Monday, October 8, 2007

Day Ninety-Two - Go With The Flow

Don't Run The Water Full Blast While Hand Washing

Did you ever notice how when you go to wash your hands, you act like the faucet only has two options --"on" or "off"? I know I do. It's either shooting out full blast or it's off and I never seem to maneuver the handle anywhere in between.

So today I set up my little experiment with a big bucket in the sink to see how much water I use to wash my hands. At full throttle, eight seconds of hand washing (don't freak out, Mom -- NOBODY actually sings the whole alphabet song when they wash their hands) results in 9 cups of water. Then I tried it at half throttle.

Oooops, accidentally went full throttle. Geez, if it's this hard to do when I'm concentrating on it, how am I ever going to stick to this one?!?!? Dump the water and start over.

Try again... ok half throttle, that'll work. Also, once the hands are wet and I'm in sudsing mode, might as well turn the tap off with my elbow. Now time to rinse.

Ooopsie, full throttle again. Of course, it's hard to be too precise when turning the tap on with your elbow. Ah, screw it, just rinse 'em off. OK, clean as a whistle and thoroughly rinsed. Another eight seconds of hand washing. Total water used (even with the full throttle rinse) was three cups.

Lesson learned: Shutting the tap off entirely while sudsing probably made an even bigger difference than going half throttle. Combine that action with going half throttle, and I'd be looking at only two cups of water used.


Assuming I remember the half-throttle part, I'll be saving seven cups of water per handwashing. How much hand-washing do I do each day? Hmmmm, I have two messy kids, a pooping-machine dog, a slight case of OCD, and a bad coffee addiction. I wash my hands at least 16 times per day. That's a savings of 112 cups per day, or over 2,500 gallons per year.

Difficulty Level: 1 out of 5

The only thing that would make this easier is if I had one of the really cool foot-pedal faucets like my dentist has. Then I wouldn't have to try to turn the faucet back on with my elbow.


Vera said...

great idea. I'm a dolt. Today I forgot to run back upstairs to check on the water filter...I left the water overflowing for probably 10 minutes. Ugh.

Anonymous said...

15 second soap, 15 second rinse. Yup, I sing the whole alphabet song. But using your elbow to turn the water is a great germ buster!