If you’re trying to reduce your waste, the bathroom is a great place to start! You can start by switching the products you use now to more sustainable ones. These zero waste bathroom swaps make it easy to switch to a low waste lifestyle without stress!
When I first started trying to live more sustainably, I saw a video from an influencer touring her zero waste bathroom. I was shocked even to imagine you could have a bathroom that didn’t produce any waste.
As an American, I grew up with bathrooms full of plastic bottles, disposable razor blades, and toothpaste tubes.
In the trashcan, you’d see dental floss, plastic packaging from whitening strips or toothpaste tubes, and more. The thought that you could literally have nothing in your bathroom trash can blew my mind!
Over the years, I’ve made gradual shifts to reduce my waste in the bathroom, and you can too!
Tips for a Zero Waste Bathroom
Especially if you’re new to living a zero waste lifestyle, start slow. If you try to change everything in your bathroom overnight, you’re going to get stressed out trying to try several new routines at the same time. Next thing you know, you’re back to buying the products you used before.
Finish your old products.
In this rush to have the picture-perfect sustainable bathroom, many of us want to toss our old shampoo bottles for a bar of soap. It’s actually better to use what you have first and then look for a sustainable alternative. (This make it way less overwhelming and cheaper, too).
Start with one swap. Think about which items are running low. Instead of just buying the same product you used before, look for an eco-friendly alternative.
Rethink your budget. It’s disappointing that zero-waste products often cost more than single-use items, but they do. It’s important to set a budget so you don’t overspend, but you should also rethink how much you’re willing to spend on items.
We’re used to bottles of shampoo costing $5 and $1 cotton swabs. However, these cheap products are cheap for a reason and are other made with dangerous labor practices and harmful ingredients. We need to get used to paying a price that matches what the products are actually worth, but there are always multiple options to consider. Don’t blow your budget on eco friendly products!
Think about longevity. The next time you buy an item for your bathroom, think about how long it will last. For example, my favorite shampoo bars cost more than a bottle of shampoo, but last way longer. A reusable safety razor can last for decades, but will cost a lot more than a plastic one.
Try some DIYs. Especially if you’re on a tight budget or don’t want to overspend, get hands-on. There are lots of DIY recipes to replace conventional products.
Where to Shop for Zero Waste Bathroom Products
Especially if you’re new to sustainable living, it can be hard to know where to actually buy eco friendly products. Many beginners end up falling for greenwashing, buying products that look sustainable but actually aren’t.
Although there are so many wonderful eco friendly companies out there making great products, I find it much easier to shop at just one store instead of ordering from ten different brands.
Fortunately, EarthHero makes it so easy to find the right eco friendly products for any budget. It’s my favorite zero waste shop and the first place I check for new skincare products, reusable items, and more.
Zero Waste Bathroom Swaps
Now that you know what to look for and my favorite place to shop, let’s jump into those zero waste bathroom swaps! These simple swaps make it so easy to set up your zero waste bathroom gradually without breaking the bank.
Non-Toxic & Plastic Free Personal Care Products
I’m a big advocate for both non-toxic and plastic-free items. It’s great to stop buying plastic packaging, but what about the item inside? The best zero waste bathroom swaps are safe for you and the environment and are either package free or low waste.
Shampoo and conditioner bars
There are so many different types of zero waste shampoos, including refillable bottles, but I’m a big fan of shampoo and conditioner bars.
There are so many brands out there and you can easily find bars that work for different hair types. Plus, you can often buy these bars without packaging or with plastic-free packaging, like paper boxes.
After trying several brands, my all-time favorite shampoo bars are from Good Juju. They’re safely scented with essential oils and and worked so well on my flaky, curly hair.
Some other popular options include:
Choose a multi-tasking product like castile soap that you can use instead of liquid soap, body wash, shaving cream, face wash, and more.
Dr. Bronner’s castile soap does come in a plastic bottle, but it’s a safe plastic that’s easy to recycle. Plus, you can often refill your container at your local bulk store.
For a totally plastic-free option, consider bar soap. Soap bars cost just a few dollars and will last for a long time!
Two quick tips about replacing everything with castile soap:
- If you like to use it in your bubble bath, skip the Epsom salts or magnesium flakes. They react with the soap to make soap scum! Choose a bath oil or other soap instead.
- Missing your favorite body scrubs? Keep a jar of this nourishing vanilla sugar scrub in the shower instead.
Zero waste deodorant
So many great natural deodorant options are available to simplify your daily routine! You’ll never need to buy plastic tubes again.
You can make your own deodorant or purchase some in refillable packaging, cardboard tubes, or even glass jars.
After trying several brands, my husband and I absolutely swear by this magnesium-based deodorant. It comes packaged in a paper tube and is seriously effective against body odor.
