20 Zero Waste Bathroom Swaps You Can Start Doing Today
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20 zero waste bathroom swaps to help you reduce your plastic waste and live more sustainably at home. Some of these are quick and easy that you can start doing today and some need some planning.
I go through swaps for in the shower, out of the shower and for cleaning the bathroom. I’ll be sharing what I do or use for most of these swaps plus tell you where you can buy some of them from or how to make them.
Why Make Swaps?
We can’t be perfectly zero waste. It’s impossible with a lot of essential products still being produced in plastic packaging and in non sustainable ways. All we can do is our best and that means changing some of our habits and making small swaps where we can.
Thankfully there are small businesses that believe we can do better and who are trying to bring about change with their more sustainable options. We as consumers have the power to support them with our money and by doing so we are showing other big wasteful companies that we don’t like what they’re doing anymore.
Small steps make a big difference.
Should I Throw Out All the Plastic Items That I Already Have?
No. Remember, before buying anything new, use up what you already have. Zero waste is not about getting rid of all the plastic but making better, more sustainable choices for future purchases or non purchases.
For example, if you already have 30 disposable razors, make sure you use them up, make them last as long as possible and try to recycle them if you can before buying a new reusable razor. If you still have a deodorant that is half used, keep using it until it’s finished before making yourself a new, zero waste one.
20 Zero Waste Bathroom Swaps
Swaps for in the Shower
Shower don’t bathe
This first swap is super easy; swap your baths for showers when possible. Zero waste isn’t only about plastic but about any of the earths resources. Choosing not to waste water when we don’t need to can make big changes to our mindset, the earths available water and also our water bills.
Did you know that only 0.4% of the earths water is available for all of us to use? I mostly shower, turn off the water in between rinsing and save baths for when I’m not feeling well.
Switch shampoo bottles for bars
Aren’t you fed up of all those bottles lining the edges of your bath or filling your hanging shower baskets? Switching to a shampoo bar will save on all those bottles being recycled or ending up in landfill. Head to your local zero waste shop and see if they have one that suits. I use this one from Agno Grocery (my local zero waste shop) but here is another great option.
Or opt for a mystery bar of shampoo or conditioner that is slightly damaged to help reduce even more waste. I love this option!
Use a natural conditioner
Did you know that there are plenty of natural conditioners that we can use on our hair instead of buying into bottled conditioners that are filled with hundreds of ingredients? I currently use white vinegar as my natural acid rinse/conditioner but there are plenty of acid rinses to choose from that suit your hair and needs; from vinegar to lemon, lime, apple juice, water kefir and teas.
I buy my vinegar in bulk which saves a lot of packaging and money and lasts me a lot longer than standard conditioner used to.
If you want to try vinegar, use apple cider vinegar for dry hair and white distilled vinegar for oily hair. Mix 1 tbsp of vinegar with a cup of water and pour over your scalp and hair. Then rinse. Easy! Read more about my zero waste hair care journey here and this facebook group is really helpful in finding natural options that suit your hair.
Use soap instead of shower gel
There are so many lovely, natural soaps out there to choose from and I bet there is someone in your local area hand making them. If you can, choose to support them or find a natural soap in your local supermarket that isn’t wrapped in plastic instead of buying shower gels that are full of things we don’t understand and add to your plastic waste.
Luckily in Cyprus we have wonderful olive oil soap which comes in a card box that we can buy at the supermarket and is affordable.
Swap to a soap saver
Now that you’re using soap you can also switch to a soap saver instead of a shower puff or a disposable sponge. These help you to use up every last bit of the soap bar including the tiny bits that always seem to break off and get lost down the plug hole.
Make your own back scrubber
Do you use a back brush to get to those hard to reach places? Or maybe it’s a back scrubber with handles on either end? Both types usually include some kind of plastic that isn’t recyclable or sheds micro plastics into the water.
I’ve started making my own, again with crochet and hemp yarn. Here is my back scrubber crochet pattern if you want to give it a go. The design and yarn makes is gently exfoliating and they last ages.
New to Crochet and Want to Learn?
Head to my How to Crochet Step by Step guide to learn all the basics before trying one of my zero waste crochet patterns. A quick an easy video tutorial is available for each step.
More Zero Waste Crochet Patterns
… Back to Zero Waste Bathroom Swaps
Swaps for Out of the Shower
Swap from virgin toilet paper
Did you know that most toilet paper sold in the supermarket is made from virgin paper / new wood pulp which isn’t doing the worlds forests any favours. Opt for a recycled option or switch to a bidet and reusable wipes instead.
Whilst we were living in the UK we used to buy Who Gives a Crap recycled toilet paper which I really loved and I still love their ethos. Now that we are in Cyprus we buy a recycled toilet paper from Lidl but my goal is to switch to a bidet as I believe this is the ultimate zero waste option.
Swap to a non-nylon floss
Standard floss is made of nylon or teflon which can take a really long time to break down, not to mention the tiny bits of plastic it must be releasing. I don’t know about you but I find that floss tends to break between my teeth and we always only use a small thread each time so imagine all these tiny bits of plastic in landfills. I dread to think.
A really good alternative is Georganics Dental Floss which is zero waste, compostable and vegan. They’re made from compostable corn-based PLA, vegetable wax and essential oils. The packaging is also recyclable.
