STACEY: I'm Stacey Tisdale for howdini. You probably think of your bathroom as a safe clean place, but in fact it may be the most toxic place in your whole house. Christine Richmond is senior editor and green expert at Natural Health magazine. Christine, what are some of the evils lurking in the average bathroom?
CHRISTINE: Yeah, well the average bathroom is usually pretty small space. It usually doesn't have very good ventilation and so it's really easy for humidity to build up in there and you've got mold and mildew issues. In addition to that we will often tackle the bathroom with these really strong chemical cleaning products and we think we're doing our families good by keeping the space clean, but it actually introduces a lot of chemicals into the air that can build up over time and in fact indoor air is often two to five times more polluted than outdoor air as a result.
STACEY: What does it mean to detox your bathroom?
CHRISTINE: Detoxing your bathroom you want to kind of go through your space and see what you can swap out for a more natural option. It's not very complicated. There are simple steps you can take.
STACEY: Why is this so important?
CHRISTINE: Well you know on one level we go through a lot of water in the bathroom--hundreds of gallons a month. So, on that sense there's things that you can do to cut back your water usage which will save you money and also help the planet. And yeah when you open up one of the those bottles of cleaning products and you start to use them that smell that you get just indicates how unhealthy they really are for you and your family.
STACEY: Now you say there are some simple things we can do to make sure that our bathrooms are eco-safe and clean. First use safe cleaners.
CHRISTINE: Absolutely they are getting a lot easier to find in stores and they are working a lot better than they used to. Some of our favorite brands are Seventh Generation and Clorox has just come out with a green line that's really effective as well.
STACEY: Change your air fresheners?
CHRISTINE: Yeah a lot of us will go to the store and grab one of those aerosol air fresheners which unfortunately don't do much more than just kind of mask smells. And they have chemicals in them that can harm your lung health. So instead we suggest people just crack a window and get some fresh air in the room, and if you do want to use a scented product look for one that has essential oils in it. It's just a lot more safe and gentle. There's a Cal fragrance that we really like.
STACEY: Buying organic cotton bath linens--that reallymakes a difference?
CHRISTINE: Cotton especially is a crop that uses a lot of pesticides. So that's something that everybody can do. That will make a big difference for the planet. That's just switching from regular cotton to organic cotton. Under the Canopy makes some really beautiful towels that feel great and it's just an easy thing that you can do to help the planet.
STACEY: You also say to switch to non-vinyl shower curtains. What does that do?
CHRISTINE: Vinyl shower curtains are really popular because they're totally affordable and they help you know reduce mold growth, but unfortunately from an environmental standpoint they're pretty evil. They get thrown out, they don't decompose, so they just sit in landfills a long time. And sometimes they're burned. When they're burned they release these pretty noxious chemicals into the air. There's luckily a lot of other options available. Natural fiber shower curtains like linen shower curtains. They'll stand up to your shower as well as a vinyl shower and you have the extra benefit of being able to throw it into the washer and dryer when you need to clean it. And you can get those at Gyam and also at Crate and Barrel.
STACEY: Natural fiber bath mats.
CHRISTINE: Absolutely, like your shower curtain, that non-slip side of the bath mat is usually made of vinyl. So instead you could swap it out for something made of for example, bamboo which is a hot, new green material. It has natural antibacterial properties, so it really works well in the bathroom.
STACEY: You also say low-flow showerheads can make a difference.
CHRISTINE: Yeah, and they have a bad reputation because in the past they would really lower your water pressure. People didn't like that, but they've come a long way and they can save you up to 1700 gallons a year in water. So it's a really great easy step to take.
STACEY: Great advice. Christine Richmond, senior editor and green expert at Natural Health magazine. Thank you so much for joining us.
CHRISTINE: Thank you so much for having me.