How to Save Water in the Kitchen (2024 Guide)

Water seems like an inexhaustible resource, but in reality, that isn’t the case. Potable water, that is to say, water that is safe to drink and bathe with, is rarely a naturally occurring phenomenon. Water is the universal solvent, which means that it dissolves just about everything that it comes into contact with, including human and animal waste, hazardous chemicals, heavy metals, and nearly anything else under the sun. With a growing global population, and more unexpected threats to the natural world facing us every day, we could all benefit from being more water-wise. Here are a few quick tips for making the most out of the water in your kitchen, each and every day.

Fix leaking faucets

Little drips here and there are a nuisance, so we often leave them unattended, or apply a partial fix that degrades over time. Leaking water is more than just wasteful, however: it is also damaging to your property, and over time could devalue your home. If your pipes are old, then chances are they have a variety of problems, from small leaks, to leaching bits of surface metal off into the water, to being half-full of calcium deposits.

Leaking faucets may or may not be caused or affected by contamination in your water, but either way, they aren’t good for your home, and a leaking pipe also means that contamination can enter into the pipe from the outside. Nearly any possible contaminant on the planet can be found in water, according to All Filters, due to water’s unique properties as a solvent, thus any number of possible pollutants could be in your pipes, compromising your health and safety. Keep your plumbing fresh and up to code to minimize headaches down the road.

Use a dishwasher

It often feels good to wash dishes by hand, putting us in more immediate connection with our chores, and inviting a sense of accomplishment. While handwashing may be cathartic, however, it is also a big water waste. Washing dishes by hand can use up to 10 times more water than a modern dishwasher, which can often get away with using only three gallons of water to clean an entire cabinet full of dirty dishes. Sometimes using the easy option might also be the best way, all things considered.

Fill the sink for washing dishes

It’s all well and good to tell people to use a dishwasher, but many people don’t have them, or can’t afford them. You can still be water-conscious, by stoppering your sink, and filling it up with soapy water for washing dishes. Rather than letting the faucet run continuously, wasting gallons and gallons of the precious resource–which is filtered and made safe to drink at taxpayer expense–just make a nice warm bathtub for your plates and bowls, and wash everything in the same water, avoiding the waste. A quick rinse afterward in running water should be enough to get off the suds.

Collect excess water

Some parts of the US routinely face drought conditions, most notably in the western states. If your municipality is pressed for water, consider finding extra uses for the water you are currently using. Rather than just running the kids’ bathwater down the drain, collect it in vessels, and use if for the carwash. Save water used for rinsing vegetables to use on garden plants, and so on. Clean and safe water is more precious than it seems, so especially if you are in a situation where water is scarce, forcing it into multi-purpose use is a great way to stay ahead.

Use a bowl for washing produce

Just like with dishes, you can save the water you would be wasting washing produce by having the tap running, simply by collecting water in a bowl, and using that to wash off your fruits and veggies. After they all look nice, and are clean, you can reuse that water for houseplants or gardening. These tips can all work together, and function best when used synthetically and symbiotically like this.

Use a steamer for cooking

Steaming vegetables is a great way to cook them without having to use as much water as is required for boiling. Many people enjoy the taste of steamed vegetable better than boiling as well, as it typically leaches less flavor and nutrients out of the vegetables than the boiling process. If you are watching your waistline, this is a great tip, too, as steaming vegetables doesn’t add any calories like frying, or cooking in any sort of oil would.

Install a low-flow faucet

If your utilities bill is higher than you’d like, or you just want to watch your water usage, consider installing a low-flow faucet. These can be irksome if you are trying to do serious washing, as water pressure is helpful in getting off caked-on grime, but if you are simply using a given faucet as a drinking station, then there is no need to have a high-flow faucet. A lot of the water that comes out of any given faucet ends up going straight down the drain, which is what we want to minimize. Use only what you need, and keep an eye on your water usage with a smaller faucet, delivering a restricted flow.

Thaw food in the fridge

Using good general hygiene in the kitchen is another way to cut down on unnecessary water usage. If you are thawing out a roast for dinner, don’t simply set it on the countertop–uneven thawing times can lead to unsafe meat, with bacterial growth occurring. Thawing frozen food in the refrigerator helps it to keep an even temperature throughout the thawing process, leading to a safer experience for you and your family. It also means less clean-up time than would be involved in a countertop thaw, where juices from thawing meat can drain onto countertops, spreading bacterial infection, and demanding more cleanup.

Use a single glass for drinking

A glass doesn’t get dirty after a single use session. Rather than banishing your drinking vessel directly to the dishwasher after quenching your thirst, give it a quick rinse and set it to dry, then use it again throughout the day. Reusing a single glass for the entire day (or, with some minor rinsing, throughout the week) is a great small-scale way to reduce our reliance on water consumption.

Reuse cooking water

If you are boiling any root vegetables such as potatoes, yams, carrots, or any other starchy things like that, you can use the water to make various doughs, or you can use stock for a base for vegetable broth, soup, or in a compost pile, or for a warm treat for a cat or dog. Try to find ways to reuse water after cooking with it. Oftentimes, it is packed with flavor and nutrients, and can be healthful just to drink, especially if you were boiling green vegetables.


We may never realize just how much we rely on water unless and until we find ourselves lacking access to it. It’s one of the basic things in life that many of simply take for granted. Many in the world, and nearly everyone in the past, do not, or did not, have that luxury, however, and it will serve us all to learn how to better apportion our water usage, to ensure there is enough to go around.


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