Going Green, Simple and Cheap: Bathrooms
Many people are completely intimidated by the concept of going green. It really feels like if you don’t start using a rain barrel, install solar panels on your roof, eat, drink and breathe 1000% organic, and compost every living thing under the sun, you’re a failure. But I’m here to tell you that simply isn’t true! There are tons of ways to be green simply and cheaply – and I know because as a young mom, I’m forever on a tight budget. So read on to find out my simple ways to go green, room by room.
Next up on our room-by-room green tour is bathrooms. Bathrooms can be such a tricky space depending on how often they receive traffic, how big they are, who specifically uses them, and the amenities they contain. So it can be really hard to figure out how to green up a space that has near endless possibilities when it comes to features and changeability.
But that’s why I’m here. To think of these things for you, because sometimes what’s obvious to one person is absolutely not to another.
Anyway, here are three easy ways to green up your bathroom, whether it be half, full, tub, shower, kids, spa, guest or any other conglomeration of space:
Change Those Faucets!
Anymore, you can find water-conserving faucets for sinks, tubs, and showers just about anywhere you look. Most newer homes are equipped with low-flow faucet heads from the outset, but for the rest of us living in older homes (or just not-quite-renovated bathrooms), it’s amazing how much water is wasted by outdated fixtures. And there’s nothing green about wasting precious natural resources. Replacing water fixtures is incredibly simple and can be done in an afternoon, as long as you properly research the steps needed to make sure you don’t shoot water across the room.
Use Ultra-Absorbent Towels!
My first encounter with an ultra-absorbent towel was actually pretty much a gamble. My mom had seen some on sale at TJ Maxx and brought one home for me and my then very long, very water-retentive hair to test out. I didn’t have much faith in the capabilities of a rectangle of microfiber to cut my drying time in half, but I stand now a converted woman. I have three Aquis hair towels and they are AMAZING at absorbing excess water and drying my hair without me really having to do much at all. They also make body towels, hair turbans, headbands, spa flip flops, travel towels, body wraps, and all other kinds of fabulous.
How, might you ask, are these more green than regular towels? Easily, I’ll retort. Using a ultra-absorbent hair towel will cut down on the amount of time you use electronics such as blow dryers or other styling tools to achieve your signature coif, which saves energy and reduces your carbon footprint. AND microfiber isn’t recommended to be dried in a dryer, so once you wash these babies, you just hang them to dry (and they do, quickly) instead of running another cycle of your (or the laundromat’s) dryer and wasting even MORE energy on removing moisture from your towels. It’s a simple green two-fer!
I’ll be the first to admit that I’m guilty of leaving things such as hair dryers, flat irons, and night lights plugged in when not in use in the bathroom. It’s just so easy to leave your small beauty appliances all ready to go for the next day … but it’s racking up the dollar signs on your utility bill as well. Ever hear of vampire energy? Some of those items, when they have a “standby” mode as opposed to a switch that fully breaks the circuit, still use energy even when they’re not in use. Over time, and in conjunction with other vampire energy sucks, can contribute to 10% of your residential power consumption, and that’s when you’re not even using them. Also, if you have little ones or curious creatures in your home (as I do), it’s also so much safer to make it so little fingers or paws can’t accidentally turn on your curling iron into the shower curtain and burn down your house. A close encounter with a flat iron and a plastic bag taught me that lesson. So unplug them already! Besides, do you really need a night light on in the middle of the afternoon? I thought not.
Three easy and very cheap ways to make your bathing space a little more mother-nature friendly. But I want to know your bathroom green habits — how do you keep your bathing space as earth-friendly as possible? Let us know in the comments, and watch out for the next installment in our room-by-room series, where I’ll tackle one of the scarier places in a home (if you have it) — kids’ rooms.
Photo: Jeremy Levine Design