When building or renovating a home, it’s easy to install energy-efficient appliances and embrace green design. Jack Thomasson, house planner of the HGTV Green Home, suggests using green design tricks that embrace modern-day comforts. For example, the master bathroom in the Green Home is luxuriously designed with two shower heads, making morning routines a breeze, yet they are spaced far apart so one person can’t run both at the same time (because wasting water is decidedly not green).
Other eco-friendly renovations like swapping out your commode with a dual-flush toilet or installing sustainable bamboo cabinetry for the vanity are easier to undertake if you're doing an all-out remodel; this time, we want to share some easy budget-friendly ways to green your bathroom that are totally doable on Earth Day.
By now you probably know that taking a hour-long shower while belting out your favorite Adele tunes isn’t the most eco-friendly way to start the day. Besides the obvious choice of taking a shorter shower, consider swapping out your shower head for one that is more efficient. The Oxygenics Power Massage is a combination handheld and wall-mounted shower head with 35 pressurized spray combinations. The company claims that users save the same amount of water that 30 people can live on for an entire year, so you can install the shower head on Earth Day and feel good about helping the planet all year long. As a bonus, the handheld can double as a mic during that encore rendition of Rumor Has It (after you've turned off water off, of course).
Embracing a sustainable lifestyle is about using what you have and avoiding unnecessary buys, but if your towels look more like shredded tissues than an absorbent cloth, we give you permission to donate them to the next car wash fundraiser and splurge on new organic ones. Towels made from organic cotton or bamboo not only help keep harmful chemicals often found in conventional crops out of the soil and water, they are safer for the workers who harvest the plants. These hypo-allergenic bamboo towels by Pure Fiber come in a variety of bright shades to match your bathroom decor.
A study by the Center for Health, Environment, and Justice (CHEJ) found that the toxic chemicals in polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plastic shower curtains are "significant contributors to indoor air pollution" and pose serious health threats -- yikes! PVC-free shower curtains are increasingly easier to find in major retail stores like IKEA or Target, but this fun waterproof Singin in the Rain shower curtain from High Fashion Home would be a great way to start the day. An alternative is to pair an EVA vinyl shower curtain liner like this one from Pottery Barn with an organic cotton shower curtain.
Green paint isn’t just a hot color trend in decor right now, it’s also becoming a way to give your walls an eco-friendly facelift. Paint is one of the most affordable ways to give your bathroom a complete makeover -- just be sure to choose a nontoxic, zero-VOC paint. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says volatile organic compounds (VOCs), may cause adverse health effects. Both Benjamin Moore Natura paints and Mythic nontoxic paints are zero-VOC paint options.
Once you’ve freshened up your bathroom with the ideas above, keep it looking sparkling clean with eco-friendly cleaning products. If you’re a DIY diva, consider making your own green products by cleaning with vinegar or other simple kitchen staples like baking soda and lemon. If you’d rather leave the baking soda for baking, there are plenty of green cleaning products on the market now. Method and J.R. Watkins are both popular nontoxic products.
This Earth Day, consider taking one of these small steps to green your bathroom until you’re ready to fully embrace green design and give the bathroom a full eco-friendly overhaul.
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