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How to Take a Navy Shower to Save Water and Time

Updated on March 19, 2013

How To Preserve Water

If you want to save water, learn how to take a navy shower and you'll be saving a great deal of water each month. The classic navy shower actually is rooted in the practice by sailors to take very quick showers to conserve water. Because these ships are at sea, there is only a limited supply of fresh water available for use, and drinking water is the most important use for fresh water at sea.

When sailors are out to sea for an extended stay but still need to get clean, a navy shower will do the job while using only minimal amount of water.

Sailors conserve fresh water, and a navy shower is a great way to do it.
Sailors conserve fresh water, and a navy shower is a great way to do it. | Source

How to Take a Navy Shower

A Navy shower consists of three parts, and the first and last parts go rather quickly since this is where the water usage is taking place.

First comes a quick rinse under the shower to get all areas of the body wet, as well as hair. The point is to get wet as quickly as possible and then to end this phase, turning the water off.

Next, while the water is safely turned off and not being wasted, soap and shampoo is used to get clean. Since the water is not on, this step can take longer, but in military tradition it will last only a minute or so.

Finally, water is turned back on for a rinse that only lasts as long as necessary to get rid of the soap. This is normally accomplished in about a minute.

All in all, the three-step navy shower can be completed in as little as two minutes.

Get hair and body wet
30 seconds
Use soap and shampoo
1 minute
Rinse until clean
<1 minute

Easy Shower Timer

How long should a Navy shower be? About one song. Since a typical song is 2-3 minutes long, use music as your guide and get done by the time the music stops.

Water Savings

How much water can be saved with this simple technique? Plenty!

A typical shower head uses 5 or more gallons of water per minute, while low flow shower heads are typically set to use 2.5 gallons per minute - a benchmark that is very common today.

This means that a 10 minute shower would use 25-50 gallons of water each day. With a navy shower, water may run as little as one minute, using 2.5-5 gallons of water each day. This is a substantial way to save water at home, just as it is on a ship.

In fact, even if a full 2 minutes of running water is used, the savings over a 10 minute shower is easily 20-40 gallons per day. In other words, you and your entire family could drink enough water to remain healthy and still have gallons left over each day with this one simple change.

Water Saver Shower Head

It has become popular lately to see low flow shower heads installed in order to save water. While some people cringe at the thought of anything short of a powerful stream of water for their morning shower ritual, low flow showers really can help.

A rate of 2.5 gallons of water per minute is a typical range for shower heads sold today, but truly low flow versions can beat this output by 50% or more. It is not hard to find shower heads that will put out 1.5 gallons per minute or less.

An even better option for the navy shower is a shower head with an on/off switch included. Some shower heads have a simple lever to flip to stop the water flow, while others stop when the entire head is rotated. This has advantages over turning the water off at the source.

When you can stop the flow at the shower head, the temperature that you had set remains intact. This means that, once you turn the water back on to rinse, there is no need to jump out of the way to avoid a freezing stream of water, nor will you have to worry about getting scalded.

The good news is that nearly every shower head sold above the most basic models have this on/off feature, so nearly all with make the navy shower a piece of cake.

This switch will turn the water off, but a switch on the shower head will save more energy.
This switch will turn the water off, but a switch on the shower head will save more energy. | Source

Navy Shower Energy Savings

It's clear that a shower that only uses 5-10 gallons is a major water conservation tool that can be used to save money at home. In fact, water prices keep going up in municipalities around the country as the population grows and new lines are needed.

One thing that should also be considered, however, is the cost of heating water. There are several reasons to use heated water at home, but a nice, long shower is one of the most wasteful. Hot water heaters are not the most efficient appliances ever made, and anything that causes them to run less will save you money.

With an ultra-quick shower, your hot water heater may only need to turn on for a brief moment to restore the heated water in the tank. Compared to the several minutes that could be required to heat 50 new gallons of water in the tank, there will eventually be a noticeable difference in your gas or electric bill.

Water Saving Shower Tips

Here are some things to consider when using this method to save water and energy. These will make it much easier to stick to the rules, get moving, and get out of the shower in the required time frame.

  • Get wet fast and let gravity work
  • Get a shower head that you can easily turn on and off
  • Consider a low flow shower head to save even more water
  • Use soap and shampoo that cleans well but rinses quickly
  • Use your favorite music as a timer

For some extra motivation, try this. Grab your last 3 monthly electric or gas bills and your last quarterly water bill and record water and energy usage. Then, commit to taking a navy shower for 3 months. After that period of time, compare your usage statistics and see the difference. You may just be amazed at how much energy and water were going down the drain.

Lean how to take a navy shower and try it out. You will save both time and money.


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    • Cathi Sutton profile image

      Cathi Sutton 

      4 years ago

      In the area I live in, the car washes all have filtering systems that allow the water to be used and reused over and over again. Wouldn't it be great if someone came up with a similar system for our shower and bathwater?

      Great Hub!

      In summer months, I pipe my washing machine water via gravity flow out to the back yard tress. At least they get a drink, and the water is used twice.

      P.S. I am a big fan of composting toilets too.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Excellent tip! I am one to take extremely long showers. Will have to form a better habit.

    • bydojo profile image

      Ramona Jar 

      5 years ago from Romania

      Excellent ideas. We're not too much into saving water (the bills are pretty cheap here), but I do tend to take short showers even if I am a woman. I do sometimes stay longer (under hot water, when I am a little cold), but otherwise I'm in and out pretty fast.

      Could try time myself, who knows, I might have taken Navy showers and not know about it ;)

    • Dreamhowl profile image

      Jessica Marello 

      5 years ago from United States

      This makes a lot of sense! My brother is in the Navy, so I assume this is a habit he has picked up. This will be interesting to try. Voted up!


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