17 February 2022

How to clean your house and save water

When we think of cleaning the house, vivid thoughts of sloshed soapy water come up second only to the desire or dread to do it, depending on if you ‘ahh!’ or ‘ugh’ over the task. Regardless, water is typically part of the cleaning process. But, it doesn’t have to be. Yep, there are quite a few nifty ways to clean your whole house without using an unnecessary drop of water. Here’s how:

Scrape instead of rinse dishes for the dishwasher

Ok, so technically yes, water is involved in how a dishwasher works. But, there are ways to clean your dishes without using more water than you need to. The amount of water you waste pre-rinsing dishes has been estimated to be anywhere from 10 litres to 75 litres every day. This obviously depends on how many dishes you have in a day, and what you do or don’t rinse. The very best way to ensure you’re not wasting any water for this cleaning task is to not rinse at all. Most dishwashing liquids and powders are designed to attach to food scraps and dissolve them, making the process part of the expected and designed function of the dishwasher. If you’d really rather not have a lot of food scraps in your dishwasher, though, your better bet is to scrape them into the bin or compost (which is an added free bonus for your garden!).

Clean hardwood, dry

Mop and bucket are a common pairing for tackling hardwood floors, but there is a better way to do this (both for water saving, and for the outcome). Firstly, give it a good old brush to pick up the new dust that has landed, getting into the corners, nooks and crannies. Then, use a microfibre attachment mop to run over the floor, going back and forth over it to pick up any stubborn grime. If that isn’t working, you can apply a small amount of floor cleaner concentrate onto the area (do a test on your floor to make sure there’s no staining). Use a wax paper attachment on the mop to give a professional finish feel, and vacuum if you want to take it next level. If this seems like a lot of work, think of the stress and time saved going back over the footprints of the kids who somehow never hear ‘don’t walk on the wet floor!’.

Get on your broom

You’d be surprised how much a moderate bristle broom can get done in the cleaning stakes. From cobwebs to picking up things stuck to the floor and even cleaning your outdoor patios and paths, they are super effective for cleaning without water. And, they’re a lot less messy.

Let sprays do their job

If your cleaning sprays are not working effectively without the addition of water, then it’s time to find one with greater efficacy. Your cleaning spray is designed to clean your home’s surfaces, and shouldn’t require any further wiping down. If you’re worried about the chemical residue, or chemical smell, there are wonderful natural cleaning product brands that are safe for all surfaces in your home, including the table and kitchen, and smell delightful.

If you must, use rain water

Of course, the onset of rain makes this one possible. So, if you are in luck with a shower on your cleaning day, make the most of it. While you still don’t need a lot, if any, water to clean your home (as we’ve demonstrated above), if you do happen to require it there are more sustainable ways of using it without going to the tap. Collecting just one small bucket of rain water will cover all cleaning needs for your entire home. It’s especially useful when it comes to cleaning things like your bath (where some cleaning products leave a chalky residue); a ready supply of rain water will stop any temptation to reach for the faucet.

Tidy tips

A big part of cleaning the house is doing the things that might be avoided with some small changes to your daily habits. Some examples of habits that can help with saving water in the future are:

  • Keep a squeegee in the shower. Once you’ve finished your (nicely timed 4 minute) shower, your shower screen should be wet. To avoid shower scum build up, run the squeegee over the window and it’ll sparkle for longer.
  • Be mindful when spitting out your toothpaste. You can even make this a game with the kids; see who wins for getting the toothpaste directly in the plug hole. This’ll help mitigate build up in the sink.
  • Wipe off toothpaste and grooming/beauty products that land on the basin, vanity or mirror as soon as they spill. Again, it’ll stop build up and so the need for water to help clean them up when they dry.