By Larraine Roulston:
This segment of our “Room-by-Room” greening series focuses on the bathroom. By investing your time to adapt greener methods and alter habits, you will be on your way to becoming more sustainable.
GREENING THE BATHROOM
Saving water is the major goal when scrutinizing the bathroom. You can accomplish this by taking shorter showers and installing a low-flow shower head. Water will be saved also by turning the tap on and off while brushing teeth or shaving. Fix any dripping taps. A high efficiency toilet or one with a dual flush — one button for big flushes and one for small ones — will save water. You can have a bucket of grey water available in your bathroom to use for flushing. Also, it’s not always necessary to flush every time.
- Keep your water heater turned down to at least 130 degrees F. with Savings Project: Lower Water Heating Temperature | Department of … which is still hot enough to kill bacteria.
- Shampoo your hair less often. If you test and like the No Shampoo method, you can avoid purchasing bottles of shampoo. Once your scalp adjusts to not having to replace oils because of frequent shampooing, you will save water in the shower by not rinsing away the foam — ingredients that are added in shampoos and toothpastes to give the illusion that they clean.
- When purchasing a new shower curtain, choose cloth curtains over those made with polyvinyl chloride.
- Even the best recyclers seem to forget to recycle the toilet roll cylinder. When it comes to purchasing new rolls, use your “green wallet” to select the ones that contain recycled content. Rather than buying tissues, using handkerchiefs will save trees.
- Choose bar soaps over liquid soap in plastic bottles. Bar soaps purchased in bulk or in health stores are not packaged. As an alternative, make your own soap with ingredients of coconut oil, olive oil or another liquid oil, lye and cool water.
- With homemade recipes, Go Greener: Clean Your House With Just Baking Soda, Vinegar and … Baking soda, vinegar, lemon juice and borax will clean tubs, tiles, chrome, shower curtains, mirrors, toilets, drains and sinks.
- Most commercial air fresheners only mask odors with chemicals. Instead, hang a spider plant or ivy that absorbs and neutralizes air pollution. A dish of vinegar, baking soda or potpourri helps. In a spray bottle, combine 1 teaspoon baking soda, 1 teaspoon lemon juice and 2-3 drops of essential oil with 2 cups of hot water. Striking a match or lighting a candle will also eliminate odors.
- Once you have squeezed out the last remnants of toothpaste, you can continue using what remains by cutting off the end of the tube and putting your brush inside. You’ll be amazed at what remains. You can make your own toothpaste by mixing 3 tablespoons of baking soda with 1 tablespoon of Xylitol , a natural sweetener with cavity-fighting properties. Wet your brush and dip it in. (Best to store toothpaste in separate containers for each family member in order to avoid spreading bacteria.) For oral care products, Brush with Bamboo | The ecological bamboo toothbrush
- To make a mouthwash, mix 1/2 cup of organic coconut oil with 5 drops of essential peppermint oil.
- Realizing that deodorants enter your body though open pores after hot showers, choose to keep yourself safe from chemicals with Homemade Deodorant Bar Recipe | Wellness Mama. Be mindful of cosmetic makeup as well. Check ingredients and go lightly on applications.
- There are many homemade recipes that will not only keep you and your bathroom clean and healthy, but also save you money! The next segment in the series will cover the living room and hallways.
The Environmental Toothbrush
Larraine authors children’s books on composting at www.castlecompost.com