The climate crisis is worse than ever - in 2020 the earth’s surface temperature was 0.98°C warmer than the 20th-century average. These soaring temperatures and strange weather conditions can unfortunately cause water shortages.
With that in mind, we've decided to uncover just how much our bathing practices are costing the environment. To find out, we surveyed 2,000 Brits on their shower and bath routines, then quantified and split the results against the UK population to reveal the UK’s environmental damage from bathing.
Dominic Lees-Bell, bathroom expert here at Drench said, “Whilst we don’t want you to stop enjoying your downtime in the shower or bath, we can all make a difference with a few adjustments. We’ve revealed some helpful tips to cut down on water in the bathroom, which benefits the planet and your pockets with savings of up to £303”.
Click to see how much water we use annually whilst bathing">
Did you know that the average shower lasts eight minutes? That eight-minute shower uses 62 litres of water on average. This doesn’t sound like much, but when you analyse the UK’s showering habits, this equals almost 5 trillion litres in just a month! That’s enough to fill 43,207 cruise ships. In a year, this amounts to 56 trillion litres of water, the equivalent to 518,493 cruise ships.
36 billion kg of CO2 is produced in the UK from Baths in One Month
Most homes in the UK are equipped with a gas boiler, so heating our water actually produces carbon emissions. Surprisingly, the bathroom produces the most water-related carbon emissions in the home – 539 kg CO2, compared to 336kg CO2 in the kitchen.
However, when you look at the whole of the UK, the CO2 produced jumps massively. A huge 36 billion CO2 is created, and that’s just from one month of baths. Not sure what 36 billion kg CO2 looks like? Well, it's equivalent to the CO2 emissions from 40 billion pounds of coal burned, or almost 10 coal-fired power plants in a year.
It Costs the Average Brit £236.80 a Year Just to Shower
Our survey has revealed that most Brits shower once a day with 52% of Brits admitting to this showering habit. Although showering daily seems pretty normal in the UK, it’s quite unusual for the rest of the world. Our daily showers have become a cultural practice rather than for hygiene purposes. This makes it even more shocking to hear that a shower every day uses 2 and ½ hot tubs worth of water in a month.
A bath uses even more water – a whopping 3 ½ hot tubs worth in a month, racking up £25.30 in water and energy bills. That’s about 83p for every bath.
Over a year, our showering habits equate to a whopping 22,630 litres of water - enough to fill 30 hot tubs. It’s enough to drain most bank accounts too with steady rising utility bills. In fact, Brits will be spending £236.80 on hot showers over a year. And, a massive £303.60 on baths.
Over a lifetime, the average Brit can expect to spend £16,576 on showering, and £24,591.60 on baths (based on April 2022 water and energy prices).
Click to see one person's lifetime of showers">
4 Tips to Save Water in the Bathroom and Cut Your Utility Bills by £303
After reading how much a shower and bath can cost, you might be thinking how you can save money in the bathroom. Well, you don’t have to give up bathing! We’ve uncovered some simple tips and tricks to help you save £303 in the bathroom. Read on to save.
1. Save £118 by Installing a Water-Saving Shower Head
Aerator shower heads combine water with air, creating larger droplets of water and giving the feeling of more water than there is. These water-saving shower heads use up to 50% less water, so you can cut your showering costs in half and save a nice £118 over a year.
2. Save £88 by Taking a 5 Minute Shower
The average person spends 8 minutes in the shower, using 62 litres. However, did you know by just cutting down your showering time by 3 minutes you could save 23 litres of water? Over a year you could save £88 in water and energy bills.
Not sure how to cut down your showering time to 5 minutes? Well, a good way to keep track of time is by creating a 5-minute playlist. Of course, you could set yourself a timer, but who doesn’t love a good sing in the shower? It’s also a good idea to have your bathroom organised and ready to go, so you’re not wasting time looking for your toiletries!
3. Turn the Water off Whilst You Shave and Save £59
It takes about two minutes to shave and, in that time, you would have wasted 15.6 litres of water. Why not turn the shower off whilst you shave and save £59 annually in water and energy bills? You could use a bucket, jug or any type of container and place it in the shower to collect water. Then, when you turn off the shower to shave, use your collected water to rinse your razor.
4. Save £38 by Plugging the Drain Whilst Waiting for the Water to Turn Hot
In some households, it can take as long as a minute before your water turns hot. If you don’t have the plug in, you could waste as much as 10 litres of water. So, rather than waiting for your water to turn hot and letting all that water (and money!) go down the drain. Keep your drain plugged and adjust the temperature whilst the bath runs, saving you £37.95 annually.
Drench surveyed 2,000 Brits on their shower and bath routines, then quantified and split the results against the UK population to reveal the UK’s environmental damage from bathing and showering. This was worked out with the following data sources: Average shower length = 8 minutes and uses 62 litres of water - https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/shortcuts/2017/aug/23/bath-or-shower-what-floats-your-boathttps://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-15836433
Average bath uses 80 litres of water. https://www.south-staffs-water.co.uk/media/1539/waterusehome.pdf
Cost of bathing and showering based on April 2022 prices, using average water cost of £2.27 cubic metres. Average water cost was calculated by analysing several water service companies around the UK. Cost to heat the water is based on 0.28p per kwh.