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The Frugal Bathroom

By on March 9, 2007

photo by dogbomb
toilet paper
Let’s face it. There is guerilla frugality going on in the bathroom. Yes. I’m going THERE. Are there any sacred frugality topics? HA

I’m not going to talk about the toilet paper over or under the roll or the seat up or down. We all know which is the “correct” way. ๐Ÿ˜‰ A simple peek into a frugal bathroom tells quite a story.

You know you’re frugal when….

*You aren’t sure how many times you’ve reused the bath towels and contemplate whether it’s time to wash them and you decide not yet.
*Your bathroom reading materials consist of free magazines.
*You know what mellow yellow means.
*You have a collection of saved soap.
*You use free perfume sample tear outs from magazines and tape them inside toilet paper rolls or use them in bathroom drawers.
*You reuse dryer sheets to clean glass shower doors or to clean the sink.
*You share bath water or share showers.
*You cut open toothpaste tubes to get every last bit.
*You dilute shampoos and have perfected a formula to the perfect blend of water and shampoo.
*You stop the water while brushing.
*You have enough bathroom products stockpiled for the next three years and people shop at your house, and if you do run out of something, you wonder how long you can make do.
*You have enough free samples to equal several full sized products and sometimes part with them to give as gifts.
*You save old shower curtains to use as drop cloths and the magnets for the fridge.
*You have laundry hanging to dry on the shower rod.
*Plunger sits in a leftover plastic food container.
*Plastic grocery bags line your waste basket.
*You have an old toilet or sink in your garden.
*You make your own bathroom cleaning products.
*You have a stash of old toothbrushes to use for cleaning.
*Your bathroom rugs are handmade.
*You have a funnel in your bathroom to refill containers.
*You time your showers.
*You save toilet paper rolls for crafts and christmas crackers.
*Your bathrobe has seen better days.
*Washcloths end up great rags.
*Looking around at your bathroom, you can spot at least 2 items that are being reused or were bought secondhand.

Lastly, you know you’re pretty radical when you consider charging a cover fee to enter the bathroom as a new fun way to save, and when you want to enforce toilet paper rationing. ๐Ÿ˜€

Tell me all about your frugal bathroom. ๐Ÿ™‚


  1. Darlene

    3/9/2007 at 3:17 pm

    Love that tp graphic!

    Lol, I am guilty of many of these.
    Everyone has their own towel & rod to hang it on. They get washed after a few uses, never ever used just once unless you are a guest & spending just one night.
    Old shower curtains do get used again and those magnets work great.
    Old toothbrushes are one of my favorite cleaning tools, dry for crevices in wood furniture and wet for bath fixtures etc.
    Soap slivers do sit in a cup til melded together and then used.
    Lol my plunger in the cool whip bowl made it on your list.:-D
    I do think I can take a shower faster than anyone, ready set go~

    In closing~
    Did you know that washing the soap scum out of the tub too often wears the finish off the tub? Really! Don’t ya know?! Trust me.
    Oh, for the record, it’s tp over and seat down. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  2. mrsvargas

    3/9/2007 at 3:48 pm

    I laughed my butt of, (really, keep up with the humor I could use to lose a few more inches). So many things scored a check in our house. We have 2.5 bathrooms, and each one has various frugal methods in use. I keep the powder room frugality hidden the most since its the downstairs bathroom where most company would use. But believe me, dont open the cabinets!!

  3. baxjul

    3/9/2007 at 3:58 pm

    I almost thought that maybe you were in my house before you wrote that! I do so many of those things!

  4. emily_hope

    3/9/2007 at 5:50 pm

    I must say some of those made me smile. Some of them I have done. I’ve cut open the toothpaste tube, we reuse bath towels, I’ve diluted shampoos, I have a stash of old toothbrushes, and….TP goes over and please put the seat down!

