Greening your bathroom 101
Taking the leap into greener living and avoiding chemicals can feel overwhelming and become expensive if started without a plan. If one of your goals for 2014 is to green your household, I recommend starting room-by-room. The first place I removed synthetic cleaners, beauty and personal care products was the bathroom. Using a common sense approach, along with some easy DIY recipes, this task can be enjoyable and won’t break the bank.
Main areas of focus
– How do you clean the bathroom?
– What products are entering your system via skin, hair and mouth?
– Are recyclables finding their way to a depot?
– Which items just need to go, go, go?
Ditch: antibacterial cleaners
Try: baking soda, vinegar and castile soap
Yes, bathrooms have germs, but they are not at the level of a hospital and don’t require antibacterial cleaners.
The hardest part of the bathroom to clean is the toilet and this needs a cleaner with some grit.
Baking soda is a great way to deodorize and clean your toilets. Also keep a jar full of these toilet bombs we found on Pinterest that can help with clogs.
Everything else in your bathroom can be cleaned with vinegar, baking soda and Dr. Bronners liquid castile soap.
The best part of this new cleaner regiment is that most of items can be found in the kitchen!
Think like a green ninja on this topic! But don’t panic and ditch everything you are currently using!
Use up your shampoo, conditioner, soap, toothpaste, sunscreen, bath salts, etc. and once it’s time to replace these items, then research better options and go from there. The point of this exercise is not to be wasteful, just make better consumer decisions with our health. So besides cosmetics, what do we put on our skin and bodies that can be absorbed into our systems?
Try: organic options, “no poo” and coconut oil
For children, I recommend adopting a ‘no poo’ strategy with hair care. This term simply means using baking soda and apple cider vinegar to condition hair. I find it most effective on kids that don’t yet have hair damage from colouring or heat damage. I put 1 teaspoon of baking soda into a cup of warm water, mix until dissolved, then rub into scalp & hair. For adults, there are so many great organic options on the market. You can search brands on the EWG (Environmental Working Group) website to find out what the ranking is for ingredients.
Deep conditioning: for deep hair conditioning treatments, wash your hair, then dry and rub a dime sized amount of coconut oil between your palms. When the coconut oil is liquid, rub into the ends of your hair. Repeat this method through your scalp if you have dry scalp or dandruff in the winter months.
Try: Coconut oil and baking soda
Face wash – I have asked far and wide and women that have the most beautiful skin later in life always tell me they only use water to wash their face. I love the idea of this, but I choose to make my own facial scrub with coconut oil and baking soda. I only put a small amount of baking soda with the coconut oil and it’s the perfect combination of moisturizer and abrasion to clean my skin.
Try: Lemons and limes
Deodorant – there are lots of deodorant DIY recipes that I’ve tried and liked. My favourite being coconut oil, cornstarch, and baking soda; however I recently discovered a very effective option that I like even more! Believe it or not, a lemon or lime halved makes an amazing deodorant. Just cut the lemon or lime in half, wipe, wait 1 minute for armpits to dry and you’re ready for the day. Don’t knock it until you try it!
Try: coconut oil pull
Teeth Whitening – here’s another tip that might have you scratching your head, but I promise – it rocks! Whitening strips you buy from the drugstore are actually pretty expensive and filled with lots of ingredients I can’t pronounce. Therefore it doesn’t meet the requirement to live in my bathroom. Do you know what the green replacement is for whitening strips is? It’s a process called oil pulling and although it sounds complicated, it’s so easy! You take a teaspoon amount of unrefined coconut oil, put it in your mouth, wait until it become liquid, then start swishing it around your mouth. 10 minutes to start and work your way up to 15 minutes. Don’t swallow the oil as it’s pulled toxins from your body, in addition to whitening and cleaning your teeth. Spit the oil into a garbage or toilet to avoid clogging your sink, and voila. You will feel like you’ve just stepped out of the dental office after a cleaning and might notice benefits of healthier skin.
Toothpaste – many studies recommend going fluoride free and consider fluoride a toxin that can inhibit health. Speak to your dental care team and work with them to find the best option for you. There are lots of fluoride free toothpaste options.
Are you fluoride free? Let us know in the comments.
What items need to go, go, go?
Traditional tampons, that’s what!
Try: alternatives and organic tampons
There is only one product I recommend ditching the moment you read this article. Ready?
Do you know that tampons are categorized as medical devices and therefore don’t receive the same regulations as personal care products?
Companies don’t have to disclose the ingredients of a tampon, but some we know are rayon, cotton grown with pesticides, genetically modified cotton (BT cotton), polyester which naturally contains flame retardants and whitening process. The whitening process no longer involves bleaching, but it’s still a concern.
There are many reusable products that can replace traditional tampons or you can just make the switch to organic sanitary protection.
Recyclables in the bathroom
The bathroom is filled with items that are destined for a recycling depot. The obvious items are plastic shampoo and conditioner bottles. Just rinse out and add to curbside recycling pickup.
The hidden jewels in your bathroom are something you might not have noticed. Did you know toilet paper rolls are one of the most popular crafting materials? If your days of crafting have slowed down, collect rolls for local preschools or art studios, as they’ll be put to good use!
Also, the small sample bottles that we keep from hotels and traveling are wonderful play items for children. Again, any preschool would love to have these empty bottles for their make-believe corner.
What you can see from these tips is the same few products are being re-used over and over again. Lemons, coconut oil, baking soda, vinegar, and Castile soap. These are the items our grandparents cleaned with before the invention of store bought cleaners.
You receive extra bonus “green points” if you use upcycled glass mason jars to keep toothbrushes, q-tips, and miscellaneous toiletries neat and organized on your counter-top.
We also love our shell soap dish that was collected on a beach walk many years ago. It is a beautiful way to display a bar of soap or keep your new lemon deodorant ready to use! (I can tell you still aren’t trusting me on the lemon deodorant tip so I’m repeating it.)
Have fun and get creative with making your bathroom a healthier space. The DIY movement is strong and so popular right now so take advantage of creative ideas from Pinterest and let us know if you have any questions on your journey to a greener bathroom. We are happy to help!