There are other eco friendly flosses to choose from but be sure to check the materials. I try to avoid those made from bamboo. Whether bamboo is sustainable is a discussion for a whole other blog post which I will write soon. Until then know that bamboo is responsible for a lot of forest and field destruction in order to satisfy the demand.
Buy wooden toothbrushes
Depending on where you live and which toothbrushes you buy, your plastic toothbrush might be recyclable. Look into the ones you have, find out what they’re made of and if your local recycling will accept them.
Unfortunately where I live this isn’t an option so I choose to buy wooden toothbrushes instead that I can later use a plant labels. Again I try to avoid bamboo ones if I can. A good option is Georganics Beechwood Toothbrush which is made from FSC certified Beechwood.
Swap your toothpaste
There are a couple of alternatives to standard toothpaste which is usually packaged in non recyclable tubes. There are tooth tabs which are small tablets, perfectly sized for each use and toothpaste that comes in recyclable metal tubes. Here are some good options to try.
Unpaste Toothtabs (US)
Make your own natural deodorant
There are plenty of eco friendly deodorant options out there to try however, I have always just made my own because the I can find the ingredients in plastic free packaging, I can choose the fragrance and I know exactly what is in it. Here is my DIY homemade deodorant recipe if you want to give it a go.
Switch to a reusable or metal razor
I still have my old reusable Gillette Venus razor from when I bought it about 20 years ago. It’s still in good shape so I don’t want to throw it away just yet. I simply change the heads which is better than the disposable option. However, if you want to take it one step further invest in a stainles steel safety razor. Here are some good options.
Swap to face scrubbies
I made myself some face scrubbies to replace make up remover pads and I absolutely love them. I also use them for cleansing as they’re so soft and lovely to use. Here is my free face scrubbies crochet pattern if you want to give it a go. Otherwise I love these two options are they’re both organic cotton.
Switch to oil cleansing
I love oil cleansing. It replaces both my face wash and my make up remover and as an added bonus its natural and usually comes in glass bottles that I can keep for later use. All you need is a carrier oil like sweet almond or rosehip, warm water and a reusable face scrubbie. Treehugger.com has a great, detailed article about how to oil cleanse for beginners.
Swap q-tips for the Last Swab
Did you know that you can buy a reusable cotton swab that lasts for about 1,000 uses! That saves 1,000 extra q-tips from ending up in landfill. The Last Swab is a great option, made from recycled ocean plastic and medical TPE. They’re designed to be used for makeup touch ups and can be easily cleaned.
Swap to reusable menstrual products
There are so many options nowadays for reusable menstrual products and many supportive communities to help you out with questions about it that it makes it easy to get started.
There are three options; 1. Cloth sanitary pads, menstrual cups and period underwear. I use a mixture of cloth pads and a menstrual cup but would also like to try period underwear as I’ve heard so many good things about them.
If you want to try cloth sanitary pads, I bet that there is someone local to you who makes them. If not I would highly recommend Wasteless Deisgn as my all time favourite.
I would avoid going out and buying a menstrual cup from your local zero waste shop without first taking the Put a Cup in It quiz. This is a non biased quiz that will tell you which cup will suit you best based on your body and your cycle.
I haven’t tried any period underwear yet but my choice would be to try ModiBodi as they have a vegan range.
Swaps for Cleaning the Bathroom
After hours and hours of research into this, I’ve honed our bathroom cleaning routine down to perfection. All you need is 5 natural ingredients that usually come in plastic free packaging and are mostly available in your local supermarket:
Bicarbonate of Soda / Baking Soda
Tea Tree Oil
Swap bleach for natural toilet bombs
You might initially think that there’s no other way to clean the toilet than with bleach but let me tell you that there is and you don’t need to do the leg work to find out how. I’ve done it for you :)
All you need is bicarb, citric acid and hot water. Pour hot water into the water in the toilet (avoid the bowl to avoid cracking if you live in a cold climate). Sprinkle some citric acid around the bowl and in the water and leave it for 10 mins. Then add bicarb and let it fizz for a while. Brush the bowl and flush. That’s it!!
Some like to make toilet bombs by mixing the ingredients with some essential oils and water and shaping them in an ice cube tray, leaving them to set and storing them in a glass container to use when needed. I like to just sprinkle it in.
Swap microfibre / synthetic cloths natural cloths or rags
I love to use hemp cloths for cleaning around my house. I love them because I know they’re completely natural and can be composted when I’ve used them to their limit and because they work really well with bicarb if anything needs scrubbing. Here is my easy, free, dishcloth crochet pattern that I use to make cleaning cloths for the house.
You can also use old clothes rags for cleaning instead of making something new. I also use an old cotton t-shirt for cleaning the toilet seat and lid that I reuse over and over. Simply wash it afterwards so that it’s ready to use next time.
Swap bathroom cleaner for bicarb and a cloth
Rinse down the bath, shower or sink with water. Then use one of your natural cloths to scrub it down with bicarb. Rinse. Easy! The bicarb makes all the metal fixtures super shiny :) and it works great on glass too as it’s non abrasive.
Swap standard grout cleaner for this natural one
I discovered this miracle recipe and now I will never use anything else. It works amazingly well and it makes me feel so happy that it’s natural.
In a small pot, mix bicarb, soap, a few drops of tea tree oil and a bit of water together to make a paste. Using a toothbrush, spread the mixture on the hard to clean areas and leave it to sit for a while. The come back a brush it with the toothbrush a little before rinsing.