Yes- we’re going there today… the bathroom! A Minimalist bathroom to be exact. We’re going to cover all of the “unmentionables” of polite society and how to reduce the amount of waste carrying out these unmentionables creates in your home. Best of all- switching to less waste could improve your health if you replace the original product with a more natural alternative. If discussing unmentionable topics is too much for you, mama, you’d probably prefer to start with my Beginner’s Guide To Zero-Waste. Grab a copy of the zero waste bathroom checklist before you go!

Zero Waste Bathroom Checklist

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Ever wanted to try a zero waste lifestyle in your home? Here are some great tips for zero waste living in your bathroom. Minimalism in your bathroom will save you time and money! | Minimalist living |

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zero waste Minimalist bathroom

Everybody Poops

When you think of creating waste in the bathroom- well- you’re probably thinking about what’s created by your own human body. Amiright? When it comes to zero-waste in that department you have a few options:

WHY Would Anyone Use Family Cloth???

  • It cleans better.
  • It feels luxurious.
  • It never rips like TP can.
  • No residue left behind. I mean, have you wiped a toddler’s bum recently?
  • It’s soft.
  • It’s free!
  • You’ll never run out because you can wash it and re-use.
  • It’s healthier for the planet.
  • It looks cute when you customize your fabric.

(Seriously– who was the genius who decided we should cut down trees, process them, wipe our bums with them and then trash them down the toilet? Wasteful, unnecessary, and overall less effective IMO, but to each their own.)

Family Cloth aka Washable Wipes

Most individuals who subscribe to this method of cleaning up oneself in the bathroom choose to go the DIY route and create their own cloth wipes from soft fabric scraps or old T-shirts they no longer wear. If I were going this way I would choose something soft, but sturdy like flannel cloth. Old swaddling blankets work great for this. You could even personalize the fabric for each family member so that there’s no cloth-swapping (for some reason that seems icky to me even though we cloth diapered two kiddos with no qualms).

Washable Baby Wipes

If you are like myself and trying to Minimize any added stress to your life you might rather just purchase your washable butt wipes instead of make them yourself. We have used washable wipes on our cloth diapered babies for the last 3 1/2 years. Baby washcloths like these were what we chose to use and I would use them again.

Since We’re Talking About Going Potty, Let’s Not Forget The Littlest Ones

As far as cloth diapering is concerned, the used cloth wipes are simply tossed into the pail with the soiled diaper and washed. The benefit to cloth wipes is that they are highly more effective than their disposable counterparts. Just my opinion, but I felt like it took half a pack of disposable baby wipes to clean up one poop diaper. You know it’s true, mama! It took me 3 washable baby wipes to clean up a dirty bum. Yes- T-H-R-E-E. Can you imagine how much money you will save on wipes and toilet paper? If you’d like to know more about cloth diapering read this post. For more Minimalist baby gear go here.

Where Do I Put The Cloth Wipes Between Uses?

If They’re Clean

You have a few options. When we used cloth wipes on our babies, I stored them in a disposable wipe box with a bit of water to keep the wipes wet. We went through them so frequently that mold or mildew was never an issue. If that becomes a problem, you can simply add a couple of drops of tea tree essential oil to your wipe solution. Another method you could choose is to store the wipes dry and include a spritzer bottle in your cloth wipe kit to moisten the wipe before it’s used. To each their own. Choose the method you prefer.

If They’re Dirty

When you have dirty wipes in the bathroom, you want to eliminate the potential for any smell or mess. Store your soiled wipes in a small trash can with a lid, like this one. Use a washable wet bag inside the trash can. You will want at least two of these so that you can rotate one to the wash while the other is in use. I recommend a strong detergent like this one for cloth wipes or diapers.

zero waste bathroom

Who Gives A Crap

Well, as it sits, we all do. If you simply can’t bear the thought of using a washable cloth to wipe your bum, consider using cloth for #1 and TP for #2. Just choose a sustainably made toilet paper that intentionally creates less waste while giving back to those in need like Who Gives A Crap. Another way to reduce waste when it comes to TP is to purchase it in bulk as an office supply from a store like Amazon. There it comes in a large cardboard box and each roll is wrapped in paper instead of plastic. If family cloth is where you draw the line of zero-waste a bidet is another amazing option for cleaning oneself after a deposit.

Minimalist bathroom

Say Hello To Aunt Flo

The majority of my readers are females (mamas) so it wouldn’t do this article justice to skip over menstruation. The options I list below will save you money because in most cases you only have to make the purchase a couple of times in your lifetime compared to monthly with each cycle. Read this article from Huffington Post if you want to get an idea of how much it costs to treat your monthly visitor traditionally with tampons and liners. These options could also be considered healthier alternatives, and of course they create less waste.

Best Menstrual Cup

70% of women today use tampons so I thought it best to begin this discussion with an option that could replace tampons: menstrual cups. The first time I ever heard of what a menstrual cup is I thought, “Nah. Not for me,” but after hearing more and more friends using them and loving them I decided to give it a chance.

Why would I use a menstrual cup?

  • It’s zero waste excluding packaging from initial purchase.
  • Some women cite making the switch to a menstrual cup as the reason for experiencing relief from period cramps.
  • No smell/stink like other products.
  • No risk of Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS).
  • Lasts up to 12 hours between emptying the cup.
  • You save $$$.

I am a very frugal lady when it comes to necessary expenses like toiletries and groceries and that’s what finally won me over to try a Diva Cup. If I can reduce those costs then I can use our hard earned money on fun stuff to do together instead. And to be perfectly honest- using the cup is not as gross as I imagined. It’s quite simple.

But is it easy to “install?”

