The 5 Best Ways to Save Water in the Bathroom

“The sound of water is worth more than all the poets words."

~Octazio Paz

Your Bathroom Habits Matter

Your habits in the bathroom or for my European friends, in the toilet, are all about water.  Simple changes in your habits can result in big savings

Let’s dive right into these tips and get you saving water, money and of course the planet…

The Bathtub

I know that a soak in a tub can be an incredibly relaxing experience, but it also uses a huge amount of water.

The standard bathtub holds 42 gallons of water, but the average bath uses approximately 30 gallons not including the water that gets drained off and re-filled when it turns cold.

Avoid overfilling the tub and fill the tub with less water than you normally do, you can always add more.

Set the stopper before you turn on the faucet and adjust the water temperature as the tub is filling.  Do not let water go straight down the drain.

If you are upgrading your bathtub, consider tubs that have an inline water heater to keep the water warm without needing to add more hot water.

The Shower

Showers use a lot less water than baths do especially if you keep the shower to under ten minutes.  Taking a shower uses approximately 2.5 gallons of water a minute. A five minute or less shower could save up to 1050 gallons a month!

Install WaterSense Showerheads

If you opt to upgrade your showerhead you’ll want to look for showerheads that have the WaterSense label.  The EPA’s WaterSense website has this to say about water-saving showerheads;

"Water-saving showerheads that earn the WaterSense label must demonstrate that they use no more than 2.0 gpm. The WaterSense label also ensures that these products provide a satisfactory shower that is equal to or better than conventional showerheads on the market. EPA worked with a variety of stakeholders—including consumers who tested various showerheads—to develop criteria for water coverage and spray intensity. All products bearing the WaterSense label—including water–efficient showerheads—must be independently certified to ensure they meet EPA water efficiency and performance criteria."

A highly-efficiency showerhead can save up to 2,700 gallons of water a year

Tips for saving water in the shower...

  • Purchase showerheads with a rating of gallons per minute (gpm) between 0.5 and 2.0 gpm.
  • Look for a showerheads w/ a dual-control lever so you can reduce or turn off the water as needed.
  • Keep your shower to five minutes—perhaps the toughest challenge of all for shower lovers.
  • As the shower is warming up place a bucket under the flow to capture water that would otherwise go down the drain. You can use the water for your house plants and garden.
  • Take shorter showers. To keep you on track use a shower timer.
  • Turn the water off when lathering up and turn it back on to rinse.
  • If you do not absolutely need to take a 2nd (or 3rd) shower, consider skipping it altogether.

The Sink

When you turn on the faucet on do not open the spigot to the full position but instead gradually increase the flow, so you only use enough water to get the job done.

If you are replacing your faucet, consider purchasing a single lever mixing tap that will help you adjust the temperature more quickly.

Save Water While Brushing Teeth

Depending on the faucet (gallons per minute) leaving it running while brushing your teeth can waste between 2 to 4 gallons of water per minute. The next time you are scrubbing your pearly whites kill the water and only use it to rinse with.

Three minutes of teeth brushing, twice a day at an average of 3 gallons/minute equals a potential loss of 2,190 gallons per year. 

Pro Tip: Do not use plastic disposable toothbrushes, as they add to the waste stream.  Instead use a high-quality bamboo toothbrush like these Natural Carved Bamboo Toothbrushes by Oralogy.

Save Water While Shaving

Don’t just let the water run while you’re shaving. Instead stopper the sink and use the smallest amount of water as possible for rinsing off your razor.  Or even better yet use a cup filled with water to rinse your razor in instead.

Pro Tip: Do not use disposable razors, just like plastic toothbrushes waste stream.  Instead use a high-quality bamboo and metal reusable like this Double Edge Safety Razor with Natural Bamboo Handle  by Bambaw.

Save Water While Face & Hand Washing

Use neutral-pH, pure or vegetable-based soaps,  like these soaps by Puracy.

Pro Tip: Don’t use synthetic face sponges made from non-renewables instead go the natural route.

Install Water Aerators

Think of an aerator as a tiny sieve that separates the water flow into numerous tiny streams which introduces the air into the water flow. 

Aerators are a great option if you cannot afford to replace your showerhead or faucets, they are easy to fit to your existing fixtures, and can save you a boatload of water.  You can find a variety of  aerators to choose from by Clicking Here or on any of the images below:

The Toilet

According to the EPA toilets are typically the biggest user of water in a household accounting for approximately 30 percent of indoor water consumption.

Replace your old inefficient toilet (3.5 to 7 gallons per flush) with a high efficient WaterSense label toilet. Toilets manufactured after 1993 toilets use 1.6 gallons per flush and an ultra-high-efficiency toilet can save you up to 13,000 gallons annually and the selection to choose from is huge. Click here to see your options.

If you really want to go for the green consider a Dual-flush style toilet. Depending on the amount of waste you need to flush it gives you two options.  The first button delivers .9 gpf gallons for most normal sized loads and the second button 1.6 gpf for those occasional larger ones.  These toilets have become so efficient that the .9 gpf work for almost all flushes.

Pro Tip: Do not use the toilet as a waste basket. If you can put the used tissue in a wastebasket please do and avoid extra flushing of the toilet.

Fix Leaks!

I mention this tip in my post How to Use a Washing Machine to Save Water & Money that the average household's leaks can account for nearly 10,000 gallons of water wasted every year. Obviously, not all this loss comes from the laundry room, but you should regularly check for and repair leaks immediately when you find them.

One drip per second can equal between 5 to 20 gallons of water wasted in a twenty-four period

Pro Tip: A great tip for testing your toilet for leaks is to put a toilet dye tablet or a few drops of food coloring in its tank. Wait 30 minutes then check to see if the dye has seeped into the bowl, if it does then you have a leak that needs to be found and repaired.

Hang Bath Towels to Dry

This is another tip I mention in my post How to Use a Washing Machine to Save Water & Money and it’s worth repeating again:

This tip makes total sense to most people, but to others they must absolutely wash a towel after only using it once. If you are washing towels only after one use, please consider increasing the number of times you use it before washing it.

Towels, especially if you are using them to bathe, they are absorbing clean water off your body, so they are not technically dirty, just wet. Make sure you have a good place to hang the towel, so it fully dries by the next time you need to use it. Usually washing towels one a week is sufficient.

That's it, easy actions you can take immediately to reduce the amount of water going down the drain.  For other ways to reduce your water consumption check out these other blog posts on the topic:  What is a Greywater System & Hand Washing Dishes vs Using a Dishwasher.

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