Eco-Green Bathroom Ideas
As more of us commit to creating a safer and healthier planet the shift to a green mentality typically begins in the home. You now use reusable grocery bags, recycle paper, plastic and glass products and are even even thinking about buying a hybrid vehicle and solar panels. So what else can you do?
Think about one of the rooms you use the most in your house. Not the kitchen. However, it's another great place to go green. Why not start with your bathroom? We spend a great deal of time in there on any given day. You'd amazed at how many little things you can do to make your bathroom environmentally friendly. Get started by implementing some of these great ideas.
Bet you never thought your shower curtain could make a positive difference on the environment. In fact, there are a great many options for green shower curtains these days. First of all, you need to ditch that one made of cheap polyvinyl chloride (PVC). You know that distinctive aroma when you first open the package. The odor is the result of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) including a nasty carcinogen called Bis(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP). These shower curtains continue to spew toxins into the air for more than a month after they're opened. Obviously not a good thing to have in your home.
If you really want to go green look into organic cotton and hemp shower curtains. They come in a variety of sizes and install with standard rings or come fitted with stylish grommets. You can choose natural hues or colorful patterns printed with non-toxic, organic dyes. Be advised that these shower curtains cost significantly more than their synthetic cousins but will outlast them with regular cleaning.
If you want to save money opt for a PEVA vinyl shower curtain. These environmentally friendly curtains are made from are made from PVC-free, non-chlorinated plastic that is EPA approved and guaranteed not to off gas. Another inexpensive shower curtain idea is recycled polyester fabric. They resist mold and can be easily cleaned by popping them into the washer.
Something as unassuming as a bath mat or rug can be a hazard to the environment. Some synthetic area rugs contain VOCs posing yet another environmental threat. Not only that, cheap synthetic bath mats can harbor unhealthy mold. When you toss the bath mat in the trash to replace it with another one it goes to the landfill and will stay intact forever. For those reasons alone you should consider a green bathroom rug that will biodegrade over time.
Consider a teak bath mat. It may not be as soft underfoot but it is surprisingly comfortable, more durable and greener than bath mats made from nylon. Teak dries quicker than synthetic or cloth mats and looks great a in contemporary spa bathroom.
Organic cotton bath mats and rugs are another natural choice. They look and feel just like a regular cotton bath rug. Organic cotton is grown without the use of harmful pesticides. Bamboo mats are another sustainable option and are even softer than cotton fibers.
Think outside the box and use a cork mat in your bathroom. It dries rapidly and is a naturally resistant to mold. It provides cushioning and does not require regular cleaning. Cork is a beautiful, renewable product that will look stylish in any bathroom.
It is time to stop using those chemical-laden bathroom cleaners. While they might kill bacteria effectively they are a danger to you and your family’s health. Caustic chemical fumes are harmful to breathe and can cause contact dermatitis and a host of other problems if absorbed into the skin.
There are a number of lines of natural cleaning products designed for use in the bathroom and throughout the house. These safe cleaners are no more expensive than popular chemical-based brands and in most cases are just as effective.
With environmental awareness at an all-time high even the big manufacturers are introducing their own earth-friendly bathroom cleansers. If you choose these types, check the labels to make sure they don’t contain phosphates and chlorine. Plant-based ingredients like lauramine oxide and d-limonene are much better for you and the environment than caustic chemicals.
This eco-friendly bathroom idea is one of the easiest. Make the change from regular towels to organic cotton or bamboo. Both are soft and contain no harmful chemicals. Bamboo towels are often blended with cotton and rayon but the bamboo fibers are the real stars that make these towels super absorbent and silky soft to the touch.
Good quality organic bath towels typically cost more than regular cotton towels. Think about replacing your regular towels with the good ones as the old ones wear out. That way you won’t have to replace them all at one time.
Take Your Green Bathroom a Step Further
Dual-flush toilets: These toilets have two different flush types and use a little over one gallon to 1 1/2 gallons per flush. One lever is for liquid waste and paper and the other for solid waste. Your family of four can save about 7,000 gallons of water per year with a dual flush toilet. Or you can purchase a dual flush converter for your existing low-flow toilet.
Tankless water heaters: Think about the amount of energy consumption to keep a 40 gallon water heater constantly up to proper temperature. Conventional water heaters are a huge waste of energy and money. They heat water 24 hours a day whether you need it or not. Think about installing a tankless water heater. They are small, wall-mounted units that heat water on-demand and shut off automatically when not in use. They cost more than conventional water heaters but you’ll recover your investment over the course of a few years and save money in the long run.
Water and Energy Usage in the Bathroom
- Your shower uses 21% of your home's total water
- A regular toilet consumes 26% household water
- Average Americans expend 80 gallons of water each day
- Underdeveloped countries use only 2.5 gallons per day
- Showers use up 67% household heating costs
- Each toilet uses 22 gallons of water each day in the U.S.
- By switching out your bathroom's old light fixtures and bulbs with Energy Star fixtures and LED bulbs, you can save at least $15 each year
- High efficiency shower heads will cut consumption by 45 gallons per day
- Replacing your old toilet with a low flow model will save an average $20 per year.
Make Yours an Eco-Friendly Bathroom
© 2012 Linda Chechar