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How do you take bath? [Nov. 1st, 2006|05:16 pm]
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For quite sometime I have been interested in how much water I consume for my bath. Though I would have loved to substantiate my observations regarding this with some precise volume measurements, all that I have now are some crude time-volume estimates.

Listing the most common ways of taking bath:

  1. Fill water in a bucket and use a mug to pour water over the body
  2. Use an overhead shower
  3. Use a hand shower
  4. Fill water in a bath tub and jump into it
  5. Simple, use a deodarant/perfume

In India, the fourth method is not all that common. The fifth one might be, but that does not involve water economics. Out of the first three methods, it takes no rocket science to determine that the third one consumes the least amount of water for maximum body coverage i.e. the most bang for the buck in monetary terms. Unfortunately, the hand shower is not a standard fitting in most of the Indian homes (how the hell can I expect it in Madras, where people have a water room, to accomodate buckets holding reserves of metro-water). Even the hyped up ultra modern apartments mushrooming all over Bengaluru and other cities are no exception.

The economy of water usage using the above listed methods depends on two factors,

  1. The ability to control the amount of water that is dispensed
  2. The ability to direct water at the right places

Using the mug one can direct water where-ever needed, but you do not have a lot of control over the amount of water that is dispensed. With the over-head shower, the amount of water that comes out can be controlled with the tap knob. But one would have to move oneself around to get the direction right. The hand shower gets both the factors right. You can control the amount of water that comes out and can direct water at any part of the body without the user having to move around.

Though I do not have precise numbers/experiments to show that the third method consumes the least volume of water, crude estimates do indicate benefits of using a hand shower. With my hand shower it takes about 10 seconds to fill a mug of water. It takes about 20 seconds to get my body wet before applying soap. That is about 2 mugs of water. If I had used the bucket-mug combo, I would have needed atleast 4 mugs of water to get myself wet. To wash off all the soap thoroughly, I would need about 30 - 40 seconds of hand showering. That is about 4 mugs of water as against a minimum of 5-6 mugs of water of the bucket-mug combo method. We almost have savings of about 50% with the hand shower over the bucket-mug combo. Not bad at all. The hand shower has an added advantage during a cold water bath. With the bucket-mug combo, one would need some extra mugs of water to get adjusted to the water temperature. So folks get yourself a hand shower and save some serious water.

Unfortunately, this is the most un-sexy bathing post that one can hope to see.

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Comments:
[User Picture]From: rfc9000
2006-11-01 04:18 pm (UTC)

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Nice analysis..
How about bathing together with your girl(/boy)friend to save water? That is almost 100% savings with pleasure as an added bonanza :)
[User Picture]From: knutties
2006-11-02 12:01 am (UTC)

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100% savings! How, can you explain in detail ?:P Re-use the water that flows off their body?
[User Picture]From: deponti
2006-11-02 01:40 pm (UTC)

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No, probably rfc feels that two bodies are being washed for the price (and water-volume) of one!

Also hopefully they will be too busy to have a bath, 200% water saving in that case...;-)

Yours may be the most un-romantic bath post but not the most funny bath post!
[User Picture]From: knutties
2006-11-02 04:02 pm (UTC)

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I know I am un-romantic and that I have a bad sense of humour :( You did not have to re-inforce that :)
[User Picture]From: deponti
2006-11-02 04:32 pm (UTC)

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er..*I* wanted the humour prize saar! Don't send me on a guilt trip (btw... a "gult" trip is a journey to Andhra Pradesh)

"I know I am un-romantic and that I have a bad sense of humour :( You did not have to re-inforce that :)"

You write things like this and I will take a printout and come and present these sentences to you at your wedding reception!
From: retarc
2006-11-02 06:02 pm (UTC)

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The amount of water spent is a linear function of time spent in the bath room. While total pleasure is a monotonically increasing, normally randomized function of time spent, time spent is in turn increases uniformly randomly with pleasure experienced. This set of equations with the goal to minimize the water spent has no solution in the domain of real numbers.

However, in the domain of complex numbers, this is easily solvable as presented in "Random, Perfect, