How to make your bathroom Eco-friendly?
Altering our normal habits can be a difficult task; after all, change isn’t always easy. Our everyday choices can have a huge impact on the environment. When we think of switching to an eco-friendly bathroom, think about the bathroom items when they have been finished or exhausted. Can they be reused or refilled? or are they biodegradable?
According to research pieces, the benefits of many naturally occurring minerals and substances can be used as great natural alternatives in place of harsh chemicals. Bamboo is one of them and is a perfect alternative for an eco-friendly bathroom. It is a renewable, hard-wearing material, and instead of dying after it’s cut down- like trees, it regenerates. You can find ample bamboo products here, ranging from toothbrushes, soap holder, brush holders, and many more.
Thus, the introduction of sustainable and eco-friendly bathroom products into one’s daily routine might not only result in a sustainable environment but also make them save a good amount of money. Let us have a look at how one can make eco-friendly bathroom:
1. Natural Surfactants
Traditional soap nuts have been used as shampoos, detergents, and cleaning gold and silver jewelry for centuries in India. They are cheap, easily available, and easy to use. They are organic and have no harmful effects to the environment or humans. Moreover, Reetha and Shikakai have excellent cleansing properties. There has been an increase in research and studies due to the growing environmental consciousness, aiming to obtain sustainable substitutes such as biodegradable detergents in place of chemicals. Studies have been conducted to find organic substitutes for synthetic detergents. Many of the alcohol ethoxylates are used in a wide range of industrial as well as household cleaning products.
- Lauryl alcohol ethoxylates derived from palm oil are typical natural surfactants for shampoo and shower gel because they act as foaming agents. They also have excellent wetting properties making them ideal for industrial and household cleaning products. These are superior natural surfactants for laundry detergents and cleaners, where the ability of such products to clean heavily depends on its ability to wet the surface of textiles and other such hard-surfaces.
Soap Nut fruits taken from the Sapindus trees/shrubs from the lychee family have saponins, which are natural non-ionic surfactants. They are usually called either soap nuts or soapberries, and they clean without creating much foam.
You can either put a cloth bag containing the soap nuts with your laundry to naturally wash your clothes, or you can steep them in warm water to extract a liquid that can be used for cleaning.
- Soapwort is another plant that has been used for many years as a soap alternative. It can be used to clean the skin, wash your hair, or even as a laundry soap. It’s especially good for delicate fabrics.
2. Save Water-Take the Pledge Today
Toilets account for nearly 30 percent of indoor water consumption according to numerous reports. However, water-wasting can turn into water and monetary savings by replacing older, ineffective toilets with new WaterSense-labeled high-efficiency toilets. Also, adding an eco-friendly toilet can help to update the style of the bath by providing a more contemporary feel to the room.
Did you Know?
People spend an average of 70 minutes in the bathroom each day. Therefore, swapping the bath for a shower is probably the biggest change you can make the eco-friendly bathroom
According to studies, an 8-minute shower will use 62 liters of water compared to an average of 80 liters of water for a bath, and therefore one can set a timer to limit their water consumption.
THE BOTTOM LINE-Adjusting On Your Habits
- The habits that one develops in the bathroom can impact the amount of water he saves—and the amount he wastes.
- Simple habits, for instance, turning off the water while brushing your teeth or shaving, can save water and help lower the utility bills. Also, it helps to budget the time in the bathroom to save as much water as possible.
Have a look at a few water-saving fixtures available in the market.
3. Say NO to Plastic Toiletries
There are plenty of things that you can do to play your part in protecting our planet, but did you know that the way we brush our teeth could have a huge impact? Over 100 crore plastic toothbrushes get thrown away every year in India alone, contributing heavily to plastic waste. Toothbrushes are typically made from materials that can take over 400 years to degrade.
Invest in a bamboo toothbrush
Bamboo is the fastest naturally growing resource in the world - and not only that, but it’s biodegradable, which means that when you’re finished with your bamboo toothbrush, you can pop it on top of your compost heap where it will degrade naturally without contributing to plastic and ocean pollution.
Read about its benefits here
Opt for Shampoo Bars or Natural Ingredients Infused Shampoos
Today, one of the biggest challenges for many of us is to replace plastic products with eco-friendly alternatives in our daily lives.
By switching to shampoo bars, one can be sure that there is no plastic, no paper (unless you buy it with a label), and no need for landfill contribution.
The bars are perfect for carry-on airplane luggage. Thus, there is no need to pour out 100mL or, even worse, buy travel-size-one-time-use bottles.
Did you know that non-organic towels contain up to 20 different chemicals, including stabilizers and coloring and perfuming agents?
Thus, by using organic rather than non-organic towels, you could further improve your eco-footprint and increase your health level. Organic towels are made from organic materials like organic cotton, hemp, bamboo, or flax linen. Make sure that the towels that you buy are not only made from organic materials but also under sustainable conditions. This way you can switch to an eco-friendly bathroom.
4. Eco-Friendly Tiles
Here are some things to consider when selecting a more earth-friendly tile:
- Is the product made with recycled materials, and if so, what is the percentage?
- Is the product made with abundant or sustainable materials?
- Is the company making efforts to minimize waste and reduce energy during manufacturing?
- Is the company making efforts to use green business practices?
1. Limestone: Floor Tiles
A sedimentary natural rock, limestone is a material that has been used in architecture and is made of calcium carbonate. It is also available in a variety of sizes.
2. Bamboo: Floor Tiles
An excellent alternative to hardwood, bamboo is a recyclable, sustainable material that can be grown and regrown. Quite interestingly, bamboo is harder than oak
3. Glass Tiles
Glass is one of the greenest materials since it can be completely recycled, unlike some plastics, and they disintegrate more naturally. They look quite a beautiful look to the bathroom, especially in different lightings. They will look good as both- a backsplash and a floor covering. However, be careful as they shouldn’t be used in very wet areas, like a shower, as they are quite slippery.
Moreover, it is advisable to go for textured glass as it forms an anti-skid surface, and the flooring does not become slippery when wet. Glass tiles are water-resistant, stain-resistant, and low in maintenance.
4. Cement Tiles
Cement tiles are handmade and are also known as encaustic cement tiles. These are strong, durable, and have a naturally rough surface, which makes them slip-proof. These tiles are available in bold colors, modern patterns, and traditional motifs, which impart an ethnic look to the bathroom.
Thus, making use of eco-friendly flooring materials in the bathroom is a great way to add a luxurious feeling while also giving us peace of mind that we are doing well for the environment and our nature too.
5. Organic and Recyclable Toilet Papers
The organic paper typically has the following characteristics:
- No chemical pesticides or fertilizers
- No bleach
- Free of inks, dyes, and perfumes
- Ideal for sensitive skins
- Naturally biodegradable
- Safe for septic tanks
- No animal testing
A big pro for many individuals is that organic tissue paper is ideal for sensitive skin. The tissue paper is free of inks, dyes, and perfumes and a great initiative for eco-friendly bathroom. When individuals with sensitive skin get sick or have an allergy flare-up, they often need to use tissues. After several uses, non-organic tissue paper can cause significant irritation to the area of skin around the nose. Since organic tissues are incredibly soft, many people with sensitive skin love organic tissues for this reason and even individuals without sensitive skin report liking the organic kinds of tissue paper.
Many people also think a big benefit of organic tissue paper is positively affecting the environment and society. Some also point out that switching to organic agriculture is crucial to reversing global warming.
Furthermore, organic enthusiasts use the theory of supply and demand to encourage consumers to go organic when it comes to tissue paper. If consumers buy more, manufacturers will make more, and thus organic practices eventually become industry standard.
6. Switch to Menstrual Cups or Biodegradable Sanitary Pads
- A woman uses 7,000 to 8,500 pads/tampons in her lifetime. Since pads are made of chemical-based products, they are not biodegradable and take hundreds of years to decompose naturally. That is a very unsustainable mess! Menstrual cups, on the other hand, create zero waste.
- Moreover, Silicone is a pretty green ingredient. The material is derived from silica, a type of sand, and as it degrades, it will slowly go back to its original state, the second most abundant mineral in the Earth’s crust and one that is not hazardous to the environment.
