Extreme Water Conservation

Water is the source of life.  It is also rather expensive!

Do you enjoy paying that water bill every month? Why not reduce it? True, you can invest in low-flow shower heads, put bricks in the back of your commode—but did you know that there are other ways you can trim some serious numbers off of your water bill?

The Commode

A commode is designed to take fresh water and use it to flush wastes down the drain. Like paper towels or bathroom tissue, you are spending money just to throw it away.

Save the water when you wash your hands—I use a large bowl for this purpose—and place that used water in the back of your commode.  Turn off the water feed to the device and begin filling it with previously used water from hand washing or bathing. This way your water is getting double use!

When you bathe or take a shower, save this water for flushing the commode as well. An average family should have plenty of water from bathing alone to keep that commode properly flushed without having to spend a dime!

If you are single or otherwise don’t have enough water reserved from bathing, save your dishwater in a bucket and pour it down the commode.  Don’t put this water in the reservoir because of the possible food debris, but this water is safe to pour in the bowl for flushing.


Even with a low-flow shower head using 2.5 gallons of water a minute, you are using a whopping 25 gallons of water every single time you take a short 10-minute shower! Why not reduce that water usage to 2 gallons?

Instead of showering, take a pan (large bowl, dishpan, etc.) and fill with warm water.  Wash your hair first by dampening it and scrubbing it with a spoon of baking soda dissolved in a cup of water before rinsing.  Once your hair is washed use that batch of water to wash the top half of your body by taking a wash cloth, lathering it up and scrubbing off before rinsing the cloth then rinsing your body.  Refill the bowl with clean water then wash your bottom half the same way. At most you will use 2 gallons of water—though if you aren’t very dirty you may be able to wash on a single bowl of water and save an extra gallon!

This is the exact same bathing method we used in the mountains during the summer when the well or cistern was low.  You get just as clean as showering—as fast or faster than the same time spent in a shower! Just don’t pour that water down the drain—use it to flush the commode to get more use out of it!

If you have pets to bathe make a bath do triple-duty by soaking in the tub, then bathing pets in the same water before using it to—you guessed it—flush the commode.


I have heard so many people state that it takes more water to wash dishes by hand than it does to use a dishwasher. Frankly I don’t know where they came from but in our neck of the woods that is a complete falsehood! 

A good load of dishes can be washed by hand in 2-3 gallons of water easily! Take two large bowls or dishpans and fill with water.  Make sure the rinse water is extremely hot—this kills any germs. Wash well in one pan then place in the rinse water for a time before taking them out and placing them in a dish drainer to air-dry.

If your wash water gets too dirty flush it down the commode and pour the rinse water into the wash side.  This way you are getting another use out of the rinse water, while getting fresh rinse water to boot.

Brushing Teeth

You do not need to use a gallon of water to brush your teeth.  At most all you need is a half-cup of water. Put some water in a glass or cup.  Swirl your toothbrush around in it to get it wet before putting a dab of toothpaste on it.  Brush your teeth and use some of the water in the cup to rinse your mouth.  Then swish your brush around in the remaining water until it is clean before putting it away. Not only will you use less water with this method, but your toothbrush will stay cleaner!  If you want to have whiter teeth or are concerned with germs place a splash of hydrogen peroxide in the water—this gives you the equivalent of those mouthwashes that contain peroxide for a lot less money!


There are other ways to save on your water bill—not watering your lawn, washing your car with a couple of buckets instead of a constantly-running hose, reusing wash water to water flowers….

Instead of letting that tap run stop and think.  Can it be cleaned just as well in a pan of sudsy water instead of a running stream? Can this used water be used again? Can I use less  water by doing something a little differently?

There are a lot of reasons to use less water, some even swear that it will help the environment.  All I know is that the less water you run through your tap the less you will have to pay for and this is what is important for us in the here and now!

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