Frugality

My Frugal 6 Liter (Litre) Shower

Amidst the financial turmoil of the past several days my banking institution of choice has failed and I have been forced into an experiment in water conservation like none other – taking a 6 litre shower. According to the first page returned for the Google search “how much water does a typical shower use” a typical shower consumes anywhere from 15-30 gallons of water. If you do the conversion, that equals 68.25-136.5 L. By only using 6 L of water I am 91% atypical – meaning that I use only 7% of the low end of the typical spectrum.

What has caused this massive overhaul in the amount of water that I consume on a daily basis? The shower in my office building is broken.1 Stupid broken shower. Or should I say awesome broken shower that “has realigned my perception?”

It truly has given me a whole new appreciation for running water and the magical shower heads that fill our homes, beach bathrooms, and work cleaning stations. Three days of showering from a bottle has freed my mind and body from the comfort of having hot water water to clean the manly musk that wafts from my body as I walk. Standing in the dark corner of the downstairs bathroom with nothing but two 750 ml water bottles that I fill in the downstairs sink, a bar of soap, and a bottle of shampoo has cleared away the cobwebs of waste and opulent wealth that have been clouding my thinking for these 25 years. Necessity has proven what comfort has so long resisted – getting clean doesn’t have to be comfortable, it just has to be efficient.

The Shower Saga Begins

The first day of my 6 L shower was terribly miserable. I was taken completely by surprise. I wasn’t prepared for anything. Instead of having water bottles pre-filled I was forced to live on the trickle from the shower head alone. It took forever to get my body sufficiently wet and forever again to get the soap sufficiently off. In fact, I think I got more of the soap off my body from sweating on bike commute home than I did in the shower that day. Not fun.

The next day I was a little more prepared, but got tricked by the appearance of a properly working shower head. There was just enough of a flow of cold water for me to get my body wet and soap up before the water began to trickle like it did the day before. This time I used an empty 750 ml bottle to collect the trickle from the shower and used this to wash off the soap. It was much more efficient and effective at removing the soap from my body, but still nothing to tell your mom about.

“Perfecting” The New Shower System

Then the day after that I finally got the system down pretty good, bringing two bottles with me and filling each up before entering the shower. The first bottle was used to wet down. Then I soaped up. Then I rinsed with the second bottle. The second bottle wasn’t quite enough to wash all the soap away, so while I was soaping up I filled the bottle that I had used to wet down. It wasn’t completely filled at this point, but it was sufficiently so to get the rest of the soap off my body. I was the cleanest I have been in three days at that point.

Still having to wash my hair I dried off my body and got some clothes on to be appropriate in the public restroom. I filled another bottle (this is the fourth) to wet down my hair and then shampooed. A fifth bottle washed off my hair.  Not feeling like the pressure from poring was enough to wash the rest of the shampoo away I stuck my head under the sink and turned on the facet for a few moments.  This could have used more than 2.25 L of water, but I think it could be close.

The whole process took about 10 minutes and only consumed about 6 L of water. w00t.

The Future of Steward’s Showers

This has been a pretty positive experience for me and I plan on continuing this method of showering even after the shower gets fixed at work. Heck, I might even employ some of these techniques at home if I would actually shower there. 2 Having the shower fixed and flowing will make it so that I don’t have to wait so long for my bottle to get filled when I am actually in the shower – possibly making showering very quick as well, which would be nice for my time.

I’m sure there are tons of positives in taking short showers that use less resources, but I’m not too concerned about those right now. Instead, I am excited that I have finally broken the habit of taking long, hot showers. It makes me happy.

  1. For those that don’t know, I shower at work because commute by bike to and from work []
  2. The only day that I typically shower at home is on Sunday. I still haven’t found a good reason to shower on Saturday. []

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