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Today’s guest post is from Margaret Everton of Calfinder’s Remodeling blog, on the subject of how to keep your bathroom clean, healthy, and above all green …

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With remodel costs averaging about $10,000, you want your bathroom to sustain in every way possible. But you may be wondering, as many homeowners do, how in the world you can “green” a bathroom without gutting it from the fixtures up.

The solutions are surprisingly simple.

Fresh, Green & Mildew-Free
Your bathroom has all the qualities that mold and mildew adore—close quarters, high humidity and poor ventilation. You want to keep it clean, but the last thing your family needs is a small bathroom fuming with toxic bleach.

Try these natural tips instead:

  • Open all bathroom windows after every shower.
  • Install an Energy Star bathroom fan for improved ventilation.
  • Clean the tub and shower once a week with plain, undiluted vinegar. Simply spray it on and let it dry—the naturally acidic qualities of vinegar make it an effective, yet safer alternative to keep mildew at bay.
  • To get rid of moldy odors, scrub your bathroom with baking soda and rinse.

Hand soap, toilet paper and toiletries can be greener as well. It’s hard to strike a balance between being more organic and getting rid of germs, but you can start by looking for bath items manufactured more responsibly: Greenlist, Meyer’s, and Seventh Generation products are all available at your local grocer. Let the bathroom be one of the places where you make responsible decisions—wherever possible.

Go Retro: Low-Flush Toilets
Your toilet’s flushing power matters. If you have a standard non-conserving toilet (3.5 gallon flush or greater), retrofit your toilet to save water.

How, exactly? You can take a streamlined route through a hardware professional, or do it yourself by filling a one-quart plastic bottle with water and placing it into your tank. Or two, if necessary. For a larger fix, replace the toilet with a low-flush model that can save you up to 17,500 gallons of water per year.

Repair, Replace & Rethink
Fix all leaks, tighten all loose faucets—or report the need to the landlord. Replace your shower curtain if it’s moldy-smelling or covered in residue, and consider a hemp or highly absorbent fabric.

Rethink your routine and turn unused water off (when lathering in the shower or brushing teeth), and ventilate the bathroom after showers and baths to keep the home free of mildew.

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Thanks, Margaret!

For more information about remodeling and maintaining good air quality bathrooms incorporating green practices, take a look at this article about choosing eco-friendly bathroom acccessory sets.

Cheers!

Rob.

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Cate Morgan-Harlow

Cate Morgan-Harlow is an all arounder, writing about how-to, DIY, and design with gusto. She is a shadowy figure with a mysterious past.