Postponing your outfit can help you save water: here’s how



PROVO, Utah (ABC4) – Utah experienced a record-breaking dry summer, with most, if not all, of the state experiencing extreme or exceptional drought conditions throughout the warmer months. The lack of rainfall and the reservoir’s limited supply meant that many were looking for ways to reduce their water use. With dry conditions still present and the threat of climate change coming faster and more intensely, you may be looking for other ways to reduce your water use.

Every day we use water. It is practically inevitable. We use it to hydrate, clean, refresh, maintain our lawns and gardens. With that, we were all reminded of ways to conserve water, like letting our lawns turn yellow, or even turn brown, and taking shorter showers. Some have even taken it to change how often they flush the toilet.

But it might be worth revisiting the three Rs: reduce, reuse, and recycle. Especially the first according to Ben Abbott, assistant professor of ecosystem ecology in the department of plant and wildlife sciences at Brigham Young University.

Take, for example, the shirt you’re wearing right now. Is it really dirty and needs to be cleaned, or could you wear it a couple more times before washing it? Or the mug you’re drinking from – could you use it another day or two?

Postponing your outfit or reusing your dishes just once could cut your water use in half, says Abbott. Cutting back and doing one less laundry than normal could save up to 30 gallons of water, depending on your washer. When it comes to your dishes, you can also avoid rinsing them in the sink – most dishwashers have the ability to clean your dishes.

And when you run your dishwasher or a load of laundry through the washing machine, Abbott says your machine may already be saving you water. Many dishwashers and washing machines are energy efficient, save water and lower your electricity bill. Are you unsure of the efficiency of your machines? Most come with ratings based on their water consumption.

In addition to saving water, reducing washes can help preserve your items. As Abbott explains, washing your clothes frequently can wear them out. Fewer washes – and smarter washing, like using the cold water cycle – can help your clothes last longer. Much of the reason we wash our clothes so frequently is cultural, Abbott notes, adding that in most cases your clothes will smell “absolutely fine” and you will be able to wear your outfit again.

Reducing the operation of your dishwasher and washing machines are just a few of the ways you can save water in your home. Abbott says your water softener may also be to blame. In a day, your water softener can use 40 to 50 gallons of water. He recommends recalling the frequency of your water softener. For his family, Abbott says they did the same and are “totally happy without it.”

Outside your home, of course, Abbott says watering your lawn is one of the biggest wastes of water. Utah Governor Spencer Cox shared the same sentiment earlier this summer. According to Abbott, about 15% of Utah’s water is used outside the home – the remaining 85% is for state agriculture. Letting your lawn turn yellow, or even turn brown, can help conserve water.

For more tips on how to save water, click here.


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