Shower with Purpose: Zero Waste Products for a Clean Conscience
Updated: Feb 9
The bathroom can be a very wasteful place but luckily, most wasteful parts are easily swapped like switching to a bamboo toothbrush and tooth tablets, using reusable cotton rounds, and switching to a menstrual cup the shower itself can also be an extremely wasteful place. So here you can find lots of tips and tricks to make your shower routine more sustainable.
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Zero Waste Shower Tips
How often to Shower
The only people who recommend showering daily are soap and shampoo manufacturers but you don’t need to shower that often. Did you know that there are people there who shower 3 times per day… I shower only 2 times per week and I plan my workouts around them. After a run, I don’t always shower, but I wash my body with a wet cloth to remove the sweat from my body and then I am good to go for the day. The same I do every morning, use a washcloth on my body to clean myself to prevent showering too often.
According to dermatologists most of us shower way too often which isn’t great for our skin (or the environment). How often you need to shower depends on what kind of work you do. A cook or a painter would probably shower more often compared to someone working in an office all day. Also where you live will have an impact on how often you shower. If you live in the tropics or somewhere else hot, you would want to shower more often than someone like me who lives in the Netherlands (like me). So skip a shower more often whenever possible as it is not only better for your skin but also for the environment.
How long to shower?
A long shower can be very nice and relaxing, I know but it is very wasteful and completely unnecessary. Dermatologists recommend a shower that is 5 - 10 minutes long and focuses on the dirtiest parts of your body, meaning cleaning feet, armpits, and private parts. If you also want to wash your hair you might need closer to 10 minutes in the shower as I know washing and conditioning long hair can take a lot of time but keep in mind that the longer you are in the shower, the more the water will dry out your skin. Therefore, is recommended to moisturize your skin directly after showering. So, a shorter shower not only saves you lots of water but is also better for your skin.
I love a hot shower especially when my muscles are sore but again it is not very good for our skin. The hotter, the water you are showering in, the more the natural oils that are present in your skin, will be stripped from your body which will result in itchy dry skin. Not only will your skin suffer from hot showers, but it also requires more energy compared to cold to warm showers. So, shower at a lower temperature.
Zero Waste Shower products
Did you know that the average shampoo in a bottle has 80 percent to 90 percent water? The remaining part is detergent with a few drops of fragrance and preservatives. So, let's purchase something that does not have all this water like a shampoo bar. Next to containing no water, there are more benefits of using a shampoo bar as it lasts much longer. The average person lasts about a month with a bottle of shampoo. This differs obviously with the length of your hair but this is an average. A shampoo bar will last much longer. Mine usually lasts up to three months before I need to switch to a new one. Also, the fact that a shampoo bar is plastic-free is awesome because around the world millions of shampoo bottles are thrown away and they all end up in landfills where it takes up to 450 years for plastic to break down.
Also, your bottled conditioner can be replaced by a bar. A conditioner bar takes some more getting used to compared to a shampoo bar as it works a little differently but also a conditioner bar saves you from using another plastic bottle in your shower. Finding the right conditioner bar for your hair can be a challenge. So, try a few brands before you throw in the towel as there are lots of options available.
Body wash is usually also a bottle that is in many people's showers and can also be replaced by a bar. I used to use a bar but I wanted to try something else so I purchased a liquid body wash to see if I like it. I choose one that came in a metal container with a pump top so I could easily reuse it or if that is not your thing, the container can be returned to the manufacturer so they can reuse or recycle it.
This is also a sustainable option for liquid shampoo and conditioner if you don’t like using bars. If you prefer a liquid version, either see if it is possible to buy it using your container or see if the manufacturer accepts returns on the containers.
Did you know that a loofa sponge like this is not a loofa but just a piece of plastic? A loofah is a fruit that grows on a plant that looks like a cucumber plant. The fruits of these plants are harvested and dried. When they are dry, the peel is removed and you have a natural loofah sponge left. This sponge is awesome because it is sturdy and great for exfoliating the skin and when it is no longer usable, it can be composted as it is a plant.
Here you can read all about disposable razors, why they are awful, and why you should switch to a more sustainable option when you want to get rid of unwanted hair. If you want to shave wet in the shower, please turn off the shower and rinse afterward to save water. While shaving, you are not using the water and it is just wasteful to leave the shower on for too long.
I hope this blog post gave you some inspiration to make your shower routine more zero waste.