Share via Email Let's all hold our hands up to how much shower water we use. How dirty are you? How long does it take you to scrub yourself clean of a morning?
Research by a new "Shower Power" campaign launched yesterday — in a bid to save water by encouraging short showers — shows that contrary to lazy, popular and potentially misogynist belief, women only spend a mere 39 seconds longer in the shower than men. Despite the fact that many men like myself are clearly follicularly challenged and don't need to wash our hair, we're not much faster. This is a bigger environmental issue than you might think — the way we choose to exfoliate and freshen up has potentially dramatic impacts on our daily water consumption.
In the UK each of us currently use around litres a day let's not even start on the embedded water , which adds over 3, further litres to our indirect daily quaffing and the government wants individuals' daily water consumption to be cut to litres by So back to that survey to find the culprits.
There are also intriguing differences on age, with time spent in the shower decreasing with increasing age. The 55s and over mean shower time: Does this suggest a slap-dash approach to personal hygiene in the more mature, a no-nonsense efficient approach, or a deep seated eco-consciousness and concern about water conservation?
Of course, all this scrubbing and lathering doesn't just use water — it uses energy too. And rising bills are enough to make even the most bath-fond switch to showers. There have been some recent trends, such as the rise in shower-gel sales by Unilever, that confirm a money- and water-saving-inspired shift from bathing to showering. Apart from the distinct advantage of not having to scrub the tide-mark of scum from around the bath rim when you have a shower or is that just me?
However, this comes with a couple of big fat caveats: A typical bath uses around 80 litres of water whereas the average electric shower sprays out about six litres a minute. So you'd have to be soaping yourself vigorously for over 13 minutes to use the same amount of water as that bath. But if you have a power shower that pumps out up to 15 litres per minute, in which case you have only 5 minutes of swift slathering before, from a water conservation perspective, you might as well have had that bath.
There are ways to make your shower even greener, of course, such as aerating shower heads that mix in extra air to mimic the effect of a power shower without the water consumption of a thirsty elephant. But when it comes to the biggest environmental impact of your morning wash, like so many things in life, timing is everything.
The best way to understand how much water your morning sluice consumes is to get your hands on a shower timer and a water meter. I'd be interested to hear how long you spend in the shower - and how successful you've been in cutting your water use, or your shower-hogging partner's use.
Has anyone gone so far as sharing daily showers? Let me know in the comments.