Some other great plastic-free deodorants include:
Zero waste skincare
Swap out your conventional face cream and serums with zero waste beauty products. Especially if you have specific skin conditions, you may need to compromise on your packaging just slightly to get products that work for you.
Although most of us aspire to have completely zero waste skincare, it’s okay if you have to use something else. This isn’t about perfection and your sustainable lifestyle will be much easier if you can do what’s right for you.
EarthHero has some amazing skincare options available to get you started, like:
Eco Friendly Cosmetic Products
Fortunately, more and more companies are making cosmetic products out of natural ingredients. Of course, you don’t have to use makeup at all but if you want to, many options are available!
My favorite place to look for these products is on EarthHero because they have so many options and you can see reviews for each one.
Eco Friendly Toothpaste
Skip the plastic packaging by buying toothpaste in recyclable packaging. Some zero waste toothpaste options include:
There are even sustainable mouthwash options to help you avoid those giant plastic bottles, like these mouthwash bits from Bite.
Since most bandaids are made from plastic, stash some compostable bandages in your medicine cupboard for an eco-friendly alternative.
DIY Poo Pourri
Yes, you can keep using your favorite no-poo spray without using fragrance! Make this easy DIY toilet spray using your favorite essential oils.
Let’s dig into the easy swaps you can make to reduce the waste in your zero-waste bathroom! These reusable items will outlast the disposable ones so you can reduce your waste overnight.
Replace plastic toothbrushes with compostable bamboo toothbrushes made with biodegradable bamboo handles. There are even bamboo electric toothbrushes if you need that as an option.
Biodegradable Dental Floss
Since most floss is coated in plastic and some even contains forever chemicals, natural floss is a great option.
Reusable facial rounds
Choose reusable cotton rounds instead of cotton balls to remove makeup. These reusable cloths will help you avoid makeup wipes, which are not biodegradable and contribute to pollution.
Menstrual Cups & Cloth Pads
These reusable hygiene products will help you divert waste from the landfill every month.
Choose mentustral cups made from silicone or natural rubber.
You can either choose from cloth pads or period underwear. Be sure to look for PFAS-free options to avoid carcinogens and endocrine disruptors.
Stainless Steel Safety Razor
Thanks to some great design, modern safety razors are much safer and easier to use than past ones. This is an easy way to avoid plastic disposable razors and reduce your waste.
Look for brands like Leaf that have a pivoting head so you can shave without nicks and cuts.
Although your new safety razor is an investment, it will last for decades. You’ll need to replace the razor blades, which are also recyclable!
Did you know you can actually buy a reusable ear swab? If you’re not ready to deal with your ear wax up close and personal, buy biodegradable cotton swabs made from paper and organic cotton.
There’s no need to rush out and replace perfectly good brushes. However, when you do need a new hair brush, body brush, or makeup brushes, look for ones made with natural fibers and real wood, like these options:
Hair Ties & Clips
Did you know most hair ties are not biodegradable and are made from petroleum products? They can often end up in our local waterways, and be so harmful to local wildlife.
Biodegradable plastic free hair-ties and scrunchies are a much safer option. Reusable metal hair clips will last even longer and are a great alternative.
Instead of plastic loofahs and body scrubbers, use reusable washcloths or actual loofah sponges that can go into the compost bin when you’re done with them!
Ecofriendly Toilet Paper
Toilet paper is the main disposable product you’ll need to deal with in the bathroom. There are so many options available and it can be really overwhelming!
HOW TO CHOOSE THE BEST ECO FRIENDLY TOILET PAPER
Recycled Content Toilet Paper is the most eco-friendly option available as it reuses existing paper. There is concern about BPA in recycled toilet paper due to items like receipt paper being blending up in the pulp, so keep that in mind.
However, most recycled toilet paper is incredibly inexpensive although it almost always comes packaged in a plastic bag. The best rated recycled toilet paper comes from Who Gives a Crap, who does wrap each roll in paper for a plastic-free toilet paper, except the price per roll is quite high.
Bamboo Toilet Paper is often lauded as the best type of zero waste toilet paper because bamboo grows quickly and therolls usually come packaged in paper. However, most of this toilet paper is produced in China and has a long trip to get to the US. Plus, the price is quite high.
These brands make the most ecofriendly bamboo toilet paper. The rating refers to the National Resource Defense Council’s grade for sustainability.
Zero Waste Bathroom Cleaning Products
Although there’s a lot that can be said about zero waste cleaning and I’ve already created a whole post about my zero waste bathroom cleaning routine, it’s worth repeating!
Our conventional cleaning products aren’t good for us or the environment.
Start with choosing a cleaning concentrate that you can use to clean every inch of your home. I prefer to use Sal Suds, which is a detergent made by Dr. Bronner’s. It’s great for cleaning when you have hard water and it’s the all-in-one cleaner I use across my whole house.
