non packaged soap bars

5 easy sustainable bathroom swaps

30 Mar 23 4 minute read

Bathroom cupboard bursting at the seams? Products piled high on ledges? 

From out of date sun cream to unused beauty products and, let's be honest, at least one or two travel size shampoo bottles nabbed from your last hotel stay.

The bathroom might be one of the smallest rooms in the house but it’s certainly punching above its weight when it comes to waste generated.

Read on for 5 easy sustainable swaps to keep your bathroom clean, tidy and more environmentally friendly...

Lotions and potions

When it comes to hair care, years of dying, bleaching and heat damage have left most of us with bathroom cabinets so jam-packed with lotions and potions that even Professor Snape would be proud.

Not only do they take up space but also they create a lot of waste - have you ever really thought about what happens to all of those bottles, tubs and sachets once you’re done with them? 

There is an alternative, and it comes in the form of packaging-free shampoo, conditioner and soap bars.

Just lather them up in your hands then use in the same way you would with soap from out of a bottle. And, when you get to the end of the bar there’s nothing to chuck away. Result.

Worried about getting the right product for your hair or skin type? Never fear, they come in about as many varieties as their packaging enveloped cousins.

To start with you might find there’s a bit of trial and error in finding the right product to suit you, but discovering is part of the fun.

For those already using them, try a multitasking bar that works for face, hair and body for bonus ‘green points’. It’ll save you from trying to balance all of those soap dishes on the edge of the bath too.

Makeup remover

If you average one makeup wipe a day in a pack of 30, that’s 12 packs of wipes a year.

They may not break the bank money-wise, but the cost to the environment goes much deeper as clog up sewers, wash up on beaches and pile up in landfill sites.

Reusable makeup removers can be as handy and convenient as throw away wipes. They can be made from a variety of fabrics or even crocheted (try this tutorial for making your own).

Team with a bar of packaging-free face soap and your nightly routine goes waste-free, then just pop into the washing machine for a freshen up.

Have a water-saving shower

When you think about cutting down on waste you probably think about the importance of reducing packaging and products, but water use makes up 6% of UK greenhouse gas emissions making it just as important. 

Showering uses the most amount of water at home, cutting your shower time by two minutes can save over 5,000 litres of water each year.

Try using a timer or singing along to your favourite shower karaoke song to keep your time in check. Or freshen up with a quick wash and some dry shampoo instead of showering every day.

Photo of a person washing their hands with soap

Squeaky clean

As household chores go, cleaning the bathroom has to be one of the least fun. It can be scary enough to think about what’s lurking down the plughole or under the toilet seat.

But, when you start to think about the damaging effects your cleaning products might be having on the environment - from the packaging to chemical-filled formulas - it can turn into a full-blown horror story for sustainability.  

DIY cleaning products are easy to make, create minimal waste, cut down on household pollution and give you more space in your cleaning cupboard.

Battle of the bath toys

If you’ve got little ones, you’ll know that bathtime can become a bit of a battleground.

Bathroom toys are great for keeping kids occupied on fun (and minds off the dreaded hair washing) but can often get mouldy in difficult to clean places. 

Not to mention they take up a lot of space, and no one wants to stand on a plastic fish at 6 o’clock in the morning. Unless, of course, you want to save on your morning cuppa because you’ll definitely be awake after that. 

The fun doesn’t have to stop just because your bathroom’s not overflowing with toys. Raid the kitchen for things like measuring cups, colanders, sponges and empty plastic bottles and let imaginative minds do the rest.

Just be sure to check anything you find for sharp edges or parts that little fingers could get into. 

What can you do?

  1. Swap bottled products for shampoo, conditioner and soap bars.

  2. Try reusable makeup wipes.

  3. Cut down your shower time to save water.

  4. Make your own homemade cleaning products.

  5. Get creative with bathtime toys by raiding the kitchen for measuring cups, colanders, sponges and empty plastic bottles.