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20 Ways to Conserve Water at Home

20 Ways to Conserve Water at Home

March 22 is World Water Day! Read and share the following tips, and do your part to help reduce our overall water consumption!

With more and more areas struggling with droughts, conserving water is more important than ever. Even if you’re not living in a drought-stricken region, cutting back on water use also means a lower utility bill and helps conserve a precious resource.

Whether you’re ready to cut back on your showers or replace your lawn with water-wise plants, there are lots of big and small ways that you can conserve water around the home. Don’t worry if you can’t do everything on this list. Just pick a few things to start with, and do more as you can. Even a few small changes can add up to hundreds of gallons in water savings each year! Here are 20 water-saving tips to get you going…

1. Shower Bucket. Instead of letting the water pour down the drain, stick a bucket under the faucet while you wait for your shower water to heat up. You can use the water for flushing the toilet or watering your plants.

2.  Turn off the tap while brushing your teeth. Water comes out of the average faucet at 2.5 gallons per minute. Don’t let all that water go down the drain while you brush! Turn off the faucet after you wet your brush, and leave it off until it’s time to rinse.

3. Turn off the tap while washing your hands. Do you need the water to run while you’re scrubbing your hands? Save a few gallons of water and turn the faucet off after you wet your hands until you need to rinse.

4. If it’s yellow, let it mellow. This tip might not be for everyone, but the toilet is one of the most water-intensive fixtures in the house. Do you need to flush every time?

5. Fix your leaks. Whether you go DIY or hire a plumber, fixing leaky faucets can mean big water savings.

Image Credit: Creative Commons photo by Gabrielle Rocha

cooking pasta water

Water fact: The average American household uses 400 gallons of water per day!

6. Re-use your pasta cooking liquid. Instead of dumping that water down the drain, try draining your pasta water into a large pot. Once it cools, you can use it to water your plants. Just make sure you wait, because if you dump that boiling water on your plants, you might harm them.

7. Head to the car wash. If you feel compelled to wash your car, take it to a car wash that recycles the water, rather than washing at home with the hose.

8. Cut your showers short. Older shower heads can use as much as 5 gallons of water per minute. Speed things up in the shower for some serious water savings.

9. Choose efficient fixtures. Aerating your faucets, investing in a low-flow toilet, choosing efficient shower heads, and opting for a Water Sense rated dishwasher and washing machine can add up to big water savings.

10. Shrink your lawn. Even better: lose the lawn completely. Instead, opt for a xeriscaped landscape that incorporates water wise ground cover, succulents, and other plants that thrive in drought conditions.

Image Credit: Creative Commons photo by naotakem

dishwasherWater fact: One in eight people worldwide does not have access to clean drinking water.

11. Don’t run the dishwasher or washing machine until they’re full. Those half-loads add up to gallons and gallons of wasted water.

12. Keep an eye on your bill to spot leaks. If your water bill spikes suddenly, there’s a good chance that a leak is the culprit. Call in a plumber to check your lines to save water and cash!

13. Install a rain barrel. Rainwater harvesting is a great way to keep your plants hydrated without turning on the hose or sprinkler.

14. Flush with less. Older toilets use a lot of water. You can reduce your usage by sinking a half gallon jug of water in the toilet tank. Do NOT use a brick, because it will break down and the sediment can damage your tank.

15. Water in the early morning. You’ll need less water, since cooler morning temperatures mean losing less water to evaporation. It’s not a great idea to water in the evenings, since this can promote mold growth.

Image Credit: Creative Commons photo by David Locke

washing the dog

Water fact: The EPA predicts even more droughts in the future due to climate change. They also predict longer and more severe droughts.

16. Hand-washing a lot of dishes? Fill up your sink with water, instead of letting it run the whole time that you’re scrubbing.

17. Use less electricity. Power plants use thousands of gallons of water to cool. Do your part to conserve power, and you’re indirectly saving water, too!

18. Wash Fido outdoors. That way, you’re watering your yard while you’re cleaning your pup. Just make sure that the soap you’re using isn’t harmful to your plants!

19. Skip the shower from time to time. Do you really need to shower multiple times a day or even daily? Skipping even one shower a week adds up to big water savings.

20. Re-use grey water. Check to make sure that this is legal where you live, but in some areas you can do things like re-route the runoff from your clothes washer and use that water for things like flushing the toilet.

What are some ways that you guys save water around the home? Let’s keep the conservation going in the comments!

Image Credit: Creative Commons photo by ginnerobot

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Read more: Conservation, Eco-friendly tips, Environment, Green, Home, Lawns & Gardens, Nature, Reduce, Recycle & Reuse, , , , ,

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Becky Striepe

Becky Striepe is a freelance writer and vegan crafter living in Atlanta, Georgia. Her life’s mission is to make green crafting and vegan food accessible to everyone! Like this article? You can follow Becky on Twitter or find her on Facebook!


+ add your own
6:45PM PDT on Apr 1, 2015

I used to wash my hair every day. For this latest California drought, I changed to every other day, and now try to hold off to two times a week or even less.

It doesn't look gross, as I worried it would. Turns out washing it every day makes your oil glands work harder trying to replace what you're stripping off with over-washing, which also damages the hair itself. Another win for ecology.

3:17AM PDT on Apr 1, 2015

Thanks for the article.

1:20AM PDT on Apr 1, 2015

Thank you for the great tips!

1:03AM PDT on Mar 30, 2015

One more tip that works for me. Have a tumbler or mug at the bathroom basin and use it to rinse your mouth after brushing your teeth, instead of just having the tap running. Saves heaps of water.

4:27PM PDT on Mar 29, 2015

Thanks for the article and the tips.......have my own independent water supply... rainwater for inside the house except the toilets....which use filtered creek in a high rainfall area....

12:14PM PDT on Mar 29, 2015

I also pour water from steaming vegetables on my lawn or plants. I have a bucket in the shower for plants but a bucket for flushing the toilet is a good idea too.

If you use the mellow yellow to flush the toilet make sure to clean the toilet often so you don't get rings :)

11:49AM PDT on Mar 29, 2015

If your urine is acidic, you should be more worried about stones than your toilet! Drink more water - urine should be very close to neutral in acidity. We've been following the "if it's yellow let it mellow, if it's brown flush it down" mantra for years now, and the toilet still looks like new.

My husband wasn't thrilled with the idea at first, but he came around ;)

Very good tips. I take most showers at the gym, which has a push button shower, which is great. The shower runs for 15-20 seconds, and you only need to push it 3 or 4 times, tops 5. Push it once to get thoroughly wet. Soap most of yourself. Shampoo hair. Push it once to rinse hair. Soap the rest of yourself. Push it again to finish rinsing hair (depends on hair length and thickness), and possibly one last time to finish everything off.

When we redid the bathroom and kitchen we got tap handles that you can bump with wrist or elbow to turn on/off. What a wonderful thing!

Recently read an article about women having to walk for hours to supply themselves with a day's worth of water. I thought to myself, I bet I'd be a lot more conserving of water if I had to carry it all myself...

7:47AM PDT on Mar 29, 2015

Excellent article, although I have my reservations about a couple of suggestions relating to personal hygiene :) At home we use water that has been used to boil or steam vegetables as a base for soups - if you have no soups in mind you can always add it to the water in your sink when washing dishes.

3:28PM PDT on Mar 28, 2015

Thanks for the reminders

11:44AM PDT on Mar 28, 2015

This article was very helpful, thank you.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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