Want to Recycle Water at Home? Here's How | the ReFab Diaries

Water is an important natural resource but boy, do we waste it. The primary reason is that for many of us, there is an abundance of it. However, if you've ever lived through a drought (and the water restrictions that go with it) you know what it means to curb water waste. It is also worth noting that wasting water doesn't help your water bills. Energy bills are already soaring, so the last thing you need is to be paying a costly water bill. Recycling water is one way to curb your usage. Here’s how you can do that:

Storing water

Before you can begin recycling water, you need to have somewhere to store it. The easiest way to store water is to use water storage containers because you can pour your unused water right into them. You can either store these containers outside or in the refrigerator if you are going to be drinking it. Most experts would advise buying the largest containers you can so that you can store more water. The more water you can store inside one of these containers, the less that’s wasted. You can also buy smaller containers to store inside your refrigerator for drinking.

Rice water

There is an interesting trend on the internet at the moment, where we're seeing people using rice water to condition their hair. Rice water is indeed very nourishing and can be very good for your hair. A lot of people discard their rice water, mainly because of the high starch content (which renders it undrinkable or unusable for many things). However, the same experts advocating for the use of rice water also say that it’s important to let it ferment for at least half a day before using it. You can store it in the refrigerator while it’s fermenting.

Warming shower

A lot of people run the water in their shower before they step in so that the shower water’s nice and warm. However, this is a massive waste of water. If you're guilty of doing this, then considering using the water containers recommended above to collect the water as it’s heating up. Once you are ready to get in you can put the container to one side and have a shower. Try to keep your shower short and, if it is possible, leave the plug in so that you have a bathtub full of used shower water. One reason for this will be explained later but for now, keep this in mind: this water is great for filling toilet tanks instead of wasting fresh water on flushing.

Dishwasher water

Most of us discard the water we use to wash dishes because it’s soapy and usually contains bits of food. However, dishwater is harmless to plants, so why not use it to water them? You cannot of course drink it or cook with it because of the soap content, but the soap content is only harmful to us. If it is possible for you to do so then you should buy natural dish soap, also. While normal dish soap isn’t harmful to plants, natural dish soap will be a much better option if you are going to do this, because you won’t be introducing chemicals of any kind to your soil.

Boiling vegetables

After you have boiled vegetables, don’t discard the water. The water that’s used to boil vegetables is often packed with nutrients. In fact, a lot of people advise against boiling your vegetables, because a lot of the vegetables’ nutrients will be lost during the boiling process. When you have finished boiling your vegetables, you can then either cool the water down and drink it, or you can use it in smoothies, soups, and stews. Make sure that you have thoroughly washed your vegetables before boiling them if you are going to reuse the water, so there is no soil in there. You can then use the water used to wash the vegetables to water plants.

Pasta sauce

Like rice, when we boil pasta, we tend to discard the pasta water. Why? The same reason we discard rice water: starch content. However, pasta water can be used to make incredible pasta sauces. If you are a lover of Italian food, then incorporating pasta water into your sauces will give them a much saltier, more delicious taste.

Washing rugs

After you have had a shower and saved all of the water, why not then use the water to wash your rugs? Rugs require a lot of water to be washed. Washing them with used shower or bath water will allow you to significantly cut down on the amount of water that you have to use (fresh water is needed only for a final rinse). Make sure that the water has cooled completely, especially if your rugs are woolen and naturally dyed because warm water can lead to the rugs losing their color. When you are washing your rugs, make sure that you let them soak for a while first, then dry them outdoors. It’s good to pick a warm day to wash them on so that they can dry outside.


The water from your dehumidifier can be used to water plants (or fill toilet tanks). You definitely shouldn’t drink the water that’s collected inside your home’s dehumidifier, because it can contain nasty chemicals and bacteria. But this water is safe for your plants. You can use dehumidifier water for indoor plants or outdoor plants. Leaving your dehumidifier running all day can use a lot of electricity though, so only use it when your home is exceptionally humid.

Collect rainwater

Finally, why not collect rainwater, which is free? You can drink and cook with rainwater (as long as you treat it first), bathe in it or use it to wash your clothes, flush your toilet, water your lawn or houseplants, compost, provide water to wildlife or even pets, use it in outdoor ponds, or use it to clean vegetables before you cook with them. You can buy a proper rain harvesting set-up online for next to nothing.

Most of us waste water. But if you're thoughtful about it, "waste" water really can be reused in many different ways. If you are going to reuse your water, make sure that you are clever about how you choose to do it. Ensure that you have enough storage containers, and a rain harvesting system if you’re able to buy one.

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