Wednesday, November 2, 2011

4 strange ways to save water

some of the green/earth friendly things i do cost us more money, such as buying pesticide-free produce.  but fortunately, many of the things i do actually save us money.

'Water Drop & shadow' photo (c) 2009, Emran Kassim - license:
saving water is one of those things.  saving water is important in most places (unless, i guess if you have a well.  i would like to have a well one day, but that is a whole 'nother blog post :) ), but especially in southern california.

did you know that we are using up the colorado river to the point that it now literally dries up soon after it reaches mexico? so cal is a desert, but we are in denial so we pump in water from afar, with much damage to the environment.

besides loving the earth (and specifically the colorado river and all the wildlife that depends on it), i have another reason to try to save water: our water bill!  lets just say its pretty astronomical, especially compared to what we paid in the midwest.

so, because i am frugal and because i want to steward God's creation well, i have incorporated various habits into my life to save water.

recycling dishwasher water

if you live in so cal, you have probably seen signs that say something like "this area is watered with recycled water" or "greywater in use here".  that gave me an idea... are there ways that i could re-use non-dirty water from our house?  and it gave me an idea... our dishwasher water!

we have a portable dishwasher, which means that when its time to wash, we have to manually move it over to the sink, hook it up, and turn on the faucet.  when it is running, the used water is drained into the sink.  this would just go down the drain, but now i catch it in a bucket and use it to water our plants outside.

some might wonder if the soap in the water might be bad for the plants.  i use an all natural, earth-friendly soap (bio-kleen brand), so i am not worried about this.  and, it is possible that the small bits of food in the recycled dishwasher water might even be providing the plants a nutrient boost.

i don't flush the toilet

well, kinda... i usually don't flush the toilet if i am the only one around the house and i just go #1 (i try to go 3-4 times before flushing).  this was especially helpful when i was pregnant, since i literally went to the bathroom every 30 minutes.

this might gross you out, and i am ok with that.  that's why i only do it when i am the only one home.  this is actually a regular practice in many (most?) countries of the world.  when i lived in germany, there were actually two buttons on the toilet; one flushed more water and one less, depending on your need... i wont go into detail, hopefully you can figure it out :)

washing my face with cold water

when you want warm or hot water, you have to turn on the faucet and let it go for a while until the warm water comes out.  this wastes a lot of water.  recently, i have begun washing my face at night in cold water.  sometimes its easy (in the summer) but sometimes i have to brace myself for the initial moment of discomfort (but its really not that bad).

wash my hands without water

when i am washing/scrubbing my hands, i make sure that the water is turned off.  since we use (homemade!) foaming soap in the bathroom, i just use two squirts of foam, and then i don't even have to wet my hands at the beginning.  this way, all i have to do is rinse my hands briefly after i scrub, which only requires the faucet to be on for a few seconds. 

this is especially helpful since i am washing my hands almost twice as much since esther was born (because of diaper changes through out the day, also after i go out i wash my hands to protect esther from germs i come into contact with... i am not a germophobe, but i have to be proactive like this to avoid germs since we want to avoid some of the recommended vaccines, especially with our frequent doctor's office visits due to her diagnosis.  we have averaged two doc visits per week since her birth, but it should be less frequent from here on out).

another tip for mothers of multiple littles in diapers... change everyone's diaper at once.  if you change one kiddo, change the other.  and then wash your hands after both.  this not only saves water and time, but also your skin, especially in the winter!!

what are some things you do to save water?


  1. I dont think youre weird, I do most of these things as well! I also think we have a bit of a misconception about washing and sanitizing everything to death. Our bodies can fend off an awful lot and if we dont allow them to do their job, our bodies stop doing that naturally...which lends to more issues than we started with...I dont know how that relates other than its silly to think the things you are doing are gross or disgusting. Good for you, making tangible strides to use less and reuse!

  2. I also pee every 30 minutes due to being pregnant. Me not flushing after peeing doesn't gross out my husband either. He actually tells me not to flush if he's going to pee right after me! And I have a friend who DOES wait for the water to get hot before washing her face or showering, but she catches the water in a bucket and uses it to water her plants, similar to what you do with your dishwasher water :)

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  4. Yes, those ways may seem strange to some people, though they seem to have an undercurrent of common sense. We shouldn't use up more water than we should, especially if there are ways to achieve the same results with less consumption. Anyway, thanks for sharing your thoughts on the matter. Good day!

    Bert Aguilar @ Rainfill Tanks