  5. Autumn

    3/9/2007 at 10:30 pm

    Hey thanks for all the ideas. But I wish I knew what “mellow yellow” meant. LOL

  6. Autumn

    3/9/2007 at 10:30 pm

    Now that I think about it. I may have an idea what it means…. yuck. LOL ๐Ÿ˜€

  7. AheeK

    3/9/2007 at 10:40 pm

    Spooky….it’s like you’re in my house. ๐Ÿ˜€ And doesn’t everyone use plastic grocery bags in their trash cans?

  8. Stella

    3/10/2007 at 12:32 pm

    Yikes, have you been peeking in my cabinets? I have soooo many free samples it is disturbing. What is worse it that I never seem to use them so the pile grows. Last weekend I had to organize the products into a new drawer in the closet because they had outgrown the cabinet space.
    I am a plastic bagger too ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. Michelle S.

    3/10/2007 at 1:47 pm

    I do 12 things from your list. I don’t even think of them as being frugal things but rather what *everyone* does. I mean it makes perfect sense to me to use those plastic shopping bags as trash barrel liners. I can’t imagine *not* doing that.

    I looooove using old toothbrushes for cleaning. I used one today, as a matter of fact, to clean out the areas around the burners on my stove. They’re perfect for detail cleaning.

    When my towels are too ratty or worn to use as bath towels, I cut them up and use them as rags.

    I always save tp rolls for kids’ craft projects and to slip over wrapping paper tubes to keep the paper from unraveling.

    I won’t bore you with the rest of the things I do, but there are several.

    And I am in the minority on this one, but the tp should go *under* the roll, and if you leave the seat up, you risk your life around here. ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. Maggi

    3/10/2007 at 4:36 pm

    So many things on that list I do. Its funny we all do the same things. I use the toothbrushes for cleaning or for brushing the detergent in clothing that is stained.
    The shower curtain I wash and dry and reuse until it can’t be washed anymore. Then I fold and save for a drop cloth for painting, oil changes.
    Free mags by the toilet. Oh yes. You’ll have a laugh at this one. I was going through a box and found my kids “Where’s Waldo Books”. They are in the basket now. Remember my sons range from 26 years old to 19 years old. I found they’re Dr. Seuss books also. But not putting them in there. I’m glad we have two bathrooms. My bath robe I have had for about 10 years, Its not tattered yet. I use the plastic bags for the wastebaskets, going to the farmers market, and use also for when I am frying chicken to shake it in. So much more on that list I do. lol

  11. Adam

    3/10/2007 at 5:37 pm

    Am I the only one who washes the tub while showering to save water?

  12. Kerry Dale Hancock Jr

    3/11/2007 at 6:52 am

    Wow! This is all really good. I will be reading more.

    Kerry Dale Hancock Jr
    messenger in Christ

  13. Darlene

    3/11/2007 at 11:33 am

    Hey Adam, you’re my kind of guy! You’re welcome to come shower at my house. BYOSB (bring your own scrubbing bubbles) I’m never in there long enough to clean anything but myself, lol.

  14. foxxyroxie

    3/14/2007 at 5:40 am

    Yeah, I see our house in a lot of these. I was hoping you weren’t going to the using washrags for toilet paper subject. But I will… I have a very serious, but now kind of funny because we all laugh about it story.

    My friend has never been the best of housekeeper. In her house, any towel, rag, even clothing can be used to clean up a spill in her house whether it be food, drink, etc. (though it’s not as bad as it used to be).

    Well needless to say, she also is notorious for running out of toilet paper. One day when her brother was there on a visit, he had to ‘do his duty’. Not having anything to wipe with, he grabbed the first wash cloth he found. It’s really scary, but someone had used it earlier, but he found it acceptable to use anyway since it was either use it or not wipe at all… ICK!!! Well he wiped and rinsed it out. He noticed that his bottom end was beginning to sting. After going back to the living room with the rest of the family, it really got the best of him. He made a comment that his bottom was stinging after wiping his bottom with the wash cloth. It was only then that he found out who had used the wash cloth before him. His sister’s roommate had used it to clean up a spill…. he had spilled hot sauce!!!

