In the end, it’s pretty clear. But it always depends on how you do your dishes by hand, and how efficient your dishwasher is.

And the winner is…

As long as you fill your dishwasher all the way, and it’s a dishwasher that works well, you’ll save a good amount of water by letting the machine do the work. So go ahead and load the dishwasher to the max!

If you insist…

If you are the type who loves to do the dishes by hand, the best water-saving option would be to fill three sinks or tubs a little more than halfway. One will have soapy water for soaking and washing, one with rinse water, and one with second rinse water.

The 3rd bucket (2nd rinse) is optional, depending on how you feel about the exquisite purity of your rinse water.

The dirty details:

So many factors depend. Here’s the bottom line: the average automatic built in dishwasher uses 6 gallons of water per entire cycle. Energy star-rated dishwashers usually use 4 gallons per cycle.

When you calculate in the difference between heating the water for doing the dishes by hand or with a dishwasher, and other energy used, a fine working dishwasher that isn’t too old should probably be the most energy and heat efficient.

All things considered, it will always depend on the age and efficiency if your dishwasher versus your mad dishwashing water-saving skills. I wish you the best of luck! You’ll be hard-pressed to do the number of dishes in 4-6 gallons that your machine probably could do!

Low-water dish prep:

Be mindful of how much water you use when you rinse your dishes in preparation for the dishwasher. Know your dishwasher, and how well it works for you, in order to avoid over rinsing or soaking before the  dishwasher.

Also, spray rinse things immediately, before food gets dried on, verses having to soak later. It’s a world of difference. Having a spray nozzle hose installed in your sink that actually has a lot of pressure will change your life, by the way. Invest in that upgrade for your home if possible to save even more water!

What not to do:

Do not, I repeat, DO NOT use your dishwasher as a sanitizing device after completely washing and rinsing your dishes. Thank you. If you have that much faith in your dishwasher to sanitize things, please trust it to get them clean as well. You will save lots and lots of water for the Earth by not going this route!

Sink aerators add air to your water flow, and help you save water. Aerators help your flow be more powerful, with less actual water, so that you can get your chores done with less water. Many faucets come with aerators, but you can buy even better ones and attach them for deeper benefit.

Sure, as long as you’re selective

To be extra water conscious, you could even save your rinse water and water your compost with it! Watering plants and gardens with water that contains food particles might attract pests or microbes that you don’t want around your plants. I don’t personally recommend it, especially depending on the area you live in. You really don’t want to attract rats or bears and foxes, etc.
On the other hand, you can definitely save your shower water and water your plants with it. Most of those natural soaps will be fine for your plants and bad for pests! A double win!
A decent steam mop saves water, money, AND product- and even saves mop heads!

If you have not tried a steam mop, do it!

Steam mops use a tiny bit of electricity to heat the water to a point where it actually disinfects your floor without chemicals or any cleaners at all!

They use very little water, and you don’t have to ring out an icky mop. These do usually come with microfiber pads- that’s the other reason these work so well in catching extra dirt.

Be eco-friendly with your microfiber

Take great care of your microfiber to make a less-than green product get tons of use.

Take amazing care of any microfiber you own, because it’s really not great for the environment- specifically our waterways. Little tiny pieces of microfiber come off with every washing and from there, they can make their way into our rivers and streams, etc. Is creates the same dangers as microplastics as fish and other aquatic life accidentally ingest the microfibers.

So try not to wash microfiber too often. I like to rinse mine a couple of times during my mopping, in a clean rinse water bucket. Then of course, a good thorough rinse at the end of the cycle completes the chore. Be very careful when removing the microfiber from the bottom of the steam mop, and don’t do it if it is steaming hot!
Think about it. You probably never run your mop head through the washing machine, so why should it be different with your microfiber steam mop pad? It’s getting cleaner than a mop head would, every time.


Be Careful with steam.

Follow all instructions for your steam mop carefully. It’s important to never leave a steam mop sitting on the floor if it’s hot at all. It can ruin your floor very

Keep your hot steam mop on it’s resting base while it’s heating or cooling.

quickly. They come with a base that you are supposed to set the steam mop on while it heats and cools.

Also, follow instructions on which floors are safe to clean with steam mops. Unfinished wood floors are not recommended.
Choose a steam mop that is largely made of metal, so that you can send it to scrap metal if it breaks and becomes irreparable.


I promise they make them better now!

There are many fantastic brands out there that give you extreme water savings with every shower, and still give you the water pressure you love to get you clean! You will use at least 1-3 gallons less eater per minute with a low-flow shower head versus a conventional shower head. How long is your average shower? Do the math and save a bunch of money!

Turn off the water when you brush your teeth and wash your hands

Have you ever considered how much water is wasted while you brush your teeth and wash your hands? Well, it’s a lot. Here’s a solution!

First of all, don’t turn the water on so high! It’s as simple as that. Try half way as high as usual or less next time.

Don’t run clean water down the drain.

Definitely keep the water turned off while you brush your teeth. There is no reason to have that water running down the drain for 2-3 minutes.

The same goes for washing your hands. It may seem like such a little amount of water in the moment. But how many times a day do you wash your hands? How many times per week? And how long do you suds and scrub your hands while the water runs? The general suggestion to kill germs is at least 20 seconds. Think about how this water adds up over time. It’s such a waste.

You don’t have to use your whole hand to turn off the water and get the handle all soapy. You can usually do it with one or two fingers. Give it a try! You will feel better about your contribution.

Less rush, less pressure, cleaner hands.

