3 Convenient, Inexpensive Ways to Cut Plastic from Your Bathroom Routine

We at 350 Fairfax would like to make Plastic Free living as accessible as possible. During the Plastic Free Challenge, we’ll focus on widely available, low-cost alternatives to everyday sources of plastic. With that in mind, here are three budget-friendly substitutes that will go a long way in reducing your bathroom’s plastic footprint.

1. Bar Soap

Photo by Tabitha Mort from Pexels

If you are anything like me, your bathroom is full of soap, shaving cream, and shampoo in plastic bottles. Enter the miracle that is bar soap. Bar soaps for hands, face, and body are a fraction of the cost of liquid soap, they are available pretty much everywhere, and many stores stock brands packaged in cardboard or paper. A good lathering bar soap can be used for shaving too. And although you may have to go to a natural foods or specialty store, you can also find shampoo in bar form. The extra trip is worth the plastic- and cost-savings, no?

Have a little extra time on your hands? Make your own multipurpose soap bars with only three ingredients!

2. Apple Cider Vinegar

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

Apple cider vinegar is another product available pretty much anywhere, at a reasonable price and in glass bottles. And it has myriad uses in the bathroom. A mixture of one part apple cider vinegar to two parts water can be used as a facial toner; just spritz on the face or apply with a reusable cotton pad. Equal parts apple cider vinegar and water make for a great detangling conditioner; just pour the mixture over your head and let sit for a few minutes before rinsing. One tablespoon of apple cider vinegar mixed with one cup of water can be used as mouthwash.

Some like to add a little apple cider vinegar to their baths, some wipe it under their arms for a DIY deodorant, and some swear it helps treat acne and get rid of warts. Do a quick search for “uses of apple cider vinegar,” and you’ll see the list goes on and on and on.

3. Coconut Oil

I hesitated putting coconut oil on this list because the coconut industry is responsible for some seriously negative environmental impacts. But coconut oil, like apple cider vinegar, is widely available, is relatively inexpensive, and has so many uses in the bathroom that it’s hard to overlook. When you purchase your coconut oil, try to buy organic and fair-trade varieties—they are not too much more expensive and are typically the brands you’ll find in glass jars anyway.

Coconut oil is an amazing moisturizer that is gentle enough to be used by itself on both face and body in place of your typical lotion. It can also be used to tame frizzy hair, sooth sunburned skin, and remove makeup. It even has antibacterial properties that can help heal minor cuts and scrapes faster.

Honorable Mentions

1. Menstrual Cup

For those women who haven’t tried one, the menstrual cup is a game changer. Depending on the brand, one cup can last anywhere from one year to ten. That means no more buying tampons and pads in unreasonable amounts of plastic packaging. That also means major cost savings. There are many brands available online, and these days you can even find them at your local drug store or grocery store. Have questions about the menstrual cup? You can find all the answers and even brand comparisons here.

2. DIY Personal Hygiene Products

For those with tight budgets but a little bit of time, you can find tons of great recipes for lotions, deodorants, bar soaps, dry shampoo, mouthwash, and even toothpaste online. Have your own tried-and-true recipes or plastic workarounds for the bathroom? Post them on social media with the hashtag #PlasticFreeDMV and you’ll be entered to win Dental Lace and a Sekoyia Bath Kit from Plastic Free partner EcoAction Arlington.

Wondering about things like toilet paper, toothbrushes, combs, or razors? You can find tons of Plastic Free bathroom info online. Here are three lists we recommend:

Trash Is for Tossers, “Zero Waste Swaps: Personal Hygiene.” Includes links for purchasing products from the blogger’s shop, which uses minimal packaging.

Going Zero Waste, “15 Simple Swaps for a Zero Waste Bathroom.” Includes lots of easy recipes for personal hygiene products.

The Kind Planet, “22 Plastic Free Bathroom Alternatives.” A comprehensive list of alternatives with links to more info and recipes.


–Julie Kimmel