- Menstrual cups can last up to a decade because they are made of medical-grade silicone, rubber, or latex. Women can also contribute to make their eco-friendly bathrooms and reducing plastic waste. One cup produces an estimated 0.4% of the plastic waste that single-use pads build-up, or 6% of that created by tampons in 10 years.
- Many companies offer biodegradable sanitary pads as a solution to the problems posed by disposable period products in terms of waste management. However, the paucity of space and resources required to properly let a biodegradable pad decompose make this a non-viable and unsustainable solution. Women mostly wrap them in plastic bags, and they end up in the landfill with other waste. Therefore instead of using plastics, the use of newspapers for disposing of them should be encouraged.
7. Ditch Single-Use Plastic for an eco-friendly bathroom
Plastic pollution is a global environmental concern, and several approaches have been implemented seeking to reduce and control releases of plastic waste. Many companies are working on fully compostable (in some cases edible) packaging.
Here are some examples already on the market.
1. Mushroom packaging
A combination of agricultural waste and mycelium (mushroom) root, this home compostable product is “grown” on a hemp-flour mixture and then dried to halt the growth process. It is most commonly used to replace Styrofoam packaging.
2. Seaweed-based packaging
Comes in edible and biodegradable grades. The benefits of seaweed packaging, according to Greenbiz, extend beyond keeping plastic out of the ocean. They report it takes a hectare of the ocean to create 40 tons of dry seaweed. During processing, that same volume can absorb 20.7 tons of CO2 emissions.
The only drawbacks at the moment seem to be the price; because seaweed packaging currently requires manual processing, it is more expensive than plastic. While seaweed packaging has some kinks to work out, it seems clear that it holds the potential to help eliminate some of the plastic clogging our planet.
3. Banana Leaves
In Thailand, where the plastic problem reaches crisis proportions, one supermarket has opted to go plastic-free in favor of banana leaf-and-bamboo packaging. Moreover, while banana leaves may only be practical where they are readily available, this does reinforce the idea of using local, compostable materials.
Bagasse is a byproduct of sugarcane processing, which leaves a pulpy substance that can be used in various applications. These include using bagasse as a wood substitute in the production of pulp, paper, and board. Bagasse is also often used in the production of food packaging, including "to-go" containers, bowls, plates, and cups. Bagasse food containers are thick and very sturdy. They are microwave safe, can be used to store food in the freezer, and are free of chlorine.
- Liquid bottles for washing purposes with bar soaps.
- Lotions in plastic bottles with either lotion bars or prefer to purchase in a glass bottle
- Encourage the use of disposable feminine products such as as- Menstrual cups or reusable cloth sanitary napkins.
- Plastic toothbrushes with Bamboo toothbrushes.
- Liquid shampoo in plastic bottles with Shampoo bars.
8. Sun Dry Your Clothes-Replacing the Dryers
- Did you know that clothes dryers shrink the clothing twice as much as air drying does, and more importantly, they can cause irreversible damage? Sun Drying Clothes Promotes Energy Conservation. It conserves energy and helps to protect the environment by saving precious fossil fuels. It is the pinnacle of green laundry and sustainable living.
- There are also many advantages to hanging clothes under the sun. First, it does not cost money. You do not need to pay an electricity bill for that.
- The clothes can also last longer hanging under the sun since there is no rolling and stretching of clothes as in the case of a laundry dryer, moreover, the clothes will not shrink when dried under the sun.
- The sun is a "natural sanitizer”. So if you dry your clothes under the sun, they will not only smell fresh but also, natural UV rays can kill the clothes' bacteria and microorganisms.
9. Home- Brewed Air Fresheners- For Eco-friendly bathroom
Here are a few tips for greener ways to help keep your home smelling fresh.
- A simple one, but improving air circulation outside to inside will do wonders. Therefore, open windows whenever you can.
- A tablespoon of salt in a half an orange with the flesh scooped out. This one is a must DIY for your eco-friendly bathroom.
- 1 - 2 teaspoons natural vanilla extract placed in small containers around your home can help in lifting the mood.
- One can use a bit of vodka or rubbing alcohol to these fresheners because they help the essential oils and water to mix more thoroughly, and helps the homemade air freshener to dry faster. You could omit it if you like, but it results in a better end product.
