6 Quick Tips for a Greener Bathroom
Tip 1: Use Safe Cleaners
If you're going to green your bathroom, don't cancel everything out by using harsh chemicals to clean it. Conventional cleaners often contain strong artificial fragrances and ammonia, a highly volatile chemical that can irritate your eyes and lungs and cause skin rashes. To keep harmful chemicals from polluting your indoor air-and contaminating water once a product goes down the drain-scrub with biodegradable, nontoxic cleaners.
Tip 2: Change Your Air Fresheners
Most room sprays simply mask bad smells, so crack open a window when you want to freshen up your bathroom air.
Tip 3: Buy Organic Cotton Bath Linens
Conventionally grown cotton uses more than 10 percent of the world's pesticides, according to the Organic Trade Association. Organic cotton towels help keep chemicals out of the air and water.
Tip 4: Switch to Non-Vinyl Shower Curtains
Vinyl (PVC) shower curtains are inexpensive and mildew resistant, but they can release dioxin, a known carcinogen. And they decompose slowly, so discarded ones either clog landfills or are burned, which releases even more chemicals. Nylon and polyester curtains are less toxic than vinyl, but they're made from nonrenewable resources, and they aren't biodegradable. Fortunately, curtains made with durable natural materials like linen and organic cotton are available. And glass doors are more likely to keep your shower watertight. They're usually less than $100, and they protect the bathroom from leaks.
Tip 5: Choose Natural-Fiber Bath Mats
Many bath mats have PVC backing. Look for natural-fiber products like a cork, organic cotton, or bamboo.
Tip 6: Install A Water Filter
Chlorine is often added as a disinfectant to the water you drink and shower with, a process that can form trihalomethanes, chemical by-products that may harm bladder health. A study published last year in the American Journal of Epidemiology linked an increased risk of bladder cancer to long-term exposure to trihalomethanes in chlorinated water. While there's no proof that showering with chlorinated water causes bladder cancer, according to the National Cancer Institute, researchers are exploring the subject. I