Blog Post: Wednesday May 01, 2019

Wash Wednesday

Wash Wednesday

So today is Wash Wednesday and we’re talking all about showers, baths, appliances and more. It’s a great time to think about the ways that you use water and take some top tips that can not only help you save water, but money and energy too.


It’s estimated that each day Britain ‘showers away’ more than 2,000,000,000 litres of water and the average shower is around 8 minutes long. When you consider that the ‘optimum time’ is 4 minutes there is lots that we can do to help reduce this. For example, if everyone in the UK cut one minute off their shower, we could save approximately 660 million litres of water a day.


One of the problems is that bathroom behaviour tends to be a very private behaviour, done behind closed doors and usually on your own. This means that we all create our own habits and believe these to be the ‘norm’, as we have nothing to compare them too. It’s only when we start having the conversations around shower times and behaviours that we start to learn the variance in how people shower and the motivators behind the lengths too. How long do you shower for? Try and time your shower and see if you can shave an extra minute off next time.


The optimum shower time is 4 minutes which only uses around 32 litres of water (when using an 8 litre showerhead). When you compare this to having a deep bath which is around 80 litres – you can save over half the amount of water simply by taking a short shower instead.


If however, you do enjoy soaking in the tub, you can save 5 litres of water by just filling it an inch less. You can also reuse this water on non edible plants and to flush the toilet – on the rare occasions that I do have a bath, I keep the plug in and keep a bucket by the side so that whenever the toilet needs flushing, I tip a bucket of the bath water down the toilet. It seems strange to begin with but now it’s standard practice in my house!


Moving on to the kitchen, washing machines and dishwashers are much more efficient today than they were years ago, in fact using the eco setting on your fully loaded dishwasher will save you more water than if you were to wash by hand. Be sure to always fully load both your dishwasher and washing machine to help save water. Turn down the temperature on your washing machine to save money on your energy bill too!


So what can you do?


  • Take a shorter shower, preferably 4 minutes!
  • Use a shower timer to time how long you take and try to reduce this
  • Use a shower cap if you don’t need to wash your hair each time
  • Thought about dry shampoo?
  • Try a water efficient shower head, these can save you litres without you realising
  • Turn off the water in-between lathering, shampooing and conditioning
  • Turn off the water when shaving
  • Only use full loads in the washing machine and dishwasher
  • Use a washing up bowl in the sink instead of running the tap


Try this: If you have a shower over a bath, next time you take a shower, put the plug in and see how much water you’re using – you’ll probably be shocked! (And remember, don’t just pull the plug out, you can use this water to flush your toilets!)


Key messages


  • If everyone in the UK cut one minute off their shower, we could save 660 million litres of water a day.
  • If every household in the UK took just one minute off one shower every day, it would save £215 million on our collective energy bills a year.
  • Average shower time = 8 minutes Optimum shower time = 4 minutes
  • Average bath = 80 litres. By running it just an inch shorter you can save around 5 litres of water. (If you do prefer to have a bath, reuse the water on your non edible plants or to flush the toilet)
  • Taking an average length shower, with a standard mixer showerhead , still uses 12 less water (64 litres) than a typical bath (80 litres). Taking a 4 minute shower would use less than half the water of a bath (32 litres).
  • Heating water = 1⁄4 of energy bill
  • Showers are the biggest water user in the house (25%), followed by toilets (22%)
  • We use the washing machine on average 4.7 times each week.
  • It’s estimated that each day Britain ‘showers away’ more than 2,000,000,000 litres of water