Learning ways to use less water can make a significant impact on your monthly utility bills. If you live in a drought-stricken area that imposes fines for excessive water consumption, it may have an even more substantial impact on your wallet!
You don’t have to skip showers or let your yard die. Instead, check out these 50 ways to use less water then go through your home, inside and out, to make these small changes.
50 Ways To Use Less Water
In The Kitchen
1. Thaw food in the refrigerator instead of under a running tap. Left it to the last minute? Fill a pot with water and thaw your food in it, then give the water to your houseplants.
2. If your dishwasher is a recent model, skip rinsing dishes before loading: newer machines spray clean the dishes before starting the actual wash cycle.
3. EnergyStar dishwashers use less water than washing by hand if you only run them when fully loaded.
4. Still prefer hand washing? Fill the sink halfway with hot, soapy water (or use a “washing up bowl”) rather than running the tap. Fill the other side with clean water. Be sparing with the liquid soap; a few drops will get your dishes clean while creating less foam. Scrub your dishes then dunk them in the water-only side to rinse.
5. Grabbed too many ice cubes? Don’t throw them out — put them in your pet’s bowl or on the soil of a houseplant instead.
6. Wash produce in a bowl instead of under a running tap.
7. Use the cooled water from steaming vegetables or cooking pasta to water your garden — it contains all sorts of nutrients your plants will love.
8. Stash a pitcher of water in the fridge instead of running the tap to cool off water each time you want a drink.
9. Give each household member a personalized glass or water bottle to use throughout the day, and you’ll cut down on how much drinkware you must wash.
10. Fill a spray bottle with a homemade all-purpose cleaner to clean counters or spots on the floor instead of running the tap.
11. Minimize use of your garbage disposal, which requires a lot of water to work correctly. Start a compost pile instead — you can collect scraps in the freezer until you’re ready to run them outside.
12. When boiling vegetables use just enough water to cover them, then put the lid loosely on the pot to keep the cooking liquid from evaporating.
13. Keep a large bowl in the sink to catch water while you wait for the tap to warm up. Use this to clean the kitchen when you’ve finished cooking.
14. Don’t run the water continuously to scrub pots and pans with baked-on food. Fill each with water and let them soak to dislodge the food.
In The Bathroom
15. Use a timer to shorten showers, especially if you have kids who get distracted and let the water run for ages.
16. Turn the water off when brushing your teeth or shaving your face.
17. Install aerators on your bathroom faucets, and you’ll get a good spray of water from the sink while reducing how much water you use.
18. Plug the tub drain while warming up the water, then adjust the temperature as the tub fills.
19. Fix leaky faucets! While you’re waiting for the plumber (or the weekend) to do it, use a bowl or bucket to catch the dripping water and feed it to your plants or pets.
20. Fill a 1-liter plastic bottle with water and a handful of aquarium pebbles or rocks. Put the cap on tightly and set the bottle in your toilet tank on the side opposite the flap. This method reduces the amount of water in your tank, which means you’ll use less with each flush.
21. Find out if your toilet is leaking by adding a few drops of food coloring to the water in the tank. Wait an hour, and don’t flush. If you see colored water in the toilet bowl, it means your toilet flapper isn’t sealing correctly, and that means you’re using water even when you’re not using the commode. Install a new flapper.
22. Don’t use the toilet as a wastebasket: toss tissues and other items into the trash can instead of flushing them down.
23. Of course, there’s the adage: “If it’s yellow let it mellow”… if you can handle that.
24. Next time you have to replace a toilet, install a dual-flush model.
In The Laundry Room
25. Don’t wash clothing more often than necessary.
26. If your washing machine doesn’t do it automatically, take the time to adjust the amount of water based on the size of the laundry load.
27. Check your washing machine’s fixtures for moisture. If they’re damp, it means you’ve got a leak that’s wasting water and possibly causing damage to your home.
28. Don’t let the water run when you’re hand-washing garments.
29. There’s no need to fill an entire washer or even a sink to soak a stain. Use a bowl, tuck the stained part of the item into the water, and set a coffee mug on top of it to keep the fabric submerged.
30. Set a timer to remind yourself to switch the wash to the dryer, so you don’t have to rewash it to get the smell of mildew out.
31. Wash pets in a spot on your grass that needs watering.
32. Water deeply and less often. Lawns and gardens need roughly 1 inch of water per week. Plants are hardier when their roots must search deeper for water. Instead of watering three times a week for a few minutes, do it just once or twice for a longer time. To know when you’ve reached 1 inch of water set an empty tuna can in the yard or garden: when it’s full, you’ve hit the magic mark.
33. If the soil is too dry water will run off rather than soak in. Reduce water flow to just enough for the ground to absorb so you’re using every drop.
34. Rinse garden tools and dirty shoes over your plant beds, so the water does double duty.
35. If the kids want to play in the sprinklers, set it so they’re playing where the lawn needs watering.
36. Use a broom rather than hosing off driveways and patios.
37. Mulch well around the base of trees and in garden beds (even vegetable gardens) to keep the soil moist longer after watering.
38. Water early in the morning to reduce evaporation.
39. Install rainwater collection barrels on your downspouts and use the free water in your lawn and garden. (Just be sure to keep them tightly sealed, so they don’t become mosquito breeding grounds.)
40. Soaker hoses at the base of your plants prevent evaporation and direct the water where it’s needed.
41. Using plants that are native to your area means they’ll require less water. Or go for a xeriscape garden that doesn’t need watering at all!
42. Place container plants into cachepots (decorative outer pots) to keep the sun’s rays from drying them out.
43. Check your sprinkler system regularly to make sure it’s only watering your lawn and not the neighbors’ garden. Sprinkler heads often get knocked out of alignment by lawnmowers and kids, so you’ll want to do this every week or two.
44. Aerate and de-thatch your lawn, so the water soaks into the soil rather than running off.
45. Water dry spots or extra-thirsty plants by hand rather than running the entire sprinkler system.
46. Install a rain sensor on your automatic sprinkler system, so it doesn’t run when it’s raining.
47. If you use a manual sprinkler to water your yard, install a hose timer, so you don’t have to worry about over-watering if you get distracted.
48. If you have a pool, install a pre-filter to reduce backwashing to just three or four times each season.
49. Keep hot tubs and pools covered when not in use to reduce water lost to evaporation.
50. Use a bucket of soapy water when you’re washing your car instead of letting the tap run.