On average we apparently spend eight minutes in the shower. That’s double what we should be spending. And I mean ‘spending’ quite literally – at 30p a pop, UK families are wasting £416 a year keeping clean.
Put your left hand up if you’re a shower person, or your right hand up if you prefer a bath. Put your left hand down if you shower for less than five minutes.
If your hands are by your side, well done, you’re being relatively good to the environment. However, for some reason I expect most of you still have your arms dangling in the air, dripping wet from all the water you’re wasting.
Almost as much as a bath
A new survey by Unilever has found that the average shower lasts eight minutes – that’s 62 litres of hot water washing down your plug hole, compared to the average bath’s 80 litres.
The average shower was previously thought to be under five minutes, but this was based on anecdotal questionnaires asking people how long they thought they were in the shower. That obviously wasn’t terribly reliable, so Unilever took a more objective response.
No, they didn’t stand next to people showering with a stopwatch and clipboard. Instead, Unilever used ‘data loggers’ attached to the shower pipe of 100 families recording 2,600 showers over a 10-day period.
Why are we spending so long in the shower?
To be honest, I didn’t think eight-minute showers wasted so much water. I’ll get the stopwatch out next time, as I’m sure I’m in the water for about that long. But there’s a bigger sting than just the shampoo in my eyes – I use a power shower.
An eight-minute power shower uses 136 litres, nearly twice as much as taking a bath, and will cost about 63p. I shower once a day (unless I’m being a slob) so that’s me spending £230 a year on keeping clean and wasting almost 50,000 litres of sparkling clean steaming hot water. Am I worth it? Probably not.
But I’m not the worst. Some people I know have two showers a day, and even shower closer to the half an hour mark…
Tips to save water when you shower
Paula Owen, an independent environmental consultant, told the BBC that four-minute showers are optimal:
‘The results here show that the average time spent in a shower is double that. This wastes not only water, but also the energy needed for heating the water.
‘If you are partial to singing in the shower, pick a short pop classic to shower to; and when lathering up think about turning the flow off until you’re ready to rinse.’
If those tips don’t float your boat, I have some others to save water when you shower:
- Invest in a water-saving shower head.
- Keep your showers to no longer than five minutes, or use a water-saving timer that lets you know when you’ve exceeded 35 litres.
- Try not to run your shower before you get in – keep your shower set at your preferred temperature so you don’t have to spend time adjusting before use.
- Use a less powerful setting to reduce water use, or select the eco shower setting if you have one.
- Over time, the water that escapes from a dripping shower adds up – get it fixed to avoid needless water waste.
So does this peek into Britons’ cleaning habits compel you to spend less time in the shower?