Water use can be direct, for example when you turn on the tap or flush the toilet. But water use can also be indirect for producing the goods and services you buy, use and consume every day (also known as virtual water).
Read on to learn how to save water in the bathroom (be sure to check out our tips for the laundry and energy use), and take our Water Footprint Calculator to find out how much water you use directly and indirectly each day.
- Put a bucket in the shower while you're waiting for the water to warm up, and use the water you catch for watering plants, flushing the toilet or cleaning.
- Install a low-flow showerhead. It may cost you some money up front, but your water conservation efforts will save you money down the road. Conventional showerheads flow at 5 gallons per minute or more, whereas low-flow showerheads typically flow at 2.5 gallons per minute (or less!).
- Spend less time in the shower. If you lose track of time, bring a radio into the bathroom and time yourself by how many songs play while you're in there. Try to get your shower time down to one song.
- Turn off the water if you shave or brush your teeth in the shower to save time. Considering how many minutes the shower will run if you don’t, you're letting a lot of water go down the drain.
- Think of baths as an occasional treat and stick to showers. The average bath uses 35 to 50 gallons of water, whereas a 10-minute (or less) shower with a low-flow showerhead only uses 25 gallons.
- Turn off the water while you brush your teeth and shave. Considering how many minutes the faucet will run if you don’t, you're letting a lot of water go down the drain.
- Install low-flow faucet aerators in your sinks - you can save gallons of water each time you use the tap. Conventional faucets flow as high as 3 gallons per minute, but low-flow faucets flow at 1.5 gallons per minute.
- Fix those leaky faucets. That constant drip is more than just annoying, it’s also a huge waste of water. You can lose more than 20 gallons of water per day from a single drippy faucet!
- Get a low-flow toilet. Flushing the toilet is the biggest water user in the house. Older, conventional toilets can use 5 to 7 gallons per flush, but low-flow models use as little as 1.6 gallons per flush. When you consider that the average person flushes five times per day, the gallons can really add up.
- If you can’t replace your higher volume toilet, put a plastic bottle filled with water in your toilet tank to reduce the amount of water used per flush.
- To check for a toilet leak, put dye or food coloring into the tank. If color appears in the bowl without flushing, there’s a leak that should be repaired.
- “If it’s yellow, let it mellow.” The saying may be cliché, but it’s good advice. If you're grossed out by the “yellow,” just put the toilet lid down.
- Don’t flush things down the toilet to dispose of them. Throw tissues and other bathroom waste in the garbage can, which doesn’t require gallons of water.