I've managed to cut the costs in my bathroom by over $1000 a year (true story!). By switching out your cleaning products, personal products and cosmetics for DIY natural alternatives, you save money and expose your family to fewer chemicals. Add to that your energy-efficient and water-saving savvy and you get a greener, healthier home.
Appliances on standby mode account for up to 10 per cent of your energy bill. I use a power bar with a switch which means I can turn all the appliances off with a flick of a switch. It did take me some time to get accustomed to turning the power bar off, but it's just part of my routine now.
I switched my faucet out for a low-flow one and replaced my toilet with one that was more efficient. If you don't have an efficient toilet, pop a full water bottle in the tank to reduce the amount you use for every flush.
I put a plastic bin in the shower when I am waiting for the water to warm. I then utilize the waste water for my indoor plants.
As a lazy cleaner, I've been partial to products that offer to do the cleaning for me. The trouble is, these cleaners are toxic to you and your family. Here are natural alternatives to all your bathroom cleaners that work surprisingly well.
Surface Cleaner: Dust surfaces with baking soda and wipe down with a sponge. For stubborn stains and dirt, add a couple of drops of lemon juice or white vinegar. White vinegar and baking soda are excellent disinfectants.
Clogged drains: Pour down a 1/4 cup of baking soda followed by hot water and voila! It's clear. Pour 1/4 cup of baking soda down your drains periodically to ensure that they stay clean.
Toilet Bowl Cleaner: Pour 1/4 cup borax or baking soda and 1 cup vinegar into the bowl. Leave it for 15 minutes , scrub with a toilet brush, and flush.
Windows and Mirrors: In a spray bottle, mix 1 part vinegar to 3 parts water. Spray on and wipe with a soft, dry cloth.
Mold and Mildew: Mix equal parts borax and vinegar to make a paste. Use a small brush to scrub affected area with the paste. Leave to sit for an hour and rinse.
Air Fresheners: Most air fresheners don't freshen air. They just add a toxic chemical soup to your already dodgy indoor air. Here are some natural fresheners which will have your home smelling great without the chemicals.
Did you know that all you need to make the best shampoo and conditioner are baking soda and apple cider vinegar? Get the full tutorial here.
One of my biggest expenses every month was moisturizer. I would spend upwards of $50 in the pursuit of eternal youth, only to discover that we are far better off using natural ingredients. That's why I make my own moisturizer now. Get a recipe that suits your skin here.
Deodorant is perhaps one of the personal care products that utilizes the most harmful chemicals. That's why I make my own deodorant and it works! Just try it, I swear you will never go back. Get the recipe here.
You can replace just about everything in your makeup bag with a natural alternative. Here are recipes for lipstick, mascara, and eye shadow!
And that is the story of how I saved a bunch of money in my bathroom. Don't feel like you have to adopt all of these measures, just add one each month. Your home will be healthier with fewer chemicals while you save wads of cash.
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If there are more toothbrushes by your sink than there are people in your home, it's time for a cull. Spare brushes for travel - or for house guests - can be stored out of reach in a basket or box, out of sight. Likewise, if your current toothbrush looks anything like this picture, get rid of it immediately and invest in a new one. The British Dental Health Foundation states that once your toothbrush filaments are frayed your brush is no longer doing its job.
In the bathroom bin? Yes. With your child's craft supplies? Yes. Languishing in the bathroom, in full view? No.
From half-empty bottles of products to out-of-date lotions and potions, it doesn't take long for a bathroom cabinet to accumulate junk. If you can't be bothered to squeeze out that last bit of shampoo or toothpaste, don't just move onto the new one and leave it there: chuck it in the bin (along with anything that is past its use-by date or that you haven't used for six months).
Whoever decided women's razors should be pretty pastel colours clearly wasn't a feminist. They also hadn't thought about the effects of mildew. Rusty blades and a mildewed handle are a sure sign it's time to trade in your shaving companion for a newer model.
Leaving damp towels lying around the bathroom will not only make the place look a mess, it could contribute to the onset of damp on the walls and ceiling - and lead to the spread of smelly bacteria on your towels. Dry them on a heated towel rail, in an airing cupboard or near a radiator as soon as you've used them.
Check the use-by dates on your creams and pills at regular intervals. If they're cluttering up your bathroom cabinet, buy a first-aid box where it's easier to rummage through and find what you need without knocking things off the shelf.
If you like to keep make-up in the bathroom, make sure it's hidden away in a cabinet or sealed box to avoid your brushes getting damp. Make-up has a surprisingly short shelf life, so try to keep track of how long you've had your products. Mascara and make-up sponges should be thrown out after just six months; lipsticks, lip liners, eye liners and brow pencils last around a year; foundation, powder, blusher and eyeshadow last up to two years.
Used bathroom cleaning cloths and sponges are unsurprisingly a breeding ground for germs and bacteria so change them every week - and keep them well-hidden in a cupboard. Domestic goddess, A Thrifty Mrs recommends the following cleaning kit to keep your bathroom sparkling.
We all know that a build-up of hair products isn't good for your hair - well, it isn't good for your bathroom serenity either. One strong-hold gel spray (used once for Halloween party); one serum (bit left in bottom but can't get it out - damnit); one leave-in conditioning spray (empty: left it in there to remind you to get another one), etc... If this sounds familiar, be ruthless and pare it back to the products you really need.
Dusting powder, bath cubes, rose-scented talc, novelty soaps... if you have a decade's worth of Great Aunt Maude's Christmas gifts clogging up your bathroom, face facts: you're never going to use them (and half of them are probably out-of-date). What she doesn't know and all that.
Follow Nikki Fotheringham on Twitter: www.twitter.com/greenmoxie