thShower Redemption


In this millennial moment I think back on these pat nearlyathousand posts and wonder what topics I should revisit. A few themes have been recurrent of course and now seems like the time to comment on the past. I'm not often waxing nostalgic so I should take the chance when I can. Even if it means that I destroy what we know of history in the process.

Take showering, the process by which I generally clean my body. Showering is done by placing the naked body under a stream of falling water. Combine the water with cleansing chemicals (eg, soap) and together they leave the body clean, if wet. Generally I use a drying process called "toweling" after showering before redressing in order not to dampen my clothing.

But if you read Thmusings you already know all this. I've talked about my showering habits and methodology before (here and here and here and here) but all these posts do not reflect the current reality. Anyone reading these posts would assume that I, Theric, am a lengthy showerer, using thousands of gallons a month in cleansing my body from dirt and oils.

Not so.

Times have changed (cf here or, even better, here). I am now most notable for how very little water I use in the showering process.

(Before I share my secrets, it should be noted that all water from the showering process is now preserved in the Thteed household and used to flush the toilet.)

Here's how it works. (Note that step two is omitted in warm weather as I, in those circumstances, shower in cold water.)

1. Keep water heater at a low enough temperature that one may stand under an undiluted stream of hot. (This prevents the need to adjust hot and cold to a livable temperature.)

2. Warm the water.

3. Drench hair and turn off water.

4. Shampoo hair and use the resulting suds to wash face and ears, neck and as far down my body as they will reach.

5. Turn on water and rinse shampoo from hair and body.

6. Turn off water.

7. Using body hair as a loofah, use a small amount of soap to wash remaining body.

8. Turn on water and rinse body.

9. Turn off water.

And I'm done.

This method uses about five gallons of water, I would estimate. According to a brief amount of internet research, the average showerer uses 15-25 gallons per five minutes of showering.

Living in California and showering as I do, I think it's now pretty safe for me to say that I am a better person than you.

How does that make you feel, you wastrel?


  1. I take a normal-length shower, but I only shower about once a week, so that probably makes up for the length. Also I don't pollute the water stream with chemicals unless absolutely necessary. I'm not greasy or sweaty, and I don't live a lifestyle which causes me to become dirty, so for me, showering is not as necessary as most people believe it to be.

  2. Theric -- "Using body hair as a loofah, use a small amount of soap to wash remaining body."

    Ew. T. M. I.

    and I'm curious how you preserve the water from shower to flush your toilets...or are you kidding?

  3. .

    No, we just plug the tub and then scoop it out into a bucket and use that to flush. It would be lovely to have an actual gray-water system, but no.

  4. um... I think that maybe you didn't need to share the phrase "using body hair as a loofah", that was gross. We have a real loofah in there, please, use that.

    Kengo, Theric is not kidding, we save the water in the tub then use it to flush the toilet. That does in fact mean that when we shower, the collected water slowly rises up to our ankles. This was kind of gross at first, but now we are used to it and find that the water savings outweigh the gross factor.

  5. .

    I've been thinking about what you said, Redoubt, because in the winter I only need to shower every other day, really, and, usually, I could get by without soap. So the question is using less water better than the chems?

    I've decided yes. California being so watershort and sewage being sewage anyway. But that answer may not bear true for all locales. So if we move, I may need to reevaluate.

    And about the loofah comment, I tried to say that as delicately as I could. Guess I still need work in that department.....

  6. A 'long' shower for me is one in which I am in the shower for longer than 2.5 minutes.

  7. It makes me feel grateful to live in Idaho with unmetered water, so I can just soak it up and enjoy! My showers last at least 2 hours for maximum cleanliness! What would you suggest to use as a loofah for those of us without body hair?

  8. .

    I don't actually have body hair either. Which is why I thought I was being discreet.....