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10 Products for Greener Grey Water

10 Products for Greener Grey Water

Since our travels began on September 2nd 2014, Guillaume and I have been trying to “green” ourselves, starting with our greywater. I’d love to be able to say that all of the products that go down our drain are 100% biodegradable, so I’ve begun switching out our chemical products for biodegradable alternatives. The challenge? I use A LOT of products.

Our Greywater Set Up

Guillaume and I do not have black water, as we use a composting toilet. Our greywater is the “waste” water coming from our shower and kitchen sink. In a campground, it doesn’t matter if it’s grey or black, waste water drains into the sewer. When we’re off-grid, we use a 15 gallon portable greywater tank, which we can dump at any appropriate place. Until now, the appropriate place has always been the sewer because of the products we use. I’d like that to change.



This list contains all of the products I would like to replace in my tiny house. The products in green are the ones in which I’ve successfully found a biodegradable alternative.

1) Shampoo* – 365 Lavender Blend / oily + normal hair
2) Conditioner* – Acure Lemongrass + Argon Stem Cell
3) Body Soap* – Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soap – Lavender
Shaving Cream – Men’s
Deodorant – Men’s and Women’s
4) Acne Cream* – 100% Pure Spot Treatment
5) Face Wash* – Desert Essence Thoroughly Clean Face Wash / Oily & Combo Skin
Face Lotion
6) Body LotionDr. Bronner’s Magic Lotion – Lavender Coconut
Eye Cream
7) Toner* – Acure Facial Toner / Balancing Rose + Red Tea
Cleaning Supplies:
8) All Purpose Spray* Method All-Purpose Cleaner – Cucumber
9) Dishwashing Liquid* – Ultra Dishmate – Natural Almond
Toilet Cleaner
Laundry Soap
Beauty Products
10) Mascara*100% Pure Fruit Pigmented Black Tea Ultra-Lengthening Mascara
Eye shadow
Eye Liner
Eyebrow pencil
Nail Polish
Nail Polish Remover
Perfume – Men’s and Women’s 
*Packaging claims product is biodegradable
*Website claims product is biodegradable

Where do you find biodegradable products?

It’s actually very simple. You can shop online or you can go to a health food store. Whole Foods is a great resource, and usually they have at least one staff member dedicated to help you choose natural products.

How can you tell a product is biodegradable?

Ah yes, well you need to be a chemist. Not really, but this is a little tricky. You could do a massive amount of online research to learn how to decipher ingredient lists, trust the employees at your local health food store or pick products that have “100% biodegradable” or “readily biodegradable” written on the container. This last suggestion will limit you because many products do NOT add the biodegradable categorization to their packaging, even if the product is biodegradable.

greywater product
Dr. Bronner‘s is 100% Biodegradable

My method? I tried my best. That’s all anyone can do. I researched online. I asked my health food store staff. But mostly, I took preference to products that were labeled as biodegradable.

Do biodegradable products really work?

The easy answer is: Yes. The longer answer is: You need to find the right product for you. I’ve found some biodegradable products to have a displeasing smell or texture. I had to stop using one shampoo because it actually made my hair feel greasier AFTER the shower. But, for the most part, I’ve been happy with the products I’ve chosen. Like anything, it takes time and patience.

Shopping Tips:

1). Some biodegradable products are multi-purpose, like Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps. They boast that you can use this soap for 18 different things! As a tiny houser, this is a total win.

2). Home remedies also work! White vinegar and water, mixed together in a spray bottle, is an excellent affordable cleaning solution. Coconut oil is a great moisturizer.

3). Biodegradable products are more expensive, but there are affordable products as well. Choose products with simplistic packaging. Companies that care more about what’s inside rather than on the bottle are usually going to gain my respect. You can also look around at your local farmer’s market. Often there will be at least one booth for natural soaps, lotions, etc. Ask them if their product is 100% biodegradable.

4). Read the directions. Many natural products are concentrated, therefore you can buy a smaller bottle and it will last you as long as a large chemically-enhanced bottle (another win for tiny housers).

3). As a bonus, many biodegradable products are cruelty-free, vegan, manufactured with renewable energy and contained less cancerous materials.



  1. Mary
    October 7, 2015 / 9:31 pm

    Try using an eye dropper for the Dr. Bronners soap. It helps conserve and not waste. 😉

  2. August 14, 2015 / 5:42 pm

    Has anyone considered the GWRS system? Greywater Recycing Systems is one of the best systems available right now because it addresses issues of safety, functionality, cost efficiency and easy installation.

    Found it here:

    Anyone else have experience with another greywater recycling system?

  3. Amy
    May 29, 2015 / 2:39 pm

    I was wondering what you do about sunscreen. I am not aware (and unsure if it’s possible) of any sunscreen product that is biodegradable?

  4. Amy
    May 28, 2015 / 8:52 am

    What do you do about suncreen and products with SPF? I don’t think it’s possible for them to be biodegradable.

    • May 29, 2015 / 3:07 pm

      Well, there are many biodegradable sunscreens out there (you can just do a search online to find plenty). We just use those 🙂
      SPF is just the rating of how much the sunscreen protects from sunburn-producing UV rays. It doesn’t make the product non-biodegradable.

    • Tanya
      November 3, 2015 / 5:32 am

      I’ve started wearing UOF clothing instead of using as much sunscreen. And I live in the South, so it’s hot, humid and disgusting in the summer. I wet the arms of the long sleeve stuff I wear and use one of thise neck cooler things to stay cool so I don’t get overheated. I also nkw wear a very wide-brimmed sun hat (in a tech material-also rated with UPF) so I don’t use face sunscreen. That way I’m not outting chemicals on me and in my greywater system.

  5. Kate
    March 6, 2015 / 10:35 am

    Have you tried Shaklee products? They have been making green products since before being green was cool and they make everything from home needs and personal care products to make-up and even nutritional supplements. I’m in my mid 30’s and they are the only thing my parents used with 7 children on a self sustaining farm. All of our grey water drained directly out of the back of the house into our “backyard” and we always had green grass to play in. I unfortunately don’t use their products near as much as I should now but I swear by the Basic-H is has literally a 1000 uses from cleaning to bug repellent, just google it and abundant lists will pop up. You could easy replace multiple products with it.

    • July 21, 2015 / 3:02 pm

      I will second that. I am a Shaklee rep and their cleaning products not only work really well, most of them are also biodegradable..Basic-H will pretty much do it all though and its abour $10 for a bottle that would last ya a year at the least.

  6. March 4, 2015 / 1:38 pm

    For biodegradable deodorant: we use the natural crystal variety, usually get it from the natural food store. It goes on with water, doesn’t clog your pores, has nothing but natural mineral salts and actually WORKS!

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