How much time should you spend in the shower?

Coming from a country like Nepal, I do appreciate getting an abundance of clean drinking water and hot water for a shower.

Even in the urban areas in Nepal not all people have availability of constant running water in their homes. The Nepal Water Supply Corporation supplies drinking water to the homes in urban areas but even there people are lucky if they can get drinking water a couple of times or so in a week. They still need to store this water as it has to last them until the next time the water is released in their area. In some areas where piped water is not available, due to technical reasons or unavailability of water, the water is distributed by water tankers, so there the people have to collect the water from the taps on tankers and use that water for the rest of the week. In summer months it is normal not to get water for many days as the dam level is low and the supply of water to even urban areas is severely disrupted.

I was lucky that the house I grew up in Nepal had a well in front of it which made sure that we always had enough clean water to drink, shower and wash cloths with. When my parents moved away from joint family into their own house, we had a well built in our yard and a big tank installed to collect water in, so we always had plenty of water.

But I have seen lots of people in Nepal struggling due to the unavailability of water. Most people these days buy water at least once a month, this includes my in-laws as well. So they use water with great care.

In Australia, it is really difficult for people to believe that so many people don’t have access to clean drinking water and use water from ground wells or ponds to bathe and wash cloth. This made me curious to know how much time we normally spend having a shower.

I myself am guilty of taking hot showers in the winter and spending more than 5 minutes under the shower with a constant flow of water running over me as it helps me relax. I know that I am wasting water but I am trying hard to mend that habit.  Normally I shower every day in summer and every other day in winter. These showers are not too long, may be 5-10 minutes max. But on weekends when I take a shower, I take my time and enjoy the hot water so these can go up to 30 minutes max. I am also guilty of filling a bathtub with hot water and relaxing in it. I can’t imagine how much water I am wasting by showering/bathing so long but I really feel good after these long showers.

I find that most men don’t take long showers, most likely because they have short hair :-D. This is my observation from watching how long my dad, brother and now my husband takes in the shower. But I know people who spend more than one hour every time they take a shower. I had a flatmate once, who used to spend at least 2 hours in the shower every time. It used to get really annoying when one of us had to use the toilet. Even when we talked to her about it; she used to say that it is her habit and she couldn’t change it.

When I talk to my friends and colleagues about their shower habits, most of them seem to think 30 minutes for a shower is a reasonable time. But I am sure if I talk to anyone from Nepal or a country where there is not enough clean water available even to drink; they will have a different opinion.

Since I got married, my husband reminds me, constantly, to save water and I am making an effort to do so as much as possible. He hates it when I have the tap running while brushing and reminds me that there are people for whom the water that I waste would last months.

So what is going on in the shower? How long do YOU shower?

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40 responses to “How much time should you spend in the shower?

  1. Wonderful post. We pay a fortune for water (and electricity) in South Africa. I think it’s a good idea to get into a habit of saving all resources. My husband grew up in the UK and showers for ever. I do five to ten minutes – unless I’m cleaning it too. It was interesting to read everyone’s comment.

    • I think it is always the case when you have enough, you don’t know the difference but when you don’t have it, and then it is so precious. I really believe people should travel more often and see the world and understand what they have is so precious for other people and learn to conserve.

  2. I would have never guessed that in Italy as well they don’t have 24 hours supply of water. Looks like the water problem is more wide spread than I was thinking initially.
    Here in Australia, we pay around $200 a quarter so $800 a month which is not bad compare to other families who pays lot more for the water bill.
    I think in Nepal it is quite expensive. I think my parent pay around Rs 1500($16) a month with is a lot for there. Also they pay Rs1000 ($11) now and then for the truck to come over.

  3. We have the same situation in Sicily that you described in Nepal – you get running water for 2 days a week and you have to store it so you have something to use the other days. If you run out you can usually call a truck to come, but that costs a lot more.
    This water is not safe to drink, so we also buy all our drinking water from a special shop that refills our bottles.
    One person here said that you can use al the water you want if it is available, because saving it will never bring more water to the people in Africa or other places where they don’t have enough. That’s true, but he’s missing the point. Doesn’t he know how much electricity and other resources are used to clean up the water before it is sent to our homes? When you waste water, you also waste the earth’s other resources and we only have a limited amount of those for the whole planet.
    My own showers only ever last 5 minutes max, if I am shampooing, and I manage to do the lot in 2 minutes if I cover my hair. I am amazed that people can spend so long in the shower and I am almost unable to believe how someone can stay under runnig water for 2 hours.
    I do hate having to rush my showers but I was brought up that you don’t waste anything.
    Also, how much do you pay for water? We have 3 people in my household and we pay about 400 Euros a quarter for water (that’s about 450 US dollars) – this makes something like 1,800/2,000 US dollars a year for water. Bigger families in Sicily pay more than this of course.
    I’d be interested to know what people pay for a year’s supply of water in America, or Australia….or even in Nepal.

  4. I can’t believe people spend more than 10 minutes in a shower. In Nepal, I take shower twice a week and 5-10 minutes is all I can afford. Half that time is spent putting soap or a shampoo. But 30 minutes or more in a shower…isn’t that a waste of time and water, especially when you shower everyday?

    A great blog.

  5. By the way, my average time in shower is 10 minutes, and the longest time I have spent till now is somewhere between 15-20 minutes, but not keeping water running the whole time.

  6. I definitely do not leave the tap running when I’m brushing my teeth, but I do take fairly lengthy showers at about 15-20 minutes each. I wish I could blame it all on hair washing, but it isn’t. I just like to warm up that way in the winter. I don’t take nearly as hot showers or as long showers in the summer. This is in part to the fact that I engage in a lot of water sports in the summer and am usually really hot when I do take a shower so I’ll take a quick cool one.

