14 Easy Ways to Conserve Water in the Kitchen

When it comes to dealing with something as essential as water, all of us must have a single mantra: every drop counts.

Now, there are a lot of organized efforts out there you can support in the quest for global water conservation. However, not all of us have the time and resources to participate in such concerted efforts, no matter how noble.

Luckily, there are ways you can do your part in saving precious water without taking a single step out of your kitchen at home!

Here are 14 simple ways you can save water in the kitchen.

Check for leaky faucets

Faucets that continue dripping ever after you’ve turned the tap all the way off are not just annoying when you’re trying to get a good night’s sleep. It also wastes about 180 gallons of water per week

If you notice that you’ve got loose thread or any other problem causing your kitchen faucet to leak, don’t put off going to the store for a replacement, or calling for a plumber to fix the problem right up.

You will sleep better knowing you’re not wasting water needlessly, and of course, without the relentless drip-dripping when it’s late at night.

Install a faucet aerator

You may have noticed that the faucet in your sink is responsible for most of the water that goes to waste in your kitchen. To remedy this once and for all, it would be a good idea to invest in an efficient faucet aerator. Some faucet aerators can save up to 70% water which translates to significant savings on your utility bills. This small device alone can be responsible for most of your water conservation, so don’t look past it.

It is unnerving to have to remind guests and even your housemates to practice the same water-saving techniques you do, so just nip the opportunity to waste water right at the bud. 

Read about the best faucet aerator’s here.

Recycle water

This seems like a no-brainer but an embarrassing amount of water gets wasted every day on glasses that remain half drunk. Instead of pouring all this water down the drain, you may use it to water your houseplants or use it to refill your pets’ drinking bowls instead of using fresh water every time. 

Mark your glasses

While it’s understandable that nobody enjoys cluttered tables and countertops, immediately washing your cups and glasses each time you drink (especially if it’s just water) is totally unnecessary and wastes a lot of good water. 

Here’s a tip for those who have roommates or family members: First thing in the morning, every member of the household should ‘claim’ a cup for his/her own use throughout the day. Put a temporary marker on it so you won’t forget which cup is yours. This way you don’t have to worry about accidentally using another person’s used cup, and you can put off washing your own when you’re ready to retire for the day.

Run the dishwasher only when it’s full

Running the dishwasher multiple times a day consumes a lot of water, electricity, and detergent. Even though it’s tempting to get the dishes done and over with right after you eat, try to hold off on using the dishwasher until you have a full load ready for cleaning. Doing this will cut your dishwasher usage by one full cycle and can save up to 320 gallons of water every year.

Use water bowls when washing produce

Fruits and vegetables that come straight from the market do need washing before you consume them. Instead of running them under the sink or through a power washer though, prepare a bowl full of water and wash your produce there. 

Afterwards, don’t forget about our tip on recycling water! You can keep your houseplants happy by using your rinse water to feed them. 

Steam, don’t boil

If you’re serious about saving water, then it’s time to rethink the ways you cook your food. Boiling vegetables consume a whole lot of water rather than steaming them. Not to mention, steaming allows you to preserve nutrients like Vitamin C, which is easily damaged when boiling or frying. 

If you have one of those rice cookers that have steaming trays, you’re in luck. Simply steam your vegetables at the same time you cook rice — no extra water needed!

When you do have to boil, choose smaller pots

Still, you can’t completely do away with boiling stuff especially for pasta dishes. But all you have to do to still limit your water usage is to use pots of the appropriate size. Bigger pots need a lot of water and take longer to boil (wasting a lot of electricity or gas, too) so be sure to choose a smaller one for your boiling needs. 

Again, do not forget to recycle your (unflavored) water afterwards. If you want to use it to water houseplants, though, be sure to let the water cool first, since hot water damages most roots.

Cool drinking water in the fridge

You might not realize it, but we all waste substantial amounts of water waiting for the tap water to run cold (or hot). Nobody wants to drink the first lukewarm, flow, right? Well, an easy tip would be to catch that first surge of warm water anyway, and just put it in a pitcher in the fridge so you can drink it later in the day when it has gotten cool! 

Thaw produce overnight

Plan your meals early! If you need to thaw out meat from the freezer, then take it out and let it defrost in the fridge or the chiller overnight instead of letting your faucet do all the work. Defrosting meat for hours under running water consumes about 165,000 gallons of water each year. This translates to about $3,200 additional cost on your water bills!

If you forgot to take out the meat the night before you’re supposed to cook it, then refer to tip #6 to minimize the damage.

Soak pots and pans – always

It wastes a lot of water when you meticulously scrub oil or grime out of pots and pans under while the tap is running. To save water, soak them first and leave them be for a few hours. This way, you can eventually wash them easier and quicker, using less water in the process.

Scrape your dishes

For regular dirty dishes that are headed straight to the dishwasher, though, there’s absolutely no need to soak them. Instead, save water by scraping out any leftovers straight to the trash bin. 

If you ate something with sauce, rinsing is necessary. For this purpose, be sure to keep a spray bottle in the kitchen and just soak your dishes with a spray or two instead of running the tap.

Go for water-efficient kitchen equipment

In line with the previous tip, make sure you get the most water-efficient model for any kitchen equipment you may wish to purchase and install in your kitchen. Don’t worry– most water dispensers, filtration systems, and dishwashers have variants geared towards efficiency nowadays. 

Turn off the tap when brushing your teeth

If you use the kitchen sink to wash your teeth, be sure to turn the tap off when you’re not rinsing. Doing this can save 8 gallons of water on a daily basis. Assuming you brush your teeth twice daily, you’d be saving almost 3,000 gallons per year.

Side note: dental experts swear you don’t actually need to rinse your mouth with water after spitting out the toothpaste. Apparently, doing this will wash away the concentrated fluoride on the paste– defeating the whole purpose of using toothpaste in the first place!

Some people find the whole idea repulsive but imagine how much water you can save by doing this.

The Bottom Line

Water conservation activist Jacques Cousteau once said, “We forget that the water cycle and the life cycle are one.” Indeed, in a world where 1.4 billion people live without access to clean water, it’s obscene that the average person who does have access, wastes 30 gallons of it every day. You should be proud of yourself for reading this article and in effect taking the first step towards having a kitchen that limits the amount of water it uses on a daily basis. 

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