(BPT) - The average American household uses over 300 gallons of water per day. As our habits have changed while staying at home, we are likely using even more water than usual for handwashing, dishwashing and home cleaning.
For example, the Miami-Dade County, Florida Water and Sewer Department noted in recent media reports that city water usage could rise between 5 million gallons and 15 million gallons per day due to increased demand.
But regardless of your location, there are small changes to your daily routine that can have a big impact on your water-savings footprint.
Shannon Quinn, Global Water Stewardship Leader for P&G, says she was surprised to learn about simple ways to be sustainable at home.
“My family is eating all our own meals at home, so we need to clean many more dishes than before,” Quinn says. “I used to feel guilty about running my dishwasher, but then I learned you can save water by running your dishwasher instead of washing by hand — which can use up to 4 gallons of water every two minutes.”
Yes, run your dishwasher. With only eight dishes, you can save about 15 gallons of water compared to handwashing dishes, as well as energy and time. An Energy Star certified dishwasher can use four gallons every cycle — compared to four gallons every minute during handwashing dishes.
According to Energy Star, a new certified dishwasher will save, on average, 3,870 gallons of water over its lifetime. It can also be energy-efficient when using eco-mode, according to the manual.
Skip the pre-wash. Using products that allow you to skip the dish pre-wash also saves water.
“That’s why we like concentrated dishwashing detergents such as Cascade Platinum ActionPacs that are formulated to conserve water,” Quinn adds. “The powerful ingredients clean 24-hour stuck-on food so well, you can skip the pre-wash, which saves 15 gallons of water per load.”
When multiplied by all dishwasher users that pre-wash, this can save up to 150 billion gallons of water each year. Effective formulas that get the job done the first time also save water because you do not need to re-wash dishes when the cycle is over.
Use multi-purpose products. When choosing your cleaning products, it is helpful to think about safely getting you the clean you want while reducing the impact on the environment.
All-in-one products designed to conserve water and be used on multiple surfaces are good choices. For one household, SwifferWet saves over 70 gallons of water per year versus mop and bucket cleaners and can be used on a variety of floor surfaces. During allergy season, when dust and pollen tend to accumulate more, all-in-one wet mops can help reduce the time and water needed for more frequent floor cleanings.
These small changes in your cleaning routine can help make significant strides in diverting less water from rivers, bays, and estuaries to conserve our nation’s water supplies and keep the environment healthy for future generations.