Eco-friendly Updates for a Tired Old Bathroom, Part 1

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Many of us have them…ugly, outdated bathrooms that oftentimes include damaged or disintegrating components.  When it’s time to give your bathroom a face lift, there are several things that can be done to bring your bath into the 21st century. Some ideas are easy and inexpensive to implement, while others are a bit more involved.

Easy, Green Fixes:

  • Change the whole look and feel of the room with a fresh coat of paint on the walls and/or cabinets (if they’re in good shape).  Be sure to use a non-toxic paint that doesn’t contain harmful VOCs (volatile organic compounds).
  • Donate those old, ragged towels to your local animal shelter and buy new, organic cotton, hemp or bamboo towels in neutrals or colors that coordinate with your new color scheme.  Shower curtains are available in organic cotton and hemp as well.  Machine-washable shower curtain liners are also good to have since they do not off-gas chemicals like plastic liners.
  • Change out the hardware on your cabinetry and towel bars.  Another option is to spray paint the existing hardware in an updated metallic finish.  Here are some eco-friendly options for recycled glass and metal hardware.
  • Add new organic cotton or hemp curtains or natural woven shades to your windows.
  • Light a few beeswax or soy-based candles to provide a delicately-scented and calming mood during your bathtime.  Be sure not to blow them out, but rather extinguish them, so as to not compromise good indoor air quality.
  • Choose soaps and personal care & cleaning products made from natural ingredients to minimize your exposure to harmful chemicals.
  • Switch out your old light fixtures for stylish Energy Star rated ones whose finish matches any hardware in the new space.  They can be found in hardware stores, lighting shops and through online retailers.  Change your energy-wasting incandescent lightbulbs to energy-saving compact fluorescents (CFLs) or super efficient light-emitting diode bulbs (LEDs).
  • To save water:  Add inexpensive, water-conserving aerators to your sink faucet. A low-flow showerhead or dual-flush toilet will perform well and use less water than their conventional counterparts.  If your toilet was made before1980 (the date is stamped in the tank), it uses 5-7 gallons of water per flush (gpf)!  Those between 1980-1993 use 3.5 gpf; and those made since 1994 use 1.6 gpf.  For pre-1994 toilets, you can add a quart-sized jug to your tank to displace and save some water used for flushing.
  • Remember to donate your used building materials and decorative accessories to your local thrift shop or used building supply store, like Habitat for Humanity’s ReStores.

Thanks to acopperpenny for her pic of an outdated bath

Tag(s): Greening the Home, Kitchens And Baths


2 Responses to “Eco-friendly Updates for a Tired Old Bathroom, Part 1”

  1. Yanic A. on April 17th, 2009 5:23 am

    Great ideas… we’ve already implemented some of those quick fixes since we rent so can’t make huge changes.

    Great idea about donating towels to the animal shelters! Thanks for the tip!


  2. Lauren Flannery on May 18th, 2013 4:31 am

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