Upgrading a diet to vegan for many is a relatively easy and intuitive process (however long it may take!). Yet transforming areas of your home into cruelty-free havens can seem more like a minefield, beset with hidden difficulty, and the bathroom is one of the main rooms of the house where unethical products tend to accumulate.
How many people out there thought their toothpaste was animal-free?
Luckily, as more and more people make the switch to veganism, there is a fast growing demand for cosmetics, bathroom accessories and cleaning products with a guarantee of quality and compassion.
This little guide will help you on your way to creating an ethical bathroom sanctuary for guilt-free relaxation and rejuvenation, free from dirty environmental footprints.
Cleaning products – Vegan style
My heart sinks when I see people filling their supermarket trolleys with the likes of toilet duck; I immediately think of our poor fishy friends in the sea. Products like this are full of Volatile Organic Compounds such as Ammonia, Phosphorus and Nitrogen; not only are these awful chemical concoctions tested on animals, they are also extremely polluting for our air and water. They’re incredibly toxic to marine life when they are pumped out of our homes and into the sea, even after the water cleansing process.
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The natural way –
It’s no coincidence that what’s good for us and our animal friends is also good for the planet (and vice versa). Thankfully Mother Nature appreciates our need to keep our home clean and smelling fresh, so she’s gifted us with the humble, yet wonderfully versatile lemon. This is an incredible all-rounder, whose natural acids can tackle every cleaning task your bathroom can splash at you. A rub of cut lemon and a rinse will remove soap scum from bathtub or shower tiles, sanitise and freshen up the toilet bowl and even remove mildew stains from a shower curtain: simply soak it in salt water for 20 minutes, then, while still damp, rub the stains with lemon juice before putting it in the washing machine.
The tougher way –
Not happy with the old DIY cleaning solutions? There are more and more companies out there, such as ecos.com, Method and Grab Green, who are producing vegan and eco-friendly cleaning products. Some of these vegan and eco-friendly products can already be found in regular stores and health shops, and others can be found on online vegan shops.
So don’t believe the adverts – you don’t need an unpleasant lungful of chemicals to leave your bathroom clean and fragrant. The natural way is infinitely better for our health, the animals and the planet.
Most brands of toothpaste aren’t even vegetarian, never mind vegan! Big household names such as Crest, Colgate and Sensodyne use animal glycerin as an ingredient in their products. In fact, this is true of all mainstream companies including Boots and Superdrug’s own brand, who operate poorly both in terms of animal and environmental welfare as well as in their ethics towards treatment of their workers. It’s interesting to note how these factors are all linked – disrespect for one generally indicates the same disregard for the others.
Ethicalconsumer.org is a helpful website with an extensive database of cosmetic brands, which are ranked in order of their environmental and animal-friendly status. Subscribers can view full reports on companies to reveal whether they test on animals, which ingredients they use and how they treat their labour force. According to ethicalconsumer.org the best all-round scoring toothpaste is Greenpeople’s Organic Vegan Toothpaste.
Hair and body
There could be up to 20 ingredients from animals in standard shampoo and conditioners alone, often hiding under the guise of “Amino acids”, “Panthenol” or “Vitamin B.” Along with these unethically sourced ingredients are a plethora of chemical preservatives and foaming agents that have been proven to be skin-irritant, carcinogenic and have an unbalancing effect on our hormones, which in time often leads to breast cancer in women and testosterone problems in men.
In my experience, most vegan hair products and body care companies are conscious not only about animal welfare, but also about the well-being of their customers. A lot of vegan products tend to be free of dangerous chemicals such as parabens, sodium laurelth sulfate and friends (with such unpronounceable names that they are often reduced to abbreviations such as PEG.) Try new vegan online shops to discover a variety of reasonably priced, chemical and cruelty-free bath, body and hair care products.
It’s time to ditch those cruel chemical nasties and let the intelligence of nature take care of the dirty stuff! Following this guide, next time you’ll be bathing you’ll be truly relaxing knowing that your bathroom is an animal, environment and human-friendly zone.