The 3 Minute Shower Challenge

We heard you! After premiering the 5 minute shower challenge last month, Zero Waste California received tons of messages from around the globe. France, Australia, even within the U.S., so many of you responded to let us know that 5 minutes is JUST TOO LONG!


Oh yes, you said it! In many countries, 3 minute showers, spent efficiently, are totally doable and are already part of many people’s daily routine.

April showers might bring May flowers, but water scarcity is a global issue. Even if you don’t experience water shortages where you live, regions around the world are struggling to obtain potable (safe to drink) water. In some areas, local crime organizations control water supplies, jacking up the cost of clean water, and distributing diseased water at a lesser price.

According to, Americans take an 11 minute shower on average, which adds up to about 28 gallons per shower. If you shower daily, that’s 870 gallons of water per month, or 10220 gallons a year!

In other words, if you took a 3-minute shower, you are only using 7.5 gallons, (that’s less than 1/3 the normal amount!!!) Over a month, you would save 225 gallons of water (645 gallons saved.) Over a year you would be using 2737.5, gallons of water… That’s 7482.5 gallons saved!

Comparatively, you would be SAVING more than you are using.

Now, let’s try to speed things up!

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This April, we are promoting the 3-minute Shower Challenge. For those of you leisure-bathers passing the 3 minute mark now, we challenge you to knock as many minutes as you can off your shower time for the next month! Of course you don’t have to wait until April to start, start now! That’s why I’m posting this. I didn’t want it to wait, but starting something on the 7th of a month didn’t pack a lot of umph.

Think you can handle it? If so, spread the word! If we all try, we can save a lot of fresh water!

The Method:

1.) Make sure all your hygiene products are ready to go and easily reachable before you turn the water on. Don’t waste water trying to find some product while you have shampoo suds dripping down your back.

2.) Set an alarm on your phone. I set it for 2 minutes and 45 seconds, so when it goes off, I a few seconds to rinse off.

3.) You can sing in the shower, but this is no time for a solo opera. If you purpose for taking a shower is partially to relax, get over it, there are people still dying from cholera because they can’t access safe drinking water. Celine Dion will understand.

4.) Turn the water off while you lather up, this goes for soap, shampoo, conditioner, AND SHAVING. If the water is off, it does not count toward your 3 minutes. Since you really only need the water to get wet and rinse off, shut it off of the middle steps! If you need to rinse your razor, get a collect some during the shower into a container and dip the razor in that, don’t waste time or effort trying to flick off the stubble using a little shower head stream. It takes too long.


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