Looking for ways to conserve water in the kitchen? Here are 8 super simple ideas for how you can conserve water in the kitchen, one drop at a time.
How To Save Water In The Kitchen
Tip #1: Update your tap
Did you know that your kitchen makes up about 20 per cent of our home’s indoor water bill, with almost all of that coming from your humble kitchen tap? Here are our top recommended water-saving tap upgrades:
A water tap aerator
An aerator to control water flow can cut your water wastage by up to 50%.
This handy little fix can prevent costly damage to pipes and pipe leaks.
Tip #2: Fix leaks, pronto
Get on top of any leaks you spot with your kitchen tap quickly. Why? Without a repair, a leaking tap can result in an ocean of wasted water. A tap that drips just five times a minute can waste more than 650 litres of water over the course of a year.
Need a plumber to help you fix the leak? While you wait for the leak to get fixed, try catching as much of the dripping water as possible by sitting a bucket below the tap. Use this water for cooking, cleaning or gardening.
If you don’t have the luxury of an automatic tap, always turn your kitchen off tightly to stop drips.
Tip #3: Rinse and soak, don’t run
Skip the temptation to run water while washing or peeling vegetables or fruit. Instead, fill up a large bowl, plastic tub or even your sink with just enough water to cover the produce. Scrub the fruit and veggies clean with a brush. Voila, instant water saving.
Washing your hands in a double sink? Plug one side of the sink and use that basin for rinsing water instead of running the tap.
Tip #4: Be smart with washing dishes
Follow these simple tips to conserve water when washing dishes:
Use a dishwasher
While it might feel more virtuous to wash your dishes by hand, hand washing is actually far more wasteful. Hand washing usually involves two sinks full of water – one for soap and one for rinsing – or turning the tap on and off again to rinse each individual dish. In Australia, washing dishes by hand typically uses about 63 litres of water each time. If your dishes are rinsed under a running tap, the total water used jumps up to a staggering 150 litres. In comparison, an eco-friendly dishwasher uses as little as 15 litres of water per cycle.
To choose an eco-friendly dishwasher, look for one with a high WELS rating and a special fast or economy cycle perfect for lightly soiled dishes. Whenever possible opt for the quickest and most eco-friendly wash setting.
If you don’t have or can’t afford a dishwasher, try plugging your sink and filling it with only as much soapy water as you need to wash the dishes.
Don’t rinse plates — instead, scrape them clean
Scrape your dirty dishes clean without rinsing them underwater. If you have a pot or pan with particularly stubborn food caked on, try soaking the pot in hot water to lift up the food, rather than rinsing it under running water. If your dishwasher has a rinse-hold setting, feel free to use it.
Only run a full load
A dishwasher uses the same amount of water each time, no matter how full it is. For the best possible water savings, fill up your dishwasher with a full load before turning it on.
Tip #5: Cook cleverly
Love cooking in your kitchen? Here are some tips to help you make your cooking more water savings-friendly:
Cleaning fruits and vegetables
Instead of washing your fruit and veggies under running water, try rinsing and scrubbing them in a bowl of greywater.
- One-pot meals: Find recipes for one-pot meals to reduce the number of dishes you need to clean. You’ll save time and water!
- Steam your food: Whenever possible, steam your food instead of boiling. You’ll save water and have fewer dishes to wash later. Plus, steamed veggies retain far more nutrients. Here’s a handy trick to make your water and steam work double-duty. Put your steamer filled with veggies on top of the rice, potatoes or pasta you’re boiling.
Choosing pots and pans
Choose the sizes of the pots and pans you cook with care. Large pots allow for larger volumes of water, but you’ll likely find you need less water than you think.
Cooking food like pasta or potatoes? Choose the smallest pot and add only enough water to cover the food. To prevent evaporation and stop the food from drying out, place a lid on the pot during boiling and stir it regularly.
Unless you absolutely need to cook something in a big pot or pan, try to make use of smaller pots and less water.
Tip #6: Recycle water
Do you have unsalted water leftover from cooking? Here are some ideas to recycle this water:
Boil other foods
Reuse the water to boil the second round of food.
Cook rice and other grains
This water is perfect for cooking rice and other grains like quinoa, buckwheat, oats or lentils.
This water can be helpful for rehydrating or dissolving yeast when making bread.
Make soups or stocks
Soups made with water really let the ingredients shine. Just remember that when you use water, it’s especially important to add the right amount of salt.
Water your garden
Pour it over your garden to give your garden a healthy helping of nutrients. Water used to hard-boil eggs will add calcium to your soil, making it great for calcium-loving plants like tomatoes. Water used for boiling spinach adds iron. Simply make sure any water you collect for recycling is completely cool before feeding it to your plants.
Tip #7: Defrost with care
Never thaw frozen foods:
- Under running water
- At room temperature
- In warm water
- In the sun
Why? This can awaken nasty bacteria and trigger foodborne illness.
What do we recommend instead? Get organised and thaw your food in the fridge overnight. If you need to defrost food quickly, zap it in your microwave with the defrost setting.
Tip #8: Make smart decisions about how you drink water
Drinking water is important for everyone’s health. Here’s how you can do it smartly:
- Whenever possible, opt for tap water instead of bottled water. It takes a surprising amount of water – 6 litres – to manufacture just one plastic bottle. This is not even including the water inside!
- Drinking cold water from the tap often means waiting seconds for the water to run cold. This means for each one you drink, you’re effectively going through at least two glasses – the wasted water goes down the drain. We recommend keeping a chilled jug of water in the fridge for when you’re thirsty.
Here’s another tip: Running the tap while you wait for the water to get cold is a waste of perfectly clean water. This habit might seem harmless, but it can actually waste up to 4 litres each time you want a glass of cold water. Instead, keep a chilled pitcher of water in the fridge, ready to drink.