Besides, you’re supposed to scrub at your hands for over 20 seconds to really get ’em clean, while paying attention to detail like your grandma would have shown you. You can actually do a better job washing your hands without all that pressure from the water running down the drain , telling you to hurry up and finish already!

Shower less often, and try for shorter showers. 

Everybody’s skin and hair varies of course, but generally, most people will be better off in the long run if they only shower every 2 to 3 days. It’s better for your body, and saves a lot of water!

Time it!

If you find the right products for your skin and hair type, your body will adjust to this very quickly. Most commercial products keep your body and hair in the loop of creating excess sebum,  making you oily faster.

In the summer or anytime, you can also turn off the water altogether while you soap up your body and hair. This actually feels great in the summertime when it’s hot out. You got that nice cool breeze on your wet body! Refreshing!

Consider taking a spit bath if you just feel less than fresh in certain areas.

Sometimes you don’t actually need a full shower. Do you know what a spit bath is? It’s the original cowboy way! Quickly wash your most important parts that are feeling less than fresh. Then just rinse the rest of your body if needed. That’s it! You will feel better!

Pick up your towels and hang them to dry so you can reuse them several times.

Let’s face it. If you’ve done a proper job in the shower, you are clean when you get out. So are all of your most important parts. It’s not so scary to reuse a towel more than a couple of times. Rewrite that old program. Washing towels after one use is a humongous waste of water. Be relentless with your kids about not leaving towels on the floor!

Are you worried about all of the dead skin on your towel? Exfoliate in the shower using a natural sisel fiber cloth or similar. You can compost them when they have outlived their life cycle.

No micro beads!

Do not use shower gel with micro beads as these are downright evil for the environment, and they don’t do a good job exfoliating you anyways. Plastic puffy loofah type of scrubbies don’t actually help you that much either, and are also horrible for animals and the landfill.

Warm up the tub

When you can’t resist a bath, make it worth the water! Warm up the tub by briefly rinsing it with hot water so that it is clean.

This is important for your own cleanliness anyways, and plays two roles. If you warm up your tub briefly by doing this, your bath water will take longer to get cold. Ah, science…

The cowboy way

Go old-fashioned with your bath. Don’t use a bunch of heavy oils in your water. Use products that will allow you to clean yourself with your tub water at the end of your bath, or no products at all. Don’t worry! You are going to rinse off at the very end…

A baking soda and/or epsom salt bath is probably the most cleansing and detoxing bath you can take. These additions relieve tension greatly, while cleansing you, and will allow you to wash the rest of your body with the bathwater at the end.

So instead of just making it a relaxing experience with oils, etc, choose to use that water to clean yourself at the end of the bath as well. Wash and rinse your hair by dunking your head, or fill a large cup and dump it over your head repeatedly at the beginning of the bath, while you are still filling the tub. Then at the end, clean your body, and rinse in the tub water.

After this, you can have a brief rinse with a shower to get the residue off and rinse your hair the rest of the way. If you do this, you may only use a little bit more water than a normal shower would take.

Add weights to use less water

Do you realize how the water level rises and falls when you get in and out of the tub? You can take this a step further. To use even less water, you can add weights to your tub. Try finding a rock or 2 about the size of your head or a bit bigger that you connect with, and making the rocks  your new water saving bath buddies!  If you use the same ones over and over, then in a sudden rock scarcity, you could use something  made of trash, such as gallons full of water.

Don’t dump the water out of these gallons when you’re done. use the same water again and again. Or if you do, use it to water your plants. Extra weight will make the water level rise higher to cover your body, while using less water.

Watering plants with bathwater

Don’t do this if you’ve used baking soda or Epsom salts in your bath. It will kill your plants! But if you took a bath such as a natural bubble bath, or used your tub water to get yourself clean at the end of your bath you can definitely use this water on your plants or compost. Most natural soaps are good for plants and bad for pests.

Low-water hack for an old toilet

Put weights in your toilet tank

If you have an older toilet that still uses a lot of water to flush, you can decrease the amount of water each flush takes by filling a couple of water bottles with water, and placing them in your toilet tank. I know YOU don’t use water bottles, so get one from a friend that won’t quit. recycle it someday when needed. You can also do this with anything heavy that is water resistant.

If it’s yellow, let it mellow

This one is up to your comfort level. I suggest a maximum of three uses before flushing. If you let urine sit in the toilet tank too long you will have to clean it more often, and it can also create that icky urinal smell even though you don’t even have a urinal.
And of course… If it’s brown, flush it down! 😉

Get them fixed! The sooner the better.

If you have tried to fix them and they keep getting leaky, bite the bullet and replace your leaky faucet! Send the old faucet to scrap metal recycling, and cut open all the rubber rings so they don’t trap animals wherever they land.The Green Button - Saving Water Indoors
The longer you let a drippy faucet be drippy, and fight against it by trying to turn off the handle even harder, the more damage you will do to your faucet. Your faucet will only get harder to fix over time.

Do full loads of laundry, and invest in an energy efficient washing machine if you can.

Be sure to take your old washer and dryer to scrap metal recycling, or give them away on Craigslist, freecycle, or a similar platform, so that somebody in need can have a washing machine. Remember the possibly to reuse before recycling.

Wash most stuff on cold.

That’s more of an energy-saving tip then water-saving, but it is valid in any case! Things that you might want to wash on hot are towels and sheets or extra extra dirty or greasy things.

Reuse rinse water from your washing machine

Drain your laundry spin cycle into a water collecting mechanism to water your plants. You can purchase these!

And above all,  have fun with it!

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