Plus, it’s incredibly inexpensive per use. One 16 oz glass bottle refill costs me just 13 cents! Sal Suds is also entirely biodegradable, safe for gray water, and naturally scented with essential oils.
Instead of buying plastic-packaging spray bottles of shower cleaner, make your own citrus vinegar spray! Just soak lemon peels in white vinegar for two weeks and then spray as needed.
Vinegar will naturally break down soap scum and the lemon peels make it smell a lot more pleasant. You can use it every day as a daily shower cleaner or just pray when you need to clean.
I also recommend keeping a squeegee in your shower to wipe down your shower doors after each use. Since we have hard water, this one habit helps us keep the shower doors looking nice without having to use harsh cleaners.
I make my own DIY toilet cleaner out of baking soda and citric acid. You can also use baking soda and vinegar or just Sal Suds!
For those gross spots like your toilet seat, you do need a safe disinfectant. Hydrogen peroxide is a great, affordable option that really works! Just squirt some hydrogen peroxide onto a cleaning rag and wipe down your toilet. Let the peroxide dry for 3-5 minutes and go on with your day.
By using cleaning rags, you’ll also be avoiding Lysol wipes and paper towels.
Learn more about my favorite eco-friendly cleaning swaps here.
Don’t bother with ecofriendly glass cleaners; you can clean windows, mirrors, and glass with just water! Although I typically don’t recommend microfiber because it can get into waterways, microfiber glass cleaning cloths will help you avoid buying so many plastic bottles of spray cleaners.
Just wipe down your surface with a damp cotton rag then buff with the microfiber glass polishing cloth. I use the same cloth to polish my stove, fridge, oven, sliding doors, windows, bathroom mirrors, and more.
Did you know there are wooden toilet brushes and scrub brushes? These are a great option to reduce your plastic use, but tend to cost more than the cheap brushes at Target or Walmart.
The best tip is to use the one you have for as long as you can, then invest in a higher-quality biodegradable brush when it’s time to replace your old one.
Try to avoid those caustic drain cleaners as much as possible. Fortunately, there are a few products that can really help!
First, install a sink mushroom. They look funny, but especially if you have long hair or shave, they’ll help avoid clogs. Just be sure to clean the sink mushroom once every week or two to avoid build-up. I recommend buying a stainless steel one as the plastic ones degrade over time.
You can also add a drain cover in the shower to collect hair, which can be added to your compost.
Pour boiling water down your sink drains at least once per month. If you notice slow draining, sprinkle baking soda and vinegar and let those work for 5-10 minutes before flushing with boiling water.
Tips to Reduce Your Waste in the Bathroom
Beyond these zero waste bathroom swaps, you can make a few changes to make your bathroom more efficient.
- Choose low-flow water features. Install a low flow showerhead or toilet. You can also fill a plastic half-gallon container with water and place it in your toilet tank for a DIY low flow toilet.
- Use a bidet. If you want to make an even greater impact, a zero waste toilet often includes a bidet! Simply use water to clean instead of relying on toilet paper.
- Cut open tubes & containers. There’s a lot of lotion and toothpaste hiding in those plastic tubes! Cut them open to use every speck before you clean and recycle the containers.
- Sanitize makeup. Spray rubbing alcohol over eyeshadows, blush, and brushes to kill germs.
- Ditch the plastic. When at all possible, choose items packaged in paper, metal, or glass.
- Visit your local bulk store. You can often refill your own containers with hand soap, body wash, shampoo, conditioner and more.
Check out Terracycle
For any items you purchase that aren’t plastic-free, take a look at the free recycling programs on Terracycle! Many companies are now paying to properly recycle their packaging, including some brands that will surprise you.
Decorate Your Bathroom Without Waste
Want to decorate your zero waste bathroom to make it welcoming and inviting? Try these simple ideas to decorate your bathroom without so much waste.
- Shop used first. If you are looking for a bathroom caddy or artwork, check Facebook Marketplace, your Buy Nothing group, or your local thrift store first.
- Rethink your trash can. Since you won’t be making nearly as much waste, turn your trash can into a recycling bin for toilet paper tubes and other compostable packaging.
- Be thoughtful about fabrics. If you ever need to replace fabrics in your bathroom, like towels or bath mats, look for eco-friendly fabrics like organic cotton, bamboo, or hemp.
- Add plants. Nothing makes a bathroom feel light and airy like real plants. Plus, many plants love the heat and moisture in the bathroom and they’ll help purify the air, too.
- Choose natural air fresheners. Since you spent so much time switching to nontoxic and ecofriendly products, switch to a reed diffuser instead of those chemical-laden plug-ins.
- Upgrade your candles. For a truly relaxing bubble bath, light zero waste candles like these options.
Did you find some helpful zero waste bathroom swaps?
I’d love to know if this list was helpful! Did you find any helpful swaps or do you have any products you want to add to the list? Share them below!