the bathroom. How can you turn your bathroom into an eco-friendly paradise?
1. Keep an eye on water usage.
Unless you’re watering your lawn every day (please don’t, but if you must, use grey water), most of your home’s water usage comes from your bathroom. Water conservation is one of the best ways to make your bathroom a little bit eco-friendlier, but how can you use less water without impacting the quality of your daily shower?
Low-flow faucets, toilets, and showerheads help you save water. The showerheads are designed to aerate the water so you get the same sort of water pressure that you’re used to without using a ton of extra water. While that doesn’t mean you want to take showers that are twice as long as normal, it means that you can enjoy your showers without using up too much of our planet’s fresh water supply.
2. Think about air quality.
Air quality in your home is important for human and particularly mental, health. In the bathroom, you’ve got the humidity to contend with, and perhaps fumes from cleaning chemicals you choose to use. There are a few things that you can do to make your interior air quality a little eco-friendlier (aside from stopping the use of toxic cleaning products), including:
- Adding some greenery – NASA released a list of plants that help to improve air quality and remove things like ammonia, formaldehyde and benzene from the air. For the bathroom, choose plants that love humidity like ferns or English ivy.
- Ventilate – If your bathroom doesn’t have a fan installed or any sort of ventilation, it might be time to install one. This can help improve air quality and keep mould or mildew from growing in your bathroom, simply by keeping the air moving.
- Invest in an Ionic Air Filter – Go a little high tech for your air filtering. This uses traditional filtering combined with an ionic blast to destroy organic dirt and contaminants.
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3. Switch up your cleaning products.
Most of us go straight for the ammonia or bleach-based products when it comes time to clean the bathroom because of their antibacterial and antifungal properties. While they work well, they’re not exactly the greenest option.
Instead of using bleach or ammonia, opt for some more natural cleaning products. You can even make your own cleaning products using white vinegar and lemon, or choose green-friendly cleaning products if you’re not a fan of the smell of vinegar. Some products you can try are:
- Seventh Generation Cleaning Products – This company offers everything from dish soap and floor cleaner to green bathroom cleaning products that are non-toxic, eco-friendly, natural and uses essential oils for fragrance.
- ECover Bathroom Cleaner – If you’ve got hard water or difficult-to-remove bathroom scum, this is the cleaner for you. The business is B-Corp certified, doesn’t test on animals and the product is biodegradable; even the packaging is biodegradable because it’s made from sugarcane!
- Martha Stewart Clean Bathroom Cleaner – Yup, even big names like Martha Stewart are getting into the green cleaning business. This is a totally biodegradable cleaner that is based on plant and mineral products and is safe on all sorts of surfaces, including marble!
4. More natural lighting.
Your bathroom is one area where you definitely want to be able to see well, especially if you’re applying makeup or doing your hair before an event celebration. Instead of installing a bunch of artificial lights, why not remodel your bathroom a little bit to let in more natural light? Skylights or sun tunnels are a great way to reduce your reliance on artificial light and cut your utility bills.
If your bathroom doesn’t have any windows, this can be a great way to bring some natural light in without cutting holes in your wall.
For those bathrooms where lighting is required, opt for compact fluorescent or LED bulbs. These use less power and provide the same amount of lighting.
Related Post: 8 Mistakes to Avoid When Building a Green Home
5. Go tankless.
Your hot water heater stores gallons and gallons of hot water, just waiting for someone to turn on a hot tap. You can reduce the amount of water that you use in the shower by switching from a tanked water heater to a tankless model. Not only does this reduce your water use, but it reduces your energy consumption.
A tankless water heater doesn’t have a tank of water that it has to keep heating over the course of the day to keep it at the proper temperature. It only heats what is needed, reducing the amount of energy it takes for you to enjoy a hot shower.
6. Opt for natural materials.
For things like towels, robes, and bath mats, you’ve got plenty of options – cotton, polyester, microfiber, bamboo, hemp…. you name it, they probably make bath towels out of it. The materials you choose can help make your bathroom a little greener. Choose towels and mats made out of sustainable materials like organic cotton, organically grown bamboo, hemp – they grow fast and have a smaller carbon footprint than other materials like cotton or polyester.
It’s a small thing but if everyone did a bunch of small things, they would start adding up quick. So when you’re greening up your house, don’t overlook your bathroom. There are plenty of things that you can do to make the smallest room in your house a little greener and most of them won’t throw off your daily routine either!
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