13 Easiest Zero Waste Bathroom Swaps

Zero waste bathroom swaps that are easy and effective

Generating less waste in our homes is an easy concept to get behind, but to put it into practice can feel intimidating! After a lot of trial and some error, I want to share the zero waste bathroom swaps that I have found to be both manageable and effective. 

All of the product swaps I suggest below are items that I have personally tested and loved. You won’t find anything crazy expensive or difficult to find online or in stores on this list. Suggestions are listed in order starting with the easiest to implement, so perhaps just start with the first one or two swaps and slowly work your way down the list over time. Every little change will make a big difference over time!

13 Easy Zero Waste Bathroom Swaps

Buy Zero Waste Toilet Paper Packaged in Paper

Georgia-Pacific Angel Soft Professional Series Premium 2-Ply Embossed Toilet Paper, 16840, 450...
  • TRUSTED BRAND is recognized and loved by tenants; guests and customers
  • QUALITY softness; 2-ply thickness and a designer emboss you’d expect “at home”; available in...
  • COORDINATE with Angel Soft Professional Series Facial Tissue boxes for an image enhancing look

This zero waste bathroom swap is as easy as it gets. Ignore the toilet paper in plastic packaging and opt for paper packaging instead. Most grocery or drug/convenience stores offer individual toilet paper rolls packaged in paper. Grab a bunch of these rolls when you need to stock up, then recycle or compost the packaging after opening.

Shop Zero Waste Toilet Paper

Swap Body Wash with Bar Soap

Crate 61, Vegan Natural Bar Soap, Most Popular Scents Variety Pack, 6 Pack, Handmade Soap With...
  • LONG LASTING: This bar soap set is handmade in Canada and includes a bar of each of the following...
  • SUPER SOFT AND MOISTURIZED: Cold pressed extra virgin olive oil and unrefined avocado oil create a...
  • IDEAL FOR: Dry skin, Moisturizing skin, Mature skin; Dermatologically Tested and approved; Made at...

Instead of replenishing your plastic bottle of body wash, consider trying bar soap. I was skeptical about this zero waste bathroom swap at first because I liked to use my body wash as my “shaving cream.” The bar soaps I was used to were low quality bars provided at hotels for hand washing that left my skin feeling dry. I was concerned that all bar soaps were like this, and that drying bar soap would be difficult to shave with!

My husband always used Dove bar soaps and once I finally tried it, I never looked back. If possible, search for unpackaged bar soaps sold in natural food stores. If that isn’t a convenient option, then I recommend finding a quality commercial brand sold in cardboard packaging at your regular grocery store. 

Shop Bar Soap

Try a Natural Sponge or Washcloth as a Loofah Alternative

LATHER Natural Sea Wool Sponge | Self Care | Shower and Bath Sponge | Natural Loofah | Sea Sponge...
  • BATH SPONGE: One large ethically sourced and harvested sea wool sponge; perfect to use as a facial...
  • NATURAL SEA SPONGE: This natural sponge may vary in size, shape and texture; hypoallergenic and...
  • SELF CARE: This loofah sponge is perfect for a relaxing self care experience and is a soft, yet...

If you’re used to exfoliating with a plastic loofah or a shower brush with plastic bristles, there are great alternatives worth trying! One is to use a natural sea sponge. These tend to be a bit softer than natural loofahs, and can be sustainably grown and harvested.

Shop Loofah Alternatives

Utopia Towels [12 Pack] Premium Wash Cloths Set (12 x 12 Inches) 100% Cotton Ring Spun, Highly...
  • Set of 12 - Included 12 luxury cotton washcloths in measuring 12 by 12 inches each. Manufactured...
  • TOPNOTCH QUALITY – The bathroom towels are manufactured with 100% high-end ring-spun cotton to...
  • KEY FEATURES – Absorbent with a delicate feel; the combination makes the 600 GSM wash cloth set...

Another option to try is a wash cloth. This is what we use in our home to exfoliate our skin. We have a stack of them and simply toss them in the wash after every few uses.

Shop Washcloths

Try Compostable Q-Tips

Bamboo Cotton Buds | Eco Cotton Buds | Cotton Swab | Wooden Cotton Bud | Eco Friendly packaging |...
  • BIODEGRADABLE: The bamboo cotton buds are 100% biodegradable. The eco cotton buds come in a come in...
  • PACK OF 400: There are 400 wooden cotton buds in the box.
  • BAMBOO STICK: Bamboo is a sustainable renewable resource the bamboo sticks is durable and stronger...

