A Greener Bathroom

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A Greener Bathroom

The materials and finishes you choose for your interior have a big impact on the air quality inside your home. Another important consideration when making selections is the amount of energy required to transport the materials from where they are created to your region.

When remodeling your bathroom, consider picking easy-to-clean, low-maintenance and durable materials that are made locally from recycled materials. Weigh the pros and cons of different possibilities.

Take into account the distance from which the material would travel before determining whether to purchase it. For example, marble, slate and natural stone are natural products and, because of that, they do not release toxic chemicals into the air, or off-gas. However, some homeowners choose not to employ them because they are quarried from the earth, a destructive process that includes blasting, cutting or digging a hole in the ground. Transporting marble or stone from as far away as Italy or Brazil and slate from India leads to the release of many fossil fuels into the atmosphere and has a negative effect upon the environment.

For cabinets and substrates under countertops, consider choosing formaldehyde-free wood and low-volatile organic compound (VOC) materials. Steer clear of chipboard, exterior-grade plywood, particleboard and medium-density fiberboard (MDF). For cabinetry, consider going with certified wood products from sustainable sources. These include maples, rather than exotic lumber from locations such as rainforests. Cabinet finishes should have the lowest VOC content possible.

When making remodeling decisions for your bathroom, remember that selecting greener materials and finishes can help protect the environment—both outside and inside your home.
 
 

Natural Selections

  • Use recycled materials in ceramic and glass tiles and countertops.
  • Use natural linoleum as a finish. It comes from natural products, including linseed oil and jute.
  • Limit grout use by employing larger, ceramic tiles. Sheet linoleum is a positive choice because it lacks cracks.
  • Avoid using wallpaper in the bathroom where it can trap moisture and encourage mold to grow.

Green Cleaning Ideas

  • Create a mildew and mold inhibitor with 4 teaspoons Borax, ¾ cup white vinegar and enough hot water to fill a 32-ounce spray bottle. Pour the contents into a bottle and shake it to mix the ingredients. Spray this on surfaces, including counters, sinks, faucets and the toilet lid and seat, and then wipe the cleaner off. In addition, homeowners can add borax to laundry to disinfect and deodorize.
  • Make a scrub for cleaning areas with 1 cup baking soda and ¼ cup Borax. Add a few drops of lavender, tea tree or pine oil to scrub sinks and the insides of toilets, in addition to showers. It requires heavy rinsing, so avoid using it on counters.
  • Leave out a container of dry baking soda to absorb odors.
  • You can also sprinkle baking soda on your carpet, leave it overnight, and then vacuum it up in the morning to eliminate odors.
  • Sprinkle a cup of Borax in the toilet overnight to clean the toilet bowl.

 

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