There’s an age-old debate that should be put quickly to bed, but the answer to that age-old question is a surly and politically correct, “it depends.”

That question is this:

Does showering or bathing use or conserve more water?

Or, put differently:

Is showering or bathing worse for the environment?

There are a number of key factors that play into this age-old debate, including–but certainly not limited to:

  • The size of your tub. The bigger the tub, the more water will be required to fill it. Obvious yes, but for folks that don’t mind short showers and have a large tub, the answer may be clear.
  • The level to which you fill said tub. If you’re comfortable taking a shallow bath in a small tub, good for you. You’re probably an anomaly, but at least you’re conservation-minded.
  • The flow of your shower head. If you prefer showers over baths, you may be well-advised to swap out your shower head for something that does a better job at conserving the flow of water.
  • The length of time you spend in the shower. When measuring the differences in water use between showers and baths, the length of time the water runs is perhaps the biggest differential. One thing is for certain, you are more likely to waste more water if you shave in the shower.

When you get down to the question as to which option is more harmful on the environment, you’re likely not making a logical guess. Whether one option wastes more water over another is purely speculative and will vary based on the above items. However, it is certain that if you like to take long, hot showers, you’re likely not a friend on the water conservation friendlies list of the EPA.

The next time you feel like relaxing, your best bet may be to draw a nice warm bath rather than spend 20 minutes in the shower. Unfortunately for you, however, shaving your legs in the tub may be akin to shaving them in the pool. One other consideration for showering over bathing is that you simply cannot pee in the tub like you can in the shower. Something to think about.

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