I have been a loyal q-tip user my entire life. Nothing bothers me than the feeling of less-than-clean ears! If you’re like me, you’ll be happy to know that you can purchase q-tips made from compostable materials and leave the plastic versions behind.

Shop Compostable Q Tips

Swap Tampons with a Period Cup and Pads with Period Undies

DUTCHESS Menstrual Cup - Reusable, Soft, Medical-Grade Silicone Period Cups - Easy to Clean Tampon...
  • Strong when you need it, our small menstrual cups will keep in place, so you won't have to worry...
  • Safe to wear for up to 12 hours, our soft cup allows you to get a full night's sleep before having...
  • Made from soft, medical-grade silicone, our menstruation cups are phthalate, latex, dioxin, &...

This tip is exclusive to females, but it’s a serious no brainer in my opinion. If you are used to wearing tampons, I highly recommend making the switch to a period cup. Once inserted properly, you truly can’t feel it. Emptying and washing it between uses is seriously no big deal once you’re used to it. Plus, you can keep it inserted for up to 12 hours (although please check with your doctor and read manufacturer instructions first before taking my word for it).

Shop Period Cups

Not a tampon user? There are reusable products for you as well! There are a number of brands popping up with period underwear that are worth trying. You can also combine a pair with your period cup for extra protection on a heavier day or overnight.

Shop Period Underwear

Try a Safety Razor

Double Edge Safety Razor
  • EXCELLENT COMFORT AND CONTROL - Have a comfortable and safe grip with its long-handle, designed for...
  • DOUBLE EDGE SAFETY RAZOR - This feature of the razor is very convenient and gives a quick, decent...
  • HEAVYWEIGHT - Its weight of 4.2 ounces gives a solid feel in the hand and allows the razor to do...

My husband made this swap years and years ago. While individual razor blades are not recyclable (too dangerous plus not enough recyclable material to make it worth the risk), they generate FAR less waste than large, plastic razor heads otherwise would. 

Shop Safety Razors

Double Edge Blade "Bank"
  • Safetly discard razor blades
  • Made of metal

I recommend investing in a razor blade disposal canister so you can safely collect dull blades over time. Once your canister of choice is full, check with your city’s guidelines for how to responsibly dispose of them. If you don’t want to invest in a dedicated disposal case (and you aren’t worried about kids getting into your drawers) you can repurpose objects like an altoids case or a medicine jar for this purpose as well.

Shop Razor Disposal Cases

Swap Nylon Dental Floss with Silk

Biodegradable Dental Floss with a Refillable Glass Holder | Naturally Waxed with Candelilla Wax |...
  • THE ECO-FRIENDLY CHOICE - Our floss is perfect for all of you who are trying to take or are already...
  • EASILY REFILLABLE FLOSS HOLDER THAT LASTS FOR AGES - Our eco floss in a glass container is...
  • GUILT-FREE PACKAGING - We are constantly working towards making our packaging as green as possible....

This swap takes a little getting used to because the textures are different, but silk dental floss works the same way as nylon versions and can be composted. Bonus if you purchase options sold in glass dispensers that can be recycled once the floss is used up.

Shop Silk Dental Floss

Add a Compost Bin to Your Bathroom

Bamboozle Food Compost Bin, Indoor Food Composter for Kitchen (Natural)
  • Made of biodegradable, dishwasher safe, and durable bamboo fiber
  • Dimensions: 8” x 6.25” x 9”
  • Individually packaged in beautiful craft paper boxes

Once you start eliminating the waste you produce in your bathroom, your need for a regular trash can will shrink. Things like hair, nails, compostable q-tips, and cardboard toilet paper rolls can all be composted. Reduce your bathroom trash and try composting instead!

Shop Small Compost Bins

Swap Aerosol Dry Shampoo with DIY or Low Waste Dry Shampoo

Lulu Organics Lavender and Clary Sage Hair Powder/Dry Shampoo, 4 oz
  • Stock Up for Great Hair: Each economy-size 4-oz bottle of this hair powder dry shampoo offers up to...
  • Get Fresh Hair Fast: This on-the-go dry shampoo soaks up oil at the scalp, leaving your hair...
  • A Treat for the Senses: The clean and intoxicating aroma of lavender perfectly partnered with an...

