What is the optimal duration of a shower to save water?

What is the optimal duration of a shower to save water?

How long should a shower last so as not to harm the planet (too much)? A question that several environmental and scientific organizations have asked themselves, and the answer to which could not only benefit the environment, but also consumers’ wallets. On the occasion of World Water Day, this Friday March 22, here is the duration you should not exceed when you wash.

Can you wash in just four minutes, as The Guardian recommended in 2023? A record time which leaves little room for relaxation and personal hygiene, according to the experts. The latter think that one minute should be added to carry out this daily gesture.

A long shower equals a bath

Better to take a shower than a bath. A concept acquired by ordinary people, but which only makes sense if you do not exceed the required duration, namely five minutes. Taking a long time in the shower would mean consuming as much water as taking a bath. Not very profitable, nor eco-responsible. And yet, the majority of individuals would spend more than this time in the shower. In the USA, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates the average duration of a shower to be around 8 minutes, while a survey carried out by BVA-Domeo in 2015 reported an average duration of 9 minutes for the French. Far too much given the recommendations of a host of experts, including the Ecological Transition Agency (Ademe), who recommend favoring showers of less than 5 minutes to reduce, or not see your energy bill explode. water and energy.

And it must be admitted that a simple calculation can confirm this recommendation. If we consider that a conventional shower head consumes around 15 liters of water per minute, an 8 or 9 minute shower will therefore generate around 120 liters or 135 liters of water respectively, almost as much as can contain some bathtubs. Whereas a shower of 5 minutes maximum, without turning off the water – but we will come back to that, will only consume 75 liters. A significant difference which, when compared to the week, should convince you to reduce the duration of what is considered for many to be a moment of relaxation. And we are only talking about water consumption here… Unless you only take cold showers, we must add to this the costs linked to the use of hot water, which are expected to continue their meteoric rise in the months to come.

Reduce your bill as much as possible

Faced with the explosion in energy costs, advice and recommendations are pouring in to reduce your bill optimally, and at the same time adopt more responsible behavior. Beyond the duration of the shower, set as we have seen at 5 minutes maximum, Ademe recommends turning off the water when soaping. A reflex which would again considerably reduce the bill, if we estimate that around thirty liters of water can be lost unnecessarily. But the Ecological Transition Agency also advises investing in an economical shower head and a foamer. The first would reduce consumption to 6 liters per minute, with a 5-minute shower generating only 30, while the second would reduce the flow rate by up to 50% “without losing comfort”. Enough to significantly reduce your water and energy bills.

Final advice, and not the least, although quite logical, Ademe recommends not neglecting possible water leaks. This seems self-evident, but an undetected and unrepaired leak can cause up to 600 liters of water to be lost per day depending on its origin. “Read the numbers on your water meter just before going to bed. When you wake up, if these numbers are not identical and no one has used water during the night, look for the leak!” advises the environmental agency.

What about personal hygiene then?

Is a shower of less than 5 minutes enough for impeccable personal hygiene? Yes, according to many health professionals who are regularly questioned on the subject. Interviewed by the American media Healthline in 2020, dermatologist Edidiong Kaminska then estimated that a shower lasting 5 to 10 minutes was sufficient to optimally cleanse and moisturize the skin. More – or less – could on the contrary weaken it. People affected by skin problems, such as eczema, are also invited to reduce this duration, just like the thermostat, to reduce the risk of inflammation.

Far from the moment of relaxation appreciated by a crowd of consumers, the quick shower therefore has the merit of being economical and ecological, while meeting the needs of the skin. So many reasons to experiment with it and adopt it.