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6 Tips for Saving Shower Water

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Shorter, smarter showers are the secret to conserving water. Here are a few ways to make it easy!


How long are your showers? If you don’t know, it might be time to re-evaluate your routine and start shaving off some time. By doing so, you’ll save water and the energy used in heating the water, both of which are good for the environment — and for your budget.

The shower is the third-largest consumer of water in the average American household, accounting for about 16.8% of household water usage1, and a 10-minute shower could translate to around 25 gallons of water down the drain, if you have a standard showerhead2.

A few tips and tricks can help you pare down your shower time and maximize your water usage, and we promise, you won’t be any less clean or refreshed afterwards!

  1. Time your typical shower, then set a goal to shorten it to a certain length. Work on shaving off one minute at a time, until you reach your goal. Or, invest in a water-monitoring tool, like a Water Pebble. This little device sits on the shower floor by the drain and encourages you to use less water in your shower through a series of lights that change color, warning you when your shower should be halfway through, and when you’ve used too much water. Using your first shower taken with the device as the benchmark, you’ll eventually take a shower that’s one-third less the amount of time as in the past.
  2. Install a low-flow showerhead, particularly if you live in an older home that hasn’t been updated recently. Look for one that has an output of less than 2 gallons per minute. Most low-flow showerheads have aerators so that you still get the performance and feel of a traditional showerhead, but the benefit of saving water.
  3. Outfit your shower with a water-saving valve. Look for an easy-to-use switch that can “pause” the water while you shave your legs, shampoo your hair or do other tasks that don’t require you to be under the spray (Recyclebank member Deecie says she keeps a bowl in the shower so that she can rinse her razor blade in the water while the showerhead is off). Other valves, like the Evolve Ladybug, senses when the water is hot enough after you’ve turned it on, and will slow the flow so that no hot water is wasted, and you’ll know immediately when to get in.
  4. Catch the cold water. As your shower is warming up, stick a bucket underneath the flow to catch that cool water. You can use the water you collect to water houseplants or an outdoor garden.
  5. Take some shortcuts… Think through your routine and determine where you might be able to cut some corners (without compromising cleanliness, of course!). Do you need to wash your hair every day? When you do wash it, could you use a combination shampoo-conditioner?
  6. …or even consider taking fewer showers. If you shower daily, you might consider cutting back to showering every other day. Some experts say it’s actually better for your skin and hair, and not showering doesn’t have to mean sacrificing your hygiene: You might try dry shampoos if your hair seems greasy, and use the sink to wash your face, underarms and any other body parts that need daily attention.

How do you save water in the shower? Share your tips in the comments below!
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Sponsored by Unilever, Makers of Suave and Dove

Unilever is proud to partner with Recyclebank. Together, companies like Unilever and consumers like you can make small choices that add up to make a big difference. To read more about Unilever’s sustainability efforts, visit Unilever.com.


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About the Author
Jessica Harlan
Jessica Harlan

I love finding new ways to green my family's life as painlessly as possible, and sharing those ideas with folks who want to do the same.

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  • Dorothy W. 8 months ago
    #4 - Catch the cold water -- I've been doing that for years and use the water for my plants, outdoor fountain, pet water bowls, etc. My water bill is always under $15.
  • mary B. 1 year ago
    Turn the water on,get wet,turn water off,soap down,face first,feet last(remember keep eyes closed)turn water on,rinse,done.
  • Shalee R. 2 years ago
    like the shorter shower idea and we save $ that way cause were on propane
  • Susan S. 3 years ago
    I shower every other day, time my shower and turn off the water when shampooing, conditioning and shaving.
  • Judy J. 3 years ago
    I get wet , turn off the water and then I soap up all over and then turn the water back on to rinse off.
    I like the idea of saving the cold water in a bucket for plants etc.
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