Part of the Series: Greening Up Your Living Spaces
While the term “green” is a bit cliché these days, it is the only word I can think of to describe the process of eliminating chemicals and plastics from my bathroom. The journey has been long and continues today. In the beginning, there were no readily available replacements for everyday items that were “green” without spending a lot. And in some cases, they weren’t green at all.
I see products through three lenses: Toxicity, Waste, and Price.
The bathroom seemed like a good place to start because the more I learned, the more toxic my everyday items became. Plus, many of those items were put onto our skin every single day.
We live in a tiny home on wheels – less than 200 square feet. Elimination is part of our everyday life, so clearing out some shelves in the bathroom and shower was a fun exercise for me.
I do have some rules.
First, don’t throw out half full bottles just because you are switching to a greener product. That old product took a lot of resources to make, good or bad, so just tossing it is wasteful. Second, there is no need to stock up on new products before the last one is completely empty.
One of my pet peeves has always been seeing 10 shampoo and conditioner bottles lined up in a shower, each with a varying degree of product still in them. Add to that four or five partially filled bottles of body wash and face scrubs. It gets a bit crowded, and the bottles never get used up.
First, I wanted to eliminate toxicity, so I began making my own hand and face wash. They are in glass mason jars with foaming pumps and fit nicely next to the sinks and on the shower shelf. This also eliminated the plastic bottles, and it costs a bit less. See recipe for hand wash below.
Next was the bottle of body wash – one for me and one for Wayne. We thought it was necessary to have separate fragrances. His bottle didn’t fit on the shelf in our tiny shower, so we were constantly maneuvering around it on the shower floor. Now we share a non-toxic bar soap that comes wrapped in recyclable paper. Price is comparable.
I also used to have a tube of facial scrub on the tiny shower shelf. I changed my routine to using the homemade moisturizing facial wash with a cheap, rough wash cloth (the ones you get 12 for $5). Twice a week I do a clay facial to remove any other chemicals from my face, followed by an essential oil. My skin looks better. Plastics are eliminated, and the price is comparable.
Now comes the shampoo. My hair is rather curly and frizzy, so this was a big test for me. But shampoo seems to be the most toxic thing that was in our shower. We found a moisturizing bar shampoo and conditioner that works great. It takes some getting use to, for you and for your hair. And don’t forget the conditioner. They come in a recyclable paper box and paper wrapper. The price for the one we use is a bit more expensive, but it varies based on your hair type.
I’m feeling good about the shower items. Over the past few months, I have been using up facial and hair products that were stashed in cabinets, found non-toxic face cream and oils in glass, reusable jars, and threw away the outdated medications.
Cleaning supplies have all been replaced with a simple mixture of vinegar, dish soap, and water. Works great on the stainless sink and glass shower doors. It is also safe to use in our RV toilet.
Our bathroom will never be 100% toxic free or plastic free, but I am feeling great about what has already been eliminated. As things are used up, I will search for non-toxic and plastic free replacements, if I need to replace them at all.
Hand Soap Recipe
This is a foaming hand soap. If you use foaming soap now, maybe you can reuse the containers you already have once they are empty. When those break down, and they will, look for a pump that fits onto a pint mason jar. They work great and look nice too.
- 4 Tbsp. Castile Soap
- 2 tsp Fractionated Coconut Oil (This will last you many years and is used in other products)
- 15-20 drops of your favorite essential oil (I like Frankincense)
- Fill the rest of the jar with water
What other things have you been able to eliminate from your own bathroom?
Links to other articles in this series:
- Greening up the Bathroom
- Greening up the Laundry Room
- Greening up the Kitchen
- Greening up the Office
- Tips for Greening Up a Sewing Room