The eco house guide Eco bathroom
This article, The eco house guide, was last updated on 20 August 2009 and is now out of date and held in our online archive for reference. Explore our latest Home & garden articles.
Create your very own eco bathroom with Which?. We take you through the key eco-friendly bathroom products that can help you to save water and energy, as well as simple tips to reduce your bathroom's overall environmental impact.
Save water for an eco-friendly bathroom
According to Waterwise, the typical family uses about 70% of its water in the bathroom – making saving water a top priority in any eco bathroom. Saving water can be financially beneficial as well as eco-friendly – if you're on a water meter you'll cut your water bill, and even if you're not, wasting less heated water will cut your gas or electric bills.
Our guide to using less water shows you ways you can reduce water consumption when washing, cleaning and using your eco bathroom.
Eco-friendly bathroom products for showers and baths
You might assume that a shower is a more water-efficient way to wash than taking a bath, but that's not necessarily the case. While a quick shower is usually more water-efficient than a bath, some high-volume power showers use more water in less than five minutes than a bath does.
The amount of water you use depends on the type of shower and shower head you have, and the length of time you spend in the shower.
- Time your shower Make your eco bathroom more water efficient by keeping your showers to no longer than five minutes, or using a water-saving timer that lets you know when you've exceeded 35 litres of water.
- Water-saving shower head The design of a shower head can affect its water consumption. Water-saving shower heads are a good eco choice that reduce the flow rate or include a flow restrictor, while an aerating shower head mixes water with air, reducing the overall amount of water that's needed.
Find out more about these eco bathroom products in our water-saving products review, and see how well the performed when we tried it out.
Toilet: eco products
Toilet flushing accounts for almost a third of a typical household's water usage, according to Waterwise. You can lower water consumption by:
- Replacing an old toilet An old single-flush toilet can use up to 13 litres per flush – dual-flush toilets are a much more water-efficient choice for your eco bathroom, using around six litres for a full flush, or four litres for a reduced flush.
- Water-saving devices Eco bathroom products such as the Interflush are designed to attach to your existing toilet. Interflush claims to halve flushing water.
- Water displacement The Hippo is an eco bathroom product that sits in your toilet cistern and can reduce flush volumes by three litres for toilets installed before 1991, or two-and-a-half litres for toilets installed between 1992 and 2001. A Hippo isn't suitable for toilets installed from 2001 onwards.
Eco bathroom cleaning
Keep your eco bathroom sparkling using eco-friendly cleaning techniques:
- Raid your kitchen cupboard See what natural cleaning products you already have at home – good old-fashioned ingredients including white wine vinegar, lemon juice and baking powder are eco-friendly and can work wonders on your bathroom surfaces.
- Eco cleaning products There are cleaning products on the market that claim to be eco-friendly and natural cleaning detergents – find out more in our guide to green cleaning
- Product refills Choose cleaning products that offer a refill option, and remember to recycle waste packaging and bottles.
Eco-friendly tips for your sink
Simple behavioural changes can help you to reduce water consumption and create a more eco-friendly bathroom:
- Turn it off It's easy to forget, but turn off the bathroom tap while you're brushing your teeth or shaving – according to the Environment Agency, up to five litres of water a minute is wasted by leaving the tap running unnecessarily.
- Fix it Dripping taps can waste up to four litres of water a day, as well as being an irritation – replacing a tap washer will often solve the problem inexpensively and is a great way to make your bathroom more eco-friendly.
We've got more practical ways to use less water in our dedicated guide.