This is a SUPER easy swap in my opinion, but I’m putting it lower on the list because it’s a “DIY.” I make my own dry shampoo that works just as well as any aerosol brand I have tried using primarily cornstarch or arrowroot powder. Here is my full DIY dry shampoo recipe.

DIY isn’t your thing? Don’t worry, my dry shampoo post also lists a handful of low-waste and non-toxic dry shampoo brands worth trying.

Try DIY Dry Shampoo

Swap Disposable Cotton Pads with Washable Cloths or Cotton Rounds

Utopia Towels [12 Pack] Premium Wash Cloths Set (12 x 12 Inches) 100% Cotton Ring Spun, Highly...
  • Set of 12 - Included 12 luxury cotton washcloths in measuring 12 by 12 inches each. Manufactured...
  • TOPNOTCH QUALITY – The bathroom towels are manufactured with 100% high-end ring-spun cotton to...
  • KEY FEATURES – Absorbent with a delicate feel; the combination makes the 600 GSM wash cloth set...

There is truly no need to use disposable cotton pads to either apply skincare products or to remove makeup from your skin. I apply all of my skincare to my face gently with my fingertips and the palms of my hands. Toners, creams, and oils all go on with my hands. I find that doing so also minimizes the amount of expensive product that goes to waste! And when I am removing makeup and washing my face, I do so with a very soft wash cloth. 

Shop Face Washcloths

Washable cotton rounds are also very popular for removing eye makeup. If you love a cotton round, then give these a try! I have found that very soft washcloths do the job just as well and I can launder them easily with my towels and the exfoliating washcloths I use in my shower.

Shop Washable Cotton Rounds

Swap Commercial Face Wash with DIY Cleansing Oil

Roland Foods Roasted Hazelnut Oil, Specialty Imported Food, 16.9 Fl Oz Can
  • ROASTED NUTTY FLAVOR AND BUTTERY TEXTURE: Our Roasted Hazelnut Oil features a deep nutty flavor and...
  • GREAT FOR BAKING AND MARINADES: Hazelnut Oil is a frgrant and delicious when used in baking and...
  • RECIPE INSPIRATIONS: Roland Foods Hazelnut Oil is delicious in salad dressings, drizzled over soups,...

Most (but not all!) commercial face wash formulas are packaged in plastic pump bottles. If you’re interested in trying a non-toxic, DIY facial cleansing oil recipe then I recommend checking out this post from Wellness Mama. Most oils can be purchased in glass or metal containers and/or in bulk sizes. Choose a refillable bottle (or repurpose your plastic pump bottle!) to fill with your DIY cleansing oil. 

I use a cleansing oil to both wash my face and remove my makeup. I apply the oil to my skin while it’s still dry and massage the oil all over my face and eyes to loosen my makeup. Then I wet my fingers with warm water and massage a little more. Lastly, I wet a soft wash cloth with warm water and press it gently over my face and let it steam up my skin for half a minute before gently wiping away the oil cleanser and my makeup.

Try DIY Cleansing Oil

Swap Eye Makeup Remover with DIY Version

Spectrum Organic Safflower Oil, 16 Fl Oz
  • An organic oil offering a light, neutral taste
  • Best for high-heat sautés and fried dishes.
  • USDA organic, non GMO, certified kosher by the OU

If a cleansing oil doesn’t do the trick, try a dedicated DIY eye makeup remover. You can apply it with a soft, washable cloth or with a washable cotton round. Follow up with your oil cleanser and your face should be left clean and ready for your skincare routine.

Try DIY Eye Makeup Remover

Swap Lotion with DIY Hydrating Body Butter

Better Shea Butter Raw Shea Butter | African, Unrefined, 100% Pure | Skin Moisturizer | For Face,...
  • FACE AND BODY MOISTURIZER - Unrefined Shea Butter makes your skin feel soft and nourished. Use it on...
  • EASY APPLICATION - Melt a pea-size amount of Shea Butter between your hands and massage on skin...
  • HAIR DETANGLER AND CONDITIONER - Pure Shea Butter will soften and defrizz curly and thick hair, 4c...

