indoor water use

Saving water indoors


Saving water doesn’t mean doing without things we’re used to; it simply means doing things a little differently. Once water-conserving methods become a habit, the only difference you’ll notice is in your water bill — and the satisfaction of knowing that you’re helping save a valuable natural resource for future generations.


  • Never run water continuously. Leave water off while soaping, shampooing, shaving, brushing teeth, and scrubbing dishes or vegetables. Turn water on only while rinsing.
  • Instead of letting water run down the drain while getting hot water to the faucet, collect the cold water in a bucket. That water can be used to water plants or flush the toilet. To “bucket flush” a toilet, simply pour water in the bowl fast enough to move the bowl’s contents through the toilet. Regular flushing is recommended if the toilet contains solid waste.
  • Turn the water on just hard enough to do the job at hand. Seldom does a faucet need to be on “full blast.”
  • Install low-flow aerators on all faucets.
  • If a faucet drips, get it repaired as soon as you can. In the meantime, collect the dripping water in a bucket for other uses.
  • Instead of using cold running water to treat burns or nosebleeds, use ice cubes. To make a cold compress, place a wet washcloth in the freezer. To make a warm compress, heat a wet washcloth in the microwave.


  • Take showers, rather than baths.
  • While showering, run the water only while rinsing. Turn water off while soaping, shaving, shampooing, etc.
  • Arrange for family members to shower one after the other. That way you have to get the hot water up to the shower only once.
  • Don’t flush the toilet with each use. A jingle born of California water shortages runs, “If it’s yellow, let it mellow; if it’s brown, flush it down.”
  • If you don’t have a newer, low-volume flush toilet (1-1/2 gallons or less per flush), place filled water jugs or a “toilet bag” in the tank. This will displace some of the tank’s volume, thereby using less water per flush. Consider installing low flush toilets when you can.
  • Make sure your toilet doesn’t “run.” If it does, replace the ball float mechanism.
  • While using the sink (for tooth-brushing, face-washing, shaving, etc.), don’t let the water run continuously. Run the water only when you need it.


  • Never let the faucet run continuously– turn it on while rinsing dishes and vegetables or filling pans for cooking. Then immediately turn it off.
  • If your faucet drips, repair the valves or gaskets. Until a repair can be make, collect the dripping water in a bucket to use for watering plants or flushing the toilet.
  • Don’t run the dishwasher until it is full. If you have less than half a load of dishes to wash, it may use less water to wash them by hand.
  • Compost or throw out food scraps instead of running them through a garbage disposal.
  • Instead of running the kitchen faucet to get cold water for drinking, keep a pitcher of drinking water in the refrigerator.
  • Instead of running the kitchen faucet to get warm water, heat it in the microwave or on the stovetop.


  • Wash only full loads.
  • Wear clothes several times before washing.
  • With the dry air of the Palouse, towels dry quickly. Re-use towels until they’re dirty; don’t put them in the laundry simply because they’re wet.
  • Consider replacing your clothes washer with a water-conserving front-load machine. Not only do they save water, front-loaders get your clothes cleaner and clean them more gently than do top-loaders.
  • Use “extra-rinse” cycles only when absolutely necessary. One way to avoid “extra-rinse” cycles is to use a little less soap or detergent.