Peeing in the shower.
First of all, no, I don’t do it.
But I am a Penny Hoarder, and this recent hubbub might convince me to change my ways…
In the name of environmental conservation, IFLScience suggests we should pee in the shower. It could mean saving 579 gallons of water per person, per year.
The calculations are flying around the internet. Judging by a Buzzfeed reader survey that suggests more than 80% of people already pee in the shower, I’m guessing some folks are all too happy to share science that supports their controversial hygiene choices.
But conservation often means saving money, so I wanted to learn more.
How to Save Money by Peeing in the Shower
The logic goes: If you pee in the shower, you can avoid flushing the toilet. The water you’re already running in the shower will wash away your urine.
If you shower once per day, that’s one less flush, which saves between 1.3 and 3.5 gallons of water per person per day.
A family of four would save more than 5,000 gallons of water each year — and up to $0.42 per day or $153.30 each year.
That’s nothing to sneeze at. (We’ll have to discuss your sneezing hygiene in a later post ?.)
And you can save money on toilet paper, too. A few twists and bends of the torso, and your shower becomes a fancy DIY bidet — no assembly required.
If you’re already peeing in the shower, do these savings justify your behavior? And if you don’t, would you update your daily routine to save money on your water bill and toilet-paper costs?
Let’s address the concerns.
Is It Dirty? Sort Of
In 2014, research from the University of Chicago debunked the myth that urine is sterile.
“Urine is not sterile, even before it comes out of you and gets contaminated by your skin. Bacteria are present at low levels in the urine of healthy people, Evann Hilt of Loyola University of Chicago reported,” according to Science News.
However, the research also suggests this bacteria probably won’t make you (or your family or roommates) sick. Just don’t let it run across any wounds.
What About the Pipes?
Toilets drain “black water,” which contains waste from feces, urine, toilet paper and other things you’re allowed to flush.
Showers, bathtubs, sinks and your washing machine, on the other hand, drain “grey water,” which contains far less waste.
Can you damage your plumbing by yellowing up your shower’s grey water?
“Aside from it being not the most sanitary thing to do, [peeing in the shower] is not going to generally clog your shower drain,” said Sarah Green of Advanced Plumbing Commercial & Residential in St. Petersburg, Florida.
Green explained shower water drains down the same line as the toilet. As long as it drains properly, you shouldn’t have an issue.
But, “you don’t want that sitting in your tub,” she warns, because it could cause a stink.
As for saving money, Green says the effect would be minimal. She says those who follow the “if it’s yellow, let it mellow” rule are probably saving a lot more.
I’ll add they also don’t ever have to worry about standing in their — or anyone’s — urine.
What Else Can You Do?
If neither option floats your boat, here are more ways to save money with your toilet this year.
And here’s how you can save up to $250 a year on your water bill throughout the house.
For those 41% of you who pee in the pool, there is still no excuse for your behavior.
Your Turn: Would you pee in the shower to save money?
Dana Sitar (@danasitar) is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. She’s written for Huffington Post, Entrepreneur.com, Writer’s Digest and more, attempting humor wherever it’s allowed (and sometimes where it’s not).