How to green your bathroom

When it’s time to replace the usual suspects, make healthier choices––for you and the planet

Healthy bathroom

Photo by Jonathan Feldman and Lisa Lougee

Green it up

Believe it or not, the one room of the home devoted to cleanliness can often be filled with unhealthy toxins–not so fresh.

Give yours an eco-upgrade with these tips for greening your bathroom from the bottom up.

Beech cellulose towels

Photo by Jeffery Cross


When your old ones wear out, go with sustainable materials and organic cottons. Pesticides used in producing conventionally grown cottons compromise the health of people working in the industry.

Millennium towels from Branch, made of beech cellulose from sustainably managed forests ($16–$78).

Healthy hand soap

Photo by E. Spencer Toy


Select plant-based products. Avoid those containing parabens or petroleum-based scents, which can exacerbate allergic reactions. Also, to limit packaging waste, use products that offer refills.

Ginger Pomelo Liquid Hand Soap and Hand Soap Refill by the Caldrea Company ($11 for 11 oz., $20 for 32-oz. refill).

Tissue box

Photo by Jeffery Cross


Greenpeace recommends using tissue and toilet paper containing 100 percent recycled content (and at least 50 percent post-consumer), bleached without toxic chlorine compounds.

Tissue box: If you need to replace a tissue box, pick one made of renewable bamboo ($24; Boomba by Umbra;

Cotton shower curtain

Photo by Jeffery Cross


Choose natural materials and polyvinyl chloride-free plastics instead of plastic shower curtains or tub/shower mats; they often contain PVC plastic, which can release carcinogenic phthalates.

Cameron organic-cotton matelassé shower curtain from Pottery Barn; use with Pottery Barn’s phthalate-free EVA vinyl shower curtain liner (curtain, $99; liner, $12).

Teak bath mat

Photo by Jeffery Cross


Water-saving tip: Collect your warm-up water in a small bucket. A minute’s worth means a couple of gallons for your garden.

Teak tub mat made from off-cuttings reclaimed from furniture manu­facturing, from VivaTerra ($69).

Potted houseplant

Photo by Thomas J. Story

Add fresh air

Along with opening a window for natural ventilation, station a houseplant sinkside to help filter the air.

According to a NASA report, some of the best air-cleaning houseplants are snake plants (pictured), spider plants, English ivy, and small-leafed rubber plants.

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