How to Make Your Shower More Eco-Friendly
Showering is a sacred time for many of us. It’s not just something we do to get clean — it’s also a relaxing activity that helps us wake up in the morning or unwind after a long day. But have you ever stopped to consider the effects your daily shower has on the environment? From the duration of your shower to the products you use to get squeaky clean, your shower habits could be harmful to your skin, your hair and the planet.
An earth-friendly shower routine can mean a lighter ecological footprint, healthier hair and glowing skin. What’s not to love? If you’re looking for ways to make your shower more eco-friendly, here are a few ideas to get your started.
Switch to shampoo and conditioner bars.
Shampoos and conditioners often come in unnecessary plastic packaging that contributes to our ever-growing plastic waste crisis. Plus, traditional hair care products usually contain harmful ingredients that can make hair look dull and dehydrated. Enter shampoo and conditioner bars. Made from plant-based ingredients and packaged like a bar of soap, these small-but-mighty bars are great for your hair and the planet. To ensure that your shampoo and conditioner bars last as long as possible, store them on a wooden soap dish.
Reduce your shower time.
Did you know that Americans use more than one trillion gallons of water per year just for showering? According to the Environmental Protection Agency, we could collectively save 170 billion gallons annually if each person reduced their shower time by one minute.
Seems doable, doesn’t it? One way to effectively shorten your shower time is by reducing the number of activities you do in the shower. For instance, if you normally brush your teeth in the shower, you can shave two minutes off your shower time by brushing at the sink instead.
Take a navy shower.
Another way to drastically reduce your water intake is by taking a so-called navy shower. Invented by midshipmen who had limited water supply at sea, this showering method involves getting yourself wet and then turning the shower off while you lather up before rinsing off. Although navy showers might not be doable for everyone, they’re undeniably effective at reducing water use. Just think how much you’ll save on your utilities each year!
Install a low-flow shower head.
If you find it difficult to cut the duration of your showers, try installing a low-flow shower head. Like the name suggests, low-flow shower heads decrease the flow rate of the water, so you use less water and energy during your shower.
Most shower heads today have a flow rate of 2.5 gallons per minute, whereas low-flow shower heads have flow rates of two gallons or less. Although they help conserve more water and energy, they’re designed in a way that makes you feel like you’re getting the same water pressure.
Keep water temperature in-check.
Hot showers may feel great in the moment, but they’re not helping the planet — or your skin, for that matter. For one thing, heating the water takes more energy, which increases your carbon footprint.
What’s more, taking a hot shower can make your skin and hair dehydrated by stripping the natural oils from your skin and scalp. So if you want to make your skin, your hair and the planet happier, stick to lukewarm showers.
Save water while waiting for the water to warm up.
Maybe it’s been a long day and you need to take a hot shower. Totally understandable! But like most people, you probably wait until the water is warm before you step into the shower. That’s a lot of water going down the drain, and you’re not even in the shower yet!
Instead of letting that water go to waste, use a bucket to catch the excess water. You can reuse this water for other things, such as watering plants, washing your car, mopping vinyl sheet floors or flushing the toilet.
Choose sustainable and zero-waste products.
Trying to make your shower more eco-friendly is a great first step to living a more sustainable lifestyle. But why stop at your shower? Make your entire bathroom more sustainable by choosing products that are good for the environment. For instance, if you shave, invest in a safety razor that only requires removable blades. If you use disposable cotton rounds to apply toner, switch to reusable cotton rounds that you can pop in the wash.
Ditch your PVC shower curtain.
Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plastic, one of the most environmentally damaging plastics, is lurking in a wide range of products, including vinyl shower curtains. PVC is notoriously difficult to recycle and releases more toxins than any other type of plastic, according to the Center for Health, Environment & Justice. Give your bathroom an eco-friendly upgrade by choosing a shower curtain made from organic cotton or hemp.
Use an earth-friendly sponge.
Still using a plastic sponge to clean your skin in the shower? Swap it for an earth-friendly alternative, such as a natural loofah. Unlike traditional plastic sponges, natural loofahs are made with ingredients that are good for your skin and the planet. The best part? You can grow your own loofah at home so you’ll never need to buy one again.
Upgrade to an Earth-Friendly Shower Routine
If you love taking showers, making any kind of change to your routine can seem daunting. Just remember: You don’t need to make all of these changes at once. Start small by making one or two tweaks to your daily showering habits. The planet will thank you for it!