Wednesday 17 April 2013

Uses for second hand water

Here I go again, banging on about making the most of the water that comes out of your taps, not wasting any, using up every last drop. I have posted before about using the rinsing water from my hairwashing. In between baths, I wash my hair in a bowl in the kitchen sink. It's a shame to let it run down the plughole into the drains, there are lots of other things it could be used for. As well washing the kitchen floor with I've been thinking about other ways of getting more use out of it.

It's not only rinsing water from hair washing either, if you do some hand washing there is also the rinsing water from that which could be reused before it is thrown away. If you are on a meter like I am, making the most of your water can save loads of dosh. Here are a few ideas for using ever so slightly second hand water.

1. Get down on your hands and knees and wash the kitchen floor. Use an old rag cut up from old towels or sheets. You don't need to add any cleaning chemicals, unless you have a particularly greasy patch around the cooker. If you do this regularly, your floor will never get filthy.

2. You could wash the car with it, but if you only have one bowlful you will need to rinse the car with another bowl of water out of the tap. At least you will have saved on one bowl of water. If you have a motorbike you could wash it with one bowlful.

3. Wipe around the paintwork inside, or outside the house. Doors and skirting boards, window frames..

4. Wash the cat litter boxes. Empty them completely and give them a good scrub outside on the back yard. Use an old wash up brush kept outside for this purpose. Make sure they are completely dry before refilling with litter.

5. If you have any outdoor garden furniture, plastic or wooden, give it a good washdown. You can use old rags for this, or any soft brushes you have.

6. A well known use for second hand water, flush the toilet with it. I now have a big bucket next to my downstairs loo, any spare water goes into that. A small old saucepan hanging on the door handle makes the job easy.  I can easily transfer rainwater into the bucket as well.

7. Use it to water your outdoor plants, but only if it isn't too soapy. Don't want to kill them. I often put near clean water on my big outdoor pot plants.

8. Wash your wellies in a bowl of water. Outside of course, not in the kitchen sink :o)  Keep an old bowl outside for dirty jobs.

9. Give yourself a foot spa. Lay a towel down on the floor in front of your favourite arm chair. Gather together your soap, pumice stone or whatever you use for exfoliating, nail scissors, and body lotion. You will need to warm the water slightly for this, so put a cupful of fresh water in the kettle to top it up to a comfortable temperature. Get yourself a drink and read a book while your feet enjoy a nice soak. Very relaxing.

10. If you have any glass light shades, take them down for washing. It's amazing how dusty they can get. That reminds me, I must wash mine.

11. Wash the top of the cooker. Get into the habit of mopping up spilled or splashed food as soon as it appears. Keep on top of the job with second hand water. I hate cleaning cookers.

12. Wipe around the inside of the fridge. Take everything out, take the shelves out, wash them and put them back. Wash inside the door compartments.

13. Rinse through a few smalls. If they are not in need of a full wash, and want merely freshening up, hair rinsing water is ideal for this. Line dry them or hang them over the bath.

14. You can use hair rinsing water to wash other bits of your body. I've already mentioned feet, but don't forget that the other smelly bits might benefit from a wet sponge with a dab of soap.

15. If no other use can be found, add your bowlful of second hand water to the water butt outside. Any soap in it will be diluted by the rain water already in it.

Looking at this list, anyone would think I'm a domestic goddess, ha ha. Not true. I just hate waste of any kind. Just because it is freely available at the turn of a tap, doesn't mean that it isn't precious. Some people in the world don't have any, we should be mindful of that when we splash it about everywhere.  

I'm sure there must be many more uses, this is just a few to get you thinking about how you use your water. Be aware that the less chemicals you use, the more uses you can find for it. Heavily soaped water is best used in the toilet, or for dirty cleaning jobs outside. Don't poison your plants or garden animals with it. Feel free to add your own ideas.
Toodle pip.     


  1. I've been thinking a lot about this recently. I waste a lot of water. Thanks for some good ideas

  2. I will be printing this list out, so many great ideas.

    Sometimes if I have a couple of empty jars that I'm going to reuse I leave them in the washing up water over night to soak the labels off. To get rid of the sticky residue that some labels leave behind I put a little white spirit on the reverse of a cotton wool pad that I've used to take off makeup and rub it on the glass bottle then back it goes in the water for another rinse. :-)

    Linda xx

  3. Yes these are great.

    We are naughty and wash up once a day. There is only 2 of us but we do make a lot of washing up.

    I then chuck most of the water on the flowers!

    I remember being in the Namib Desert and our guide talked to us about water usage in the country. What an eye opener. It really change my perspective for life.

    Sft x

  4. Thanks for your reminders, MQ, these came in very handy at Christmas when our water main cracked on Boxing Day, and it didn't get turned back on until 2nd January. Mr O went to my mothers for a shower, but I managed with a bowl of clean, warm water to wash hair and body, over a second bowl which I then kept to flush the loo. It can be done! But then, I was a girl when we had the droughts in 1976 and 1977, when we were encouraged to share baths....

  5. Me again!

    Firstly love yesterday's post. Those tiles are so pretty and what a gorgeous cat!

    Secondly thank you for the tip of 30 ways to save £1. I got paid today and have you to thank.

    Sft x

    1. It's a pleasure Sft. It's good to share good news.

  6. I'm a water waster, i'm afraid to admit. I do save the shower water in the Winter for the garden or to top off the rain barrel. I need to work harder at eliminating waste.
    Nice post!

  7. Hi Debbie here. Thank you - some good ideas there. I'm no angel but I do try (I'm not on a meter). Washed the wheelie bin yesterday with grey water and a squirt of bleach. Need to fit a water butt this summer as a priority for the garden. What a great idea to flush the loo with rain water, you've got me thinking of other possibilities for rain water. Take care.

  8. Hi Debbie, that's a good one to add to the list, wash the wheelie bin with second hand water. Never thought of that.

  9. Hiya, sorry having difficulty emailing you. I have a £7 off £50 spend Tesco voucher you are welcome to if you would like it. I shall not spend that amount before it expires on 28th April. Please email me your address if so, Take care Alison x

    1. Hi Alison. Just remembered this. Sorry, a bit late with my reply. Thankyou for your kind offer, but I have no plans to spend that much before that date. In fact I never spend £50, I struggle to spend £30 with a £4 off voucher. Please give it to someone else. Best wishes.

  10. Some great ideas there.Thank you. We had a water meter fitted last year. There are 6 adults in this house, mostly young twenty somethings who do like their baths (we don't have a shower). Mind you as two of them work at a gym they do need to keep clean after a lot of physical activity. DH and I are happy to rinse off in a couple of inches of water but the kids like a full bath...but I do insist they share with at least one other family member (one after the other, not both in together) so at least it gets used twice. In the past I've saved bath water in the tub for loo flushing but as we suffer badly from condensation I found leaving the warm water for hours was making the issue worse. I do try to be economical with water usage, but its hard to keep track of what everyone else is doing without standing at their shoulders and constantly nagging. My bill will plummet when they leave home because DH and I will be so miserly with it.


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