    Side unrelated note: I am trying to write a nepali/english children’s book. I need some help with the language to make sure I’m saying things correctly. I’d appreciate it if you would look it over on my blog.

    • I am sure you are doing a great job conserving the water. I admire you for living a simple life without modern appliance in your everyday life.

    • Dear Padmini, I have been following your blog and I think our friend “nepaliaustralian” can definitely help you with that. But, after all, your Nepali is far more better than my “Thai” language. I have stayed in Thailand for over 3.5 years and now finally its time to go back home, but still I do not have that fluency and command over “Thai” language as you have over “Nepali” language. Good luck.

      Sorry “nepaliaustralian” buddy. I don’t know your name.

      But, I hope that is fine.

  7. I tend not to shower that long just because it irks me to waste any of mother Earth’s resources. There’s a movie your blog post made me think of. It stars Gael Bernàl Garcia, called Even the Rain. It’s basically the struggle of Bolivian people trying to get water from the government control. It’s in Spanish, but I believe English subtitle versions are available.

  8. Every day 10 minutes in my home. If I m in Nepal in the summer time I need 5 minutes just with cold water, in the winter time…..omg as fast as possible.
    Good that you write about the drinking water situation in Nepal.
    The parents of my friend they live in a small village in east Nepal, they havent’t a shower, just water from the river. there I didn’t used a shower..
    We in Germany have a water counter in our flats and we have to pay for it. It’s in Australia the same?

  9. Most days, ten minutes. I’ve done 40 minute showers, I’ve showered two and even three times in a day, depending on activities and temperature.

    I end all showers, no matter the season, with the coldest possible water, say for thirty seconds or so, it wakes me up.

  10. I’m from the Philippines which has a tropical weather and I shower for around 30-45 minutes everyday 🙂

  11. So true! We take so much for granted in the western world!

  12. 15 min maximum if its a normal shower.

    I was told, “Don’t waste food, millions are hungry” when I was a kid. I think many of us, if not all, who have grown up in Nepal (don’t know about other places) are familiar with similar statements. But then I came to US and here you look so awkward when you finish everything that’s on your plate. I still try to finish everything that’s on my plate, but I have deliberately left some on the plate so many times before just to make sure that people don’t think that I was hungry for days.

    Fact is, No matter how I eat, millions are still hungry, and not wasting food on my part has never made their lives any better. Same thing on water, don’t feel guilty and just use the water as much as you want. Trust me there is enough water for everyone in this world, and you are not wasting anybody’s water. And no matter how much water you save in your shower in Australia, people in Nepal will continue to suffer from the shortage of water.

    • I never leave anything in my plate when I eat and have never thought about what people think about it. I don’t think people will think negative thinking if your plate is clean. I think they will think that you enjoyed your meal instead 

      I know what you mean but I still think we are better off if we can conserve water. The water I saved in Sydney never going to reach Africa or Nepal but I know if many people in Sydney do their part right, the damn level here will have enough water even in summer which means enough water whole year round.

      Also if we learn how to conserve water it will make our life easy when we go to places like Nepal where water is not easily available.

  13. A great reminder that we need to be careful with our resources – and water is such a precious one!

  14. What a thought-provoking post! I never really timed myself in the shower but I guess it depends on certain factors.
    As a woman, at certain times of the month, I tend to take very long (ahem) 😉 . But I take the longest when I’m washing my hair though. Although like Claire above, I also turn off the shower when I’m shampooing.
    When I’m in a hurry and running late I have been known to take a couple of minutes! 😀
    Thanks for this, it really puts in perspective how much we take for granted!

    • I am sure few times a month we are allowed to have a long shower but it is true that woman needs longer shower than man because of their hair. You are doing your bit Nisha so thank you 🙂

  15. There was a time I used to do 30-45min showers.. I love hot water showers regardless of the shower. But now they are down to 15mins or max of 20mins! I always check the time when I get outta a shower, sometimes I manage a tener and thats like a Grammys! I feel proud. Conserve water for our future 🙂

  16. I live in France now but my husband grew up in a refugee camp and so insists that our children turn the shower off while they are shampooing their hair, both to save water and expense and also not to leave the tap running when they brush their teeth, not such bad habits I do believe. With the tap off and conditioner in, I find it also a useful time to give the shower a quick clean!

    • It is so nice to see that parents are teaching kids from very young age to conserve water. I am sure your kids are going to have these values whole their life. I wish more parents are like you and teach their kids life’s basic reality from young age. Big applaud to you and your husband for taking this initiative.

    • The Kathmandu denizens usually have problem shifting their apartment just because of altercation with their apartment owners pertaining to water. Usually, the owners stays on the upper floor and they have full control over the water. Some of them are even so mean that they just close the tap water while at the same time they are themselves using the drinking water for washing their clothes.

      I am one of those sufferers and I can understand the pain.

  17. My showers in Canada used to last from 30 to 60 mins, really hot water.

    In India, probably 20 to 30 mins. The hot water is limited to however much the water heater called geyser can hold so I can’t have hour long showers any more 😦

    Even though I live in India where water shortages are rampant, my building complex (and other housing complexes of the same quality) is pretty good with supplying water and electricity 24/7. It’s kinda like a green zone.

    • I know the problem with geyser because in Nepal most home use that so if one member of the family has shower then another has to wait at least 30 minutes to get hot water. Lucky that you are living in a nice apartment in India where there is no water problem because I heard that in India as well , water is not easily available all time.

  18. What a really good post and also a wonderful question! My showers usually last 15-20 minutes, I am now worried that sounds too long. But I am being honest and maybe I better try to make them shorter from now on!

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