Take 5 Minute Showers

How long does it take to get clean in the shower?  Is it 10 minutes?  Did you know that a 10 minutes shower with a standard shower head can use upwards of 80 gallons of water and generate up to 4 pounds of CO2 emissions?  That is not including the energy used to heat the water, unless of course you have solar hot water.

low flower showerhead

Installing low flow showerhead and reducing shower time to 5 min can save you thousands of gallons of water per year and hundreds of pounds of CO2 emissions

By installing a low flow showerhead and cutting your shower time to 5 minutes you can reduce your water usages and the CO2 emissions by 70-80% savings thousands of gallons of water and hundreds of pounds of CO2 emissions a year.

To get started, spend a week just measuring how long the showers you take last.  We used a simple kitchen timer and a piece of paper taped to the bathroom wall.  Then try to reduce that to 5 minutes.  Once you start measuring your showers, it may be hard to not reduce their time.  Don’t worry if you start taking shorter showers right away, that’s the goal anyways.

Alicia and I discovered some amusing things about our showers.  Before we started tracking them, we both thought that I was taking the the longer showers and she was taking the shorter ones.  It turns out that I was averaging around 6 minute showers and she was closer to 8 minute showers, both of which are under the 10-15 minute average shower time in the US.  Now we’re down to around 4 minutes for me and just over 5 minutes for her.  Be sure to have fun doing this or you’ll stop. A little friendly competition can be fun!

Low flow showerhead and 5 minute timer

Low flow showerhead and 5 shower minute timer

If you need help finding a good low flow shower  head, check with your local hardware store or go online to EFI and check out our easy step by step instruction on installing a low flow showerhead.

They are very easy to install and can save tons of water – literally – 250 gallons of water weighs 1 ton.  The standard for low flow showerheads is 2.5 gallons per minute or less and many go as low as 1.6 gallons per minute.  That is a major improvement over the 5-8 gallons per minute for the older variety.  If you’ve tried them in the past and hated them,  give them a second chance.  Like many of the other energy efficiency technologies, low-flow showerheads have greatly improved over the last ten years.  Of course, like any product, there are good and bad low-flow showerheads and not all are created equal.

Happy Greening!

Another great tip in the shower is to train your hair to not need washing everyday.

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  1. Yea go ahead and take a 5 minute shower, I’ll make sure to walk down the other side of the street when I smell you coming. Try turning off the shower head while you wash your body and hair to save water. Anyone who thinks they’re getting themselves adequately clean in 5 minutes is sadly mistaken much to the disdain of anyones nose who has the unfortunate displeasure of being around them.

    • Joseph – you really believe that? Try it and see. You really don’t need that long in the shower at all, unless you stand around luxuriating in it. I have three minute showers after I run, and don’t smell at all. Turning off the shower while lathering your body and hair IS a great tip though.

    • Not true. It is possible to be clean in 5 mins of showing. Have you heard of soap? Literally get yourself wet, hair and everything, apply soap while the water is off, wash the soap off. If you can’t do that in 5 mins, then you are simply stubborn or have a disability of some sort. It does not take long to do this (maybe even less than 5) and standing in the shower after a certain period will not help. The law of diminishing returns is in effect here. Your lack of logic is something else.

    • YES

    • Heh…

    • Alfie, global warming is a moot point, much of the world’s resources are finite and even those which are renewable, such as forests and wildlife, can be pillaged to such an extent that they cease to renew themselves. It is entirely possible to utilise minimal resources whilst maintaining a high quality of life. For example, the average American uses nearly twice the energy that the average European uses to deliver a virtually identical living standard.

  2. I spend between 10-15 minutes in the shower. I shower once a day, in the evening and don’t find spending this amount of time in a shower – excessive. I find it very reasonable on the whole.

    I do not subscribe to the theory of human-caused global warming and so trying to convice me that reducing my CO2 emissions is necessary – is beyond futile.

    You cannot take a five minute shower and be clean. Rushing a shower is nothing short of lazy in my opinion.

    I would emphasise, however, do not take ‘hot’ showers. Just above ‘luke warm’ is ideal and do not spend all of you’re time under the stream of water. Step in and out is advisable. Hot water is not conducive to healthy skin – as it tends to leaves it red and inflammed-looking.

    Be thorough and be clean. Don’t spend too short a time nor too long a time in the shower. Balance is always the key.

  3. This is SUPER true, I do this now… I actually take 2 Minute Showers now! :)

  4. I didn’t think that my long showers used that much water but I guess that long showers really do use a lot of water. I know that I am really stupid but I put a washrag in the hole to see how much water my showers use. After 6 minutes, the tub was already full so I took the rag out and finished my shower. So I guess that when i take a 30 minute shower I use 5 bathtubs worth of water. LOL

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