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5 ways to conserve water in an RV

Military showers

Showering everyday in an RV or any recreational vehicle while traveling is one of the fastest ways you’ll consume the majority of your freshwater. We choose not to shower every single day, and when we do shower in the RV, we take military-style showers.

If you aren’t familiar with what a “military shower” is, it’s a way of showering where you turn off the water in the middle of lathering and shampooing, then turn it back on when you need to rinse all the soap off.

Tip: Use a refillable spray bottle for days you don’t shower to wet your hair, and wet your face to wash it. We used to do quick hair washing under our kitchen faucet, and it ended up using a ton more water than we expected.

Military dishwashing

This may not be the official term for this type of dishwashing, but it’s along the same lines as a military shower. We get all the dishes in the sink wet, turn off the water and then soap up each dish, and set to the side on the countertop. Once all the dishes are soaped up we start to individually rinse off each dish,turning off the water after each dish is rinsed.

Tip: Biodegradable soap = Less suds = Less water used to rinse off soapy dishes

washing dishes in RV

Use less dishes

This may seem like a no-brainer, but in a small kitchen you really start to notice how many dishes each meal can use. So, to prevent ourselves from using excessive amounts of water during one meal’s worth of dishes, we try to use the least amount of pots, pans, and bowls possible. It kind of turns cooking into a game, and the reward is less time spent cleaning up after a meal.

Tip: Cooking outside over a fire and foil-pack dinners are winners in the not-creating-dishes department. Sometimes we even eat straight out of the pot or pan we just cooked in. It may not be super fancy, but it works! Or even meals that don’t require any dishes, i.e., our favorite meal—TACOS!

cooking in a rv

Separate portable drinking water jug 

This one may not seem like a way to conserve water from a broad outlook on water conservation, but from the aspect of having a 25-gallon freshwater tank specifically allotted for washing dishes, showering, dog-drinking water, etc. Having an easily refillable separate water jug helps us physically divvy up our water uses.

Having our separate water jug also allows us a backup water source in case we run out of water in our freshwater tank sooner than expected.

filling up water jug

Recycle gray water

If you’re unfamiliar with the term “gray water” this is just runoff water from your sink or shower or semi-used water. One of the better ways that we like to recycle our gray water is drowning out our campfires (when we are camping in areas where fires are permitted), and using gray water in our toilet bowl/black tank to help flush waste out a little better. There are tons of other creative ways to recycle gray water, and can be as simple as using a bucket or large bowl and catching the runoff water you create while waiting for your hot water to kick in for a hot shower.

campfire at sunset