10. Bio Enzymes- Small contribution for Eco-friendly bathroom
Fruit enzymes, also known as garbage enzymes, are produced from fruit peels or waste. It is a natural multi-purpose, chemical-free, eco-friendly bathroom cleaner. They are a great eco-friendly alternative to harsh chemicals. Many products that we use in our everyday life, like drain cleaners, floor cleaners, dishwashing detergents, phenyl, bleach, etc., contain toxic chemicals hazardous to our health and the environment.
It exposes us to many harmful chemicals that have been linked to various health problems and allergies. Though it is impossible to keep chemicals totally out of our house, we can, to some extent, if we are ready to make some efforts for making eco-friendly bathroom.
You can use the fruit enzymes as a multipurpose cleaner. Dilute it in the ratio 1:10 (One-part citrus enzyme cleaner with 10 parts water) and use it to clean anything like tiles, bathroom, gas stoves, toilets, kitchen sink, mirrors, etc. One can also use it undiluted for removing tough stains, grease marks, etc.
For cleaning bathroom tiles/ floor
Use 1/4 cup of fruit enzyme for a bucket of water and use it for cleaning the tiles or floors. When used regularly it helps to keep ants at bay as the cleaners are natural insect repellents. Stop buying phenol and other floor cleaners, as this DIY technique gives a guaranteed result!
For cleaning faucets
Mix citrus enzyme cleaner with soapnut water and use it to clean the faucets and taps of your bathroom. Soapnut water is a great cleanser as well as an insect repellent.
Lastly, the residue can be used as a fertilizer. Just dry it well and mix it with soil.
Technically speaking, the bio-enzyme is a mixture of organic substances – like kitchen wastes with natural sugar and naturally occurring yeast/bacteria. The enzyme’s organic materials can act on stains, harmful microbes, and other odors without any harmful side effects.
How to Make the Bio-Enzyme?
Making the bio-enzyme is pretty simple, yet time taking. All you need are kitchen wastes – fruit and vegetable peels, jaggery or brown sugar, water, and an air-tight plastic container. Always use a plastic container as glass and metal containers may break since they cannot expand to accommodate the gases formed. Moreover, only edible kitchen wastes work for bio-enzymes. Paper, metals, and other such household wastes don’t work.
Uses of Bio Enzymes to Get a Clean & Germ-Free Bathroom
|Cleaning Purpose||Usage Method||Area of Use/Benefits|
|Floor Tiles||100 – 150 ml of bio-enzyme with half a bucket of water.||You can comfortably use it on all tiles apart from marble.|
|Toilet||Pour concentrated bio-enzyme into the toilet bowl.||Let it sit for around half an hour and scrub and flush as usual. You can also use the leftover pulp to clean toilet bowls.|
|Kitchen stoves, chimney, and other greasy surfaces||Mix bio-enzyme along with natural ShikakaiOrBio-enzyme pulp||Soak shikakai in a bio-enzyme for 3 to 4 days. Use the mixture with hot water to scrub away grease effectively.|
|Laundry Detergent||Bio-enzyme along with Soapnut pods||For regular clothes:Soak clothes in 100ml of bio-enzyme and wash as usual, without any detergents.For dirty clothes:Tie up 10 to 15 soapnut pods in a sock and toss it with your laundry. Pour 150ml of bio-enzyme and wash as usual. The sock should be tied (otherwise the pods break and stick to clothes.)|
|Vessels||Bio-enzyme along with Soapnut pods or soapnut powder||Soak soap nuts in bio-enzyme overnight and use the solution to wash vessels. If using soapnut powder, you can mix it directly with the enzyme and use it right away.|
|Body Wash||Just mix bio-enzyme with a bucket of water and bathe as usual.||Make sure you do a patch test for sensitivity reasons.|
|Shampoo||Bio-enzyme along with Shikakai and soapnut||Soak soap nuts and shikakai in bio-enzyme overnight. And, filter the solution and use it in place of your regular shampoo.|
|Hand Wash||Bio-enzyme along with soapnuts||Soak soap nuts in bio-enzyme and filter the liquid and use it as a regular hand wash.|