Conserve Resources and Money: How to Take Shorter Showers

updated Jul 14, 2018
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(Image credit: Brittany Purlee)

According to the Boston University sustainability department, an average shower uses about 5 gallons of water per minute. That means if you shorten your shower by just 2 minutes each day, you can cut your water use by 10 gallons at a time. It really adds up–with major impacts to your wallet and the environment.

Whatever your goal–lowering your bill or just your water usage overall–it’s quite the challenge to try and shorten your time in the shower. Here are a few helpful tips, products and ideas that might help you bring your water-saving plan a little closer to reality.

1. Time Your Showers

This can be as simple as setting an alarm on your phone for five or 10 minutes to let you know it’s time to leave the shower. But if you want a visual cue, try the Shower Coach, an hourglass timer you take into the shower to keep your routine under five minutes.

If the shorter shower thing is taking some getting used to, there’s no harm in weaning yourself down. Start with a timer for 20 minutes (or whatever seems doable) then work down to your household goal.

2. Create a Shower Playlist

If your shower time goal is ten minutes, create a playlist that’s about that long (4 songs or so) and listen to it in the shower. When the last tune comes on, you’ll know it’s time to rinse and get out.

3. Take Some Tasks Out of the Shower

Shaving, washing your face and brushing your teeth can all happen outside of the shower. Take them to the sink–turn the water off when it’s not in use–and you’ll cut shower time down instantly.

4. Learn to Take Navy Showers

Navy showers are really efficient with water use. On ships out at sea, fresh water is limited, so sailors began using this brass tacks formula for their daily scrub: Turn on the water for 30 seconds to get wet, shut it off to shampoo and lather, then turn the water back on and rinse off in under a minute.

Any other tips you’d like to share?