    Needless to say, he hardly ever runs out of toilet paper and if he does, he always has baby wipes as back up!!

  15. Sara Noel

    3/14/2007 at 9:21 am

    Autumn, I laughed at what you said. lol We don’t practice that over here, but if you go through the forums, you can learn who does. lol

    Adam, It’s possible that you’re more radical than I am. ๐Ÿ˜€

    Kerry, Thanks for visiting.

  16. John Lampard

    3/15/2007 at 9:14 am

    Stopping the water while brushing is pretty much common sense in a dry place like Australia… love the bit about a cover fee tho… ought to consider it… ๐Ÿ˜‰

  17. bridge

    3/20/2007 at 4:46 pm

    Very Very Good Bathroom Article!! I do most of those!!!

    I also squeeze my TP roll before putting it on the holder. It makes you think before you go using too much!!

  18. Marie78

    3/24/2007 at 1:21 am

    I can totally relate to this article. I like the idea of taping the perfume inserts to the toilet paper roll. I also thought everyone used plastic grocery bags to line the bathroom garbage can :).

  19. Saving Simply

    4/10/2007 at 8:46 pm

    Regarding timed showers… anybody out there able to beat 59 seconds???? (that includes getting behind your ears too…)

  20. W. Herdman

    7/1/2007 at 10:22 pm

    Frugality can be beautiful as well. My toothbrush holder is a cut-crystal glass, the lights over the mirror are hung with quartz crystal drops, the carved wooden mirror frame is gilded and my makeup is hidden away in a beaded and lace covered box. All items gleaned from thrift store finds!
    The makeup box is a simple wooden one covered with the remnants of a cut-up wedding dress I bought for $5. My guest towels are trimmed with lace from the same dress.

  21. Judi Dial

    8/29/2007 at 6:33 pm

    I counted 11 on that list that I do. I don’t use dryer sheets. I clean the mirrors and chrome with a chamois that lives in a ceramic pot under the sink.

    I used to use the tp roll as a dog toy, but no more dog. These days, it gets used to hide used nasty paper (lipstick smeared, etc.) in the trash, bundle up electrical cords, or just gets tossed.

    I can’t do the perfume thing..allergies. And I give all the samples to a refugee group I know. Food stamps covers food here, but not soap, toothpaste, etc.

    I DO clean the tub as I get out, doesn’t everyone?. Spritz the cleaner on, grab the chamois, hit the mirrors and chrome, turn on the vent and rinse off the soap in the tub/shower, (it gets squeegeed about once a month). Fast, easy, & quick!

    We only have one bath, so everyone uses it. (DH turned the other into a darkroom.)

    Grocery bags line the trash can about twice a month, so about 1/2 the time. [I’m in the midst of trying to not to get plastic bags from stores at all, so….]

    Thanks for the giggle!


  22. Carol_af

    8/8/2008 at 3:56 am

    Familiar with many of these, and learned a few things too!

    My bathroom garbage bin is a damaged 1910 porcelain chamber pot. I turn the huge crack to the wall and line it with a supermarket bag. No one sees the damage. It has a matching soap dish (full of soap scraps) and toothbrush holder. The toothbrush holder has a chip on the rim, but again I turn this to wall and out of sight. Frugality can indeed be beautiful.

  23. Lise Beaulieu

    11/10/2008 at 9:32 pm

    Hello Sara,
    I didn’t realise how frugal I was until I read the bathroom article.
    But as for Adam who washes his bath while showering, I wonder if he tried what I do. After I am done my shower, I pass a small squeegie over my tub surround to avoid water stains and mildew. Doing the same on my bathroom mirror also saves a lot of time and cleaning products. What can clean better than steam?
    Hanmer, On CA

  24. Miria

    12/1/2008 at 5:42 pm

    I’m afraid I may qualify myself as the most radical frugal person of all time with this post, but here goes–Dental floss can be washed and re-used. Just ball it up in the palm of your hand, put a smidgeon of soapy water on it, and scrub a little. Rinse, dry, and it’s ready to go again. I just wrap it around the floss container to dry it. Next day, it’s as good as new. I did not read this anywhere; it just popped into my frugal head the other day!

