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Access to clean water is an important part of proper hygiene practices. While brushing your teeth, cleaning around the house, bathing, or simply washing your hands, clean water is a cornerstone of sanitation. Although more than 70% of the planet is covered with this life-giving liquid, water that is suitable for human consumption and use is not an infinite resource: It’s been estimated that only 2.5% of it is fresh and only 1% of that amount can be used for our daily needs. For this reason, it’s important to find ways to conserve water in both the home and industries that require large amounts of this liquid, like manufacturing, and use water on regular basis, such as dentistry. With just a few changes in personal habits, the average person may find that they can save hundreds of gallons of water a month and may even enjoy a lower electricity bill as a consequence.
Regular tooth-brushing can spare you from painful dentistry procedures, but you can minimize the impact on your electricity and water bills if you modify your routine. According to water usage statistics, turning off the faucet while performing dental hygiene tasks can save a household of four up to 200 gallons of water a month. Similarly, reducing water pressure by installing a faucet aerator and using a cup to rinse your mouth instead of relying on your hands can keep water use to a minimum. Since there is some debate on whether hot or warm water is really necessary for effective brushing, you also may be able to lower your energy bill by simply skipping the hot water tap.
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- Bathroom Conservation (PDF)
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Washing your hands several times a day is an integral part of maintaining good personal hygiene and can keep you safe from illnesses. Install a low-pressure aerator on your sink so that you can conserve water when you turn on the faucet for both teeth-brushing and handwashing. Turn off the faucet while you lather your hands. Throw out any old soaps or cleansers made with microbeads and replace them with more eco-friendly ones, as these particles may end up in the ocean and compromise the health of wildlife. Pay attention to the physical integrity of your faucet and plumbing, too, and fix drips and leaks as soon as they arise to guard against unnecessary water waste.
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You can even conserve water while you’re cleaning. Invest in a water-saving dishwasher to use in your kitchen, as washing dishes by hand tends to use a lot more water; opt to turn on the dishwasher only when its full of dishes. Place a bucket in your shower so that it can catch extra shower water and use it to scrub your tub; think of it as giving your tub a dental cleaning and use a scrub brush! Choose organic and all-natural cleaning supplies, like lemons and white vinegar, instead of chemical agents that foam and leave residue behind. Get rid of your chemical cleaning agents, but responsibly dispose of them so that they don’t accidentally enter a community water supply and contaminate it.
- Conserving Water at Home
- Save Water While Washing Dishes
- Recipes for Greener Cleaners (PDF)
- Some Facts About Cleaning Product Disposal
- Managing and Disposing of Household Hazardous Waste (PDF)
Bathing consumes much more water than showering, so anyone concerned with their water usage should consider opting for a quick shower over filling up a bathtub with water. Those who want to safeguard themselves from overusing water may install a low-flow showerhead, which can dispense water at half of the rate of regular showerheads. Consider taking shorter showers by timing yourself: You might turn on a radio and limit yourself to showering for the length of only a few songs or hang up a clock in the bathroom to keep track of time. To conserve even more water, give water use a break in between tasks: Give yourself an initial quick rinse, turn off the water while lathering up or brushing your teeth, and turn on the shower again to rinse off the remaining soap.