There may be a little learning curve. If you aren’t familiar with yourself in this area it may take you a little longer to get the hang of getting the menstrual cup to create a proper seal. It took me one cycle to feel like I had the hang of things, but since then it’s been a breeze. I love that I only have to empty it every 12 hours! When I purchased my menstrual cup this video from Dirty Diaper Laundry on YouTube helped me understand how I needed to insert and remove my cup properly. Using a champagne flute was a genius idea to illustrate this.

Zero Waste Bathroom Checklist

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Where Can I Buy A Menstrual Cup (Discreetly)

Which brand of period cup is best? I chose to purchase my cup on Amazon because 1) Internet shopping beats trying to shop with toddlers & 2) I could read the reviews to determine how each different cup fit. I decided to go with the Diva Cup because it is arguably the most popular brand of menstrual cup. It has several great reviews and I felt like I could trust the quality of the item to be what I expected. It hasn’t let me or my friends down yet. *huge thumbs up!*

Pregnancy & After Childbirth

It is not recommended to use a menstrual cup for postpartum bleeding. After you have your doctor’s approval (usually at your 6-8 week checkup), you can begin using a menstrual cup for your monthly cycle. Until then I would recommend period panties like this or washable pads made of very soft fabric. The addition of witch hazel has been suggested to add to postpartum pads to help with skin irritations in that area.

Other Options For Menstruating

Washable Pads and Pantie Liners

If you’re a cloth diapering family the addition of a few extra pieces of soiled fabric shouldn’t add much to your laundry routine. If you’ve never cloth diapered, you’ll quickly get the hang of washing your pads along with your other laundry.

Heavy flow days, postpartum bleeding, or overnight

Average flow days

Light flow, spotting, or as backup while you’re learning how to use a menstrual cup

Disclaimer:  I don’t usually suggest DIY options as solutions because I feel like we have enough on our to-do lists as wives and mothers. However, in this case it isn’t much extra work to create your own washable menstrual pads from fabric you already have on hand. Keep that in mind as an option.

Period Panties

I am longing to give Thinx or a similar period panty like these a try. I think period panties have to be just about as Minimalist as you can get when it comes to getting your monthly flow. You don’t have to do any extra steps, or worry about when it’s time to change your product of choice throughout the day. You just put on a special pair of panties and do life. Simple. I love that.


I’m in a handful of social groups online where I’ve heard others mention they use the following items during their periods:

  • sea sponges  Yes, seriously.
  • homemade tampons usually made with organic yarn (whyyyyy? This just doesn’t seem safe in my opinion and I don’t recommend it.)

Sustainable, EcoFriendly Toiletries

In the zero-waste community plastic is frowned upon, BUT more importantly so is throwing away stuff just to buy “better” stuff. For the following list I suggest you use what you already have on hand until it’s broken or falling apart. Below you will find a list of eco-friendly toiletry options and links to where you can purchase them:

Bamboo toothbrushes with BPA free bristles

Razors (safety razor)

Eco-friendly deodorant

Coconut oil make up remover + washable cotton rounds

Facial tissue

Shampoo & conditioner bar soaps

No-poo method of hair care

The “no-poo” method of hair care is what it sounds like. No shampoo. I tried this after the birth of my oldest child and I couldn’t find the right balance of baking soda to apple cider vinegar for my hair. It kept breaking off so I gave it up. However, I still love and use apple cider vinegar as conditioner. All my life I’ve had hair that mats and tangles the instant it touches water. One tablespoon of ACV in a cup of water and my hair is silk. + no residue like with conventional conditioners.

Dr. Bronner’s liquid castile soap

This amazing product acts as soap, shampoo, can be toothpaste, or even used for cleaning. Yes, it’s plastic, but it’s only ONE bottle compared to one separate bottle for each different use which is typical. Many larger cities have places where you can refill the bottle, too.

Zero waste Q-tips?

Cotton swabs aren’t necessary for hygiene. If you’ll look on the packaging it usually states that Q-tips are for external use only. Your body can effectively dispel excess wax on its own. If it bothers you, gently wipe away any visible wax with a damp cloth.

Tooth powder

Homemade toothpaste

I’m pretty sure you can use some combination of baking soda and coconut oil to do just about anything.


Floss is something that had me stumped for some time. When I was researching to write this article for you, I found that you have a couple of options.

Option One: Radius Silk Floss

I lean more towards favoring this option because it is 100% biodegradable which means it can be composted. Zero waste, ya?

Option Two: Radius Xylitol Floss

The downside to the aforementioned option is that silk worms are harvested to create the product. The same company sells an alternative for the hardcore vegan crowd which is made with xylitol. It’s not compostable, but it is made of plant products.

Eco Friendly Toilet Cleaning

In closing, here are a few options for zero waste toilet cleaning after you’ve “closed the deal” so to speak.

Toilet Brushes Solid wood toilet brush made with horse hair.

Toilet Cleaner The best option for zero waste living is of course to bring your own glass container and fill it from a co-op or bulk bin, but the second best option would be to choose an eco friendly toilet cleaner that’s better for the environment.

That’s it from me for zero waste in the bathroom for beginners. Grab your copy of the zero waste in the bathroom checklist and get started!

Zero Waste Bathroom Checklist

Grab your copy of the Zero Waste Bathroom Checklist for FREE! Plus- weekly(ish) tips on Minimalism + Motherhood.

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Check back soon to see my follow up post Zero-Waste Beauty where I discuss methods for reducing waste while looking fabulous.

Did I forget something? Do you still have questions? Ask below in the comments!

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Ever wanted to try a zero waste lifestyle in your home? Here are some great tips for zero waste living in your bathroom. Minimalism in your bathroom will save you time and money! | Minimalist living |


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