I list this suggestion last only because making body butter requires double boiling – slightly more effort than simply combining a few ingredients. If you aren’t afraid of a simple DIY, here is my body butter recipe that I have used for years and completely swear by. It includes all safe, natural ingredients, many of which can be purchased in bulk and/or in glass packaging.

Alternatively, try to find a pre-made body cream or body butter sold in glass or metal packaging.

Try DIY Body Butter

Additional Zero Waste Bathroom Swaps Worth Exploring

Here are a few more low or zero waste bathroom swaps that are popular in the zero waste community. I didn’t include them in my recommended list because I have yet to find versions that work as well as the plastic packaged options most of us are used to. 

With that said, I hope that these popular swaps inspire you to start exploring alternatives and please share if you find any that you recommend!

Try a Toothpaste Powder

I have tried a handful of tooth powder brands and none leave my teeth feeling quite as clean or fresh as my conventional toothpaste. I love a clean mouth (brushing and flossing are my favorite parts of my morning and night routines) so this is important to me! 

Shop Tooth Powders

Try a Bamboo Toothbrush

I have tried a handful of bamboo toothbrush brands. While they all work, I have found that the bristles tend to be SUPER hard and hurt my gums. Also none get my teeth feeling as clean as my electric toothbrush does.

With that said, regardless of what brush I use, I follow up by rubbing my teeth with a soft wash cloth. I make sure to do this right before every dentist visit and without fail every dental hygienist comments on how little plaque I have.

So once my electric toothbrush eventually breaks down, I’ll hopefully find a softer bamboo brush option and combine that with flossing and rubbing my teeth with a cloth for the cleanest mouth possible!

Shop Bamboo Toothbrushes

Try a DIY or Low Waste Deodorant

Pit Paste and Pit Liquor have been advertised as great options. I haven’t tried these yet, so I hesitate to recommend but if you’re in the market give them a try and let me know how it goes!

If you’re feeling up for DIY experiments, there are TONS of DIY deodorant recipes available on the internet. 

Shop Eco-Friendly Deodorants

What To Do with Old Products You No Longer Need 

Now that you’re inspired to create a zero waste bathroom, what should you do with old, partially used products? Here are your three options:

Use Them Up

This is my preferred method of dealing with plastic packaged products I currently own. I have committed to using up every face wash, body wash, body lotion, and plastic razor head before switching to a more sustainable alternative. Doing so also makes the transition to a low-waste bathroom feel less intimidating because you’re forced to take it one product swap at a time!

Repurpose Them

Some disposable products can be re-purposed in new ways throughout your home. For instance, cotton balls, cotton rounds, and plastic q-tips can be used in kid’s craft projects. Google ways to repurpose your disposable bath products and you might be surprised by what pops up!

Pass Them On / Donate

If you haven’t already, join your local “Buy Nothing Group” on Facebook. This is a great resource for handing off a number of products you no longer use or want to keep in your home, without resorting to the trash!

You might be surprised by what your neighbors are happy to take off of your hands. I have seen people in my group hand off partially used pantry goods, unused plastic cutlery and party supplies, lightly used cleaning supplies, and more.

Take a quick photo of your products, post them, and see what happens. If you don’t get any bites then you can move to the last option.

Toss Them

I know we’re trying to avoid waste here but if you have a product that you no longer use, and no one else you know has a need for it… it might be time to toss it. With that said, once you toss make a commitment to not replenish it in the future! Be very careful about what bathroom products you choose to invest in going forward.

So don’t feel guilty about tossing all of those tiny product samples that you’ll never use. Simply make a commitment to say “no thank you” when you’re offered new samples in the future.

More Zero Waste Swaps to Explore

Interested in a low or zero waste lifestyle? Here are some additional posts with zero waste swaps to try in the rest of your home:

Zero waste bathroom swaps that are both easy and effective.

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  1. I have switched to ordering from a company that makes three ply toilet paper from all recycled paper—books and office paper, Who Gives A Crap? (They also make other paper products I have not tried.) All of the packaging is made with recycled paper and Half their profits go to building toilets in third world counties! They sound too good to be true but I have no complaints with their products so far and suggest you give Who Gives A Crap.com a try. I know—it’s a terrible name for a company! but they do take a light hearted approach and it it hard to forget their name.

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