  25. Betsy

    1/9/2009 at 12:57 am

    This cracked me up! Have you been spying on me?

  26. mrmushroom

    3/7/2009 at 9:41 pm

    I too am “guilty”
    Of many of the above but not the perfume”(allergy). I am not good St saving water -i admit I live in an apartment and don’t pay for
    It directly.
    But no-one suggested baking soda instead of many cleaners, and as toothpaste(unless you have sensitive
    I also use plastic bags. I can’t justify bringing them home if I don’t. I have adozen bags3

  27. hopus950

    4/8/2009 at 12:45 am

    Adam, I’m right there with you. Spray down the walls and tub with whatever cleaner you use, wait 5 minutes, scrub everything down with a damp rag, and rinse it all of with the water at the beginning of your shower. That way, you get to take a shower in a clean shower and don’t have to smell like ammonia when you get done cleaning.
    There are only 7 things on that list that I haven’t ever done.
    I normally cut an empty gallon milk jug in half and use that as a plunger holder. Oh, and in my house, the TP goes under because it’s harder for the cat to unroll and destroy.

    Thanks for the great ideas, everybody,

  28. marie

    4/14/2009 at 5:07 pm

    a few things to add to your list
    Taking sailor showers-wet self down, turn off water, suds down, then rinse off.

    save shower water and use it to flush toilet- we have to conserve water during the dry months

    have 5 gallon bucket in shower to catch first cold water and then using it to water plants

    use “butt rags” old washclothes for personal cleaning after toileting/diaper change instead of using disposable wipes

    use baking soda/vinegar to wash hair.

    baking soda to brush teeth and facial scrub

  29. mummy2

    5/28/2009 at 12:12 pm


    Bath towels are shared, 2 kids 1 towel ( After bath is done we hear “Wheres the towel?? I still laugh when I hear it) My Husband and I 1 towel. When towels get too smelly they are used as bath mats.

    I always clean the house and save the bath for last so I can strip down and clean the bath and my self at the same time.

    Baking Soda has been a tooth cleaner for so long I can’t remember when it was started.

    We just replaced some pillows and I took the plastic bags from them to line the waste paper baskets.

  30. Wayne

    7/22/2009 at 9:27 pm

    Save water, save soap, and create less mess. Virtually everone makes an unnecessary mess when they wash their hands by wetting their hands before they apply soap. This results in dripping water on the countertop and wastes water by running the water before the soap is in hand. Furthermore, it unnessarily softens barsoap by dripping water on the soap when reaching for the bar. Instead, try applying the soap to your hand before turning on the water and see for yourself: Less mess, less water, and less wasting of soap.

    Thank you

    • Kimmy

      11/20/2011 at 5:52 pm

      Although you use a little bit more water if you wet your hands before applying soap your hands will get cleaner faster. And you’ll ultimately use less soap each time.

  31. Bathroom Mirror Manufacturing

    7/23/2009 at 7:30 pm

    Love it… I clean my tub when taking a shower. However, my toilet paper is never correct.

  32. Pingback: DIY: Ideas for Homemade Bathroom Cleaners | Live Great On Less

  33. LuxLivingFrugalis

    9/30/2009 at 8:36 am

    I hit every one of these with the exception of my toilet brush sits in a nice ceramic vase I got at a garage sale for a dime! It’s pretty and matches the decor of the room.

    Oh and I don’t have an old sink or toilet in my garden but I do have an old clawfoot bathtub out there and a 1930’s model wringer washing machine! Close enough!

    Great post!
    .-= LuxLivingFrugalisยดs last blog ..Took Long Enough =-.

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