Five Ways to Take Shorter Showers and Save Water

By Angela Tague in Thinking Sustainably

You know conserving energy keeps your utility bills down and limits our use of fossil fuels. But how does water factor in? Remember that it takes energy to treat, transport, and heat water, so it’s a good idea to use as little as possible to limit the power you use to get it. Let’s talk about your morning (and bedtime) routine, and how you can take shorter showers for a fabulous greener living goal.

If everyone in the United States—all 320 million of us—reduced their average shower time by one minute each time, it could save a whopping 165 billion gallons of water (plus the energy used to prepare it for usage) annually, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). It’s easy to get in on that. Here are a few ideas to help you reduce shower time.

Create a Shower Playlist

A few upbeat tunes are just the thing to wake you up and speed up your showering pace. Compile two or three favorite songs on your iPod and jam out while you clean up. Aim for a set list that runs fewer than eight minutes long, which is the average time for a shower in the United States. Each minute you can cut saves water and energy!

Use an Egg Timer

Dig that old cooking timer out of the kitchen cupboard, give it a new spot on the bathroom vanity, and challenge yourself to beat the clock. Or, use the stopwatch on your smartphone. On days you don’t need to wash your hair, or shave, see if you can beat your previous time by lathering and rinsing a little faster (but efficiently).

Stick to a Routine

shower tips

I find that I’m in and out of the shower much more quickly when I do everything in the same order each time. To maximize this time, I do two things at once. I start by wetting and lathering my hair with shampoo, allowing it to cleanse and moisturize while I wash the rest of my body. Next I rinse my hair and add the conditioner. While it soaks, I shave. Then, after one final head-to-toe rinse, I’m ready to go. If you stick to a specific routine, you’re not wasting precious shower time.

Try a Two-Cycle Shower

The warm stream of water may feel great against your neck, but you’re not doing your electric bill any favors this way. It’s easy to break your shower routine into two quick parts if you don’t keep the water running between them. Start by rinsing your entire body, making sure to get your hair wet. Then turn off the water. Apply your hair product, body soap, and shave. Turn the water back on to give your body a final rinse.

Bribe Yourself to Hurry

Make your post-shower time extra indulgent. Have a steamy cup of coffee, a plush robe, and favorite podcast ready to play as soon as you get out of the shower. The faster you clean up, the sooner you can pamper yourself.

If you can’t imagine cutting back on your time in the shower, why not consider installing a low-flow shower head so you use less water? Or, look into a greywater system that cleanses and recycles your shower and laundry wastewater to flush the toilets in your home. To keep things especially simple, use a bucket to collect the cool water that comes out when you first turn on your faucet. This water can easily be used to fill a pet water bowl or water your garden.

How do you reduce shower time? Tell us your tips and ideas for how to take shorter showers on Twitter!

Image Source: Flickr | Wikimedia Commons

This article was brought to you by Tom’s of Maine. The views and opinions expressed by the author do not reflect the position of Tom’s of Maine.

Why It’s Good

It's never too soon to show your children how to conserve water and energy usage. By taking shorter showers, you're putting less strain on your electric bill, setting a good example for your family, and reducing your dependence on fossil fuels in the process.