A 2008 poll of 2,500 people found that the average person spends around an hour and 42 minutes in the bathroom every day. Taken as a whole, that’s not really very much time. As a result, it’s easy to overlook the bathroom when considering how to have a more eco friendly home.
Even though we spend only a little more than an hour in the bathroom every day, it can account for a large share of your daily water and energy use, and waste from your bathroom can really pile up.
So let’s talk about ways to make our bathrooms more eco-friendly.
Be smart with energy use
A little light in the bathroom is a good thing, right? Somewhere along the way though, we found ourselves installing bathroom vanities with a dozen or more light bulbs. I definitely want to see what I look like before going out for the day but I don’t feel like I need to see what I’d look like on the surface of the sun.
You really don’t need more than a few light bulbs in your bathroom. Consider reducing the number of bulbs to 3-5 and using energy efficient LED bulbs. This will help radically reduce the amount of energy your bathroom uses.
Use water-efficient fixtures
The bathroom is the largest source of water use in the average home. Your toilet alone can account for 27% of your water use! Using water-efficient fixtures in your bathroom can have an enormous impact not just on your water use but your energy use too. Installing water-efficient aerated showerheads as well as water-restricting faucet aerators in your bathroom can help save thousands of gallons of water each year and a substantial amount of energy (from heating water) as well.
Water efficient toilets are a worthy investment as well. Older toilets can use up to 7 gallons of water per flush! WaterSense® labeled toilets use at least 60 percent less water than the standard older model of toilet, helping you to save big.
Check your toilet for leaks
According to the EPA, leaks can account for 13% of the average home’s water use. It’s easy to identify a leak in a faucet because you can see the drop occurring, but a leak in a toilet can be a lot more subtle. It’s super easy to find out if you have a leaking toilet though. Put a few drops of food coloring in the upper tank of your toilet and wait a half an hour. If your toilet has a leak, the dyed water will have leaked into the bowl of the toilet. From there, you can fix the leak.
Clean using eco-friendly cleaning supplies
There are nearly countless toxic chemicals that can wind up in our homes thanks to commercial cleaners. Even some eco-friendly cleaners report containing some less than eco-friendly chemicals. But here’s the thing: you don’t need to use expensive, store-bought cleaners to have a clean and sanity home. Products like vinegar, borax, hydrogen peroxide, and baking soda are effective at cleaning most surfaces.
Choose plastic-free items
Many common bathroom items are made from plastic or other non-biodegradable items. But there are definitely tons of alternatives on the market. You can purchase wooden hairbrushes, bamboo toothbrushes, and even biodegradable silk floss to replace nylon floss. Using bar soap for hand washing also helps reduce single-use plastic use in your home.
Buy bar soap/shampoo
Finally, our last suggestion is to purchase a two-in-one soap and shampoo in bar form. Bars of soap don’t generally come in plastic packaging, but recyclable cardboard. It takes a little bit of getting used to, but bar soap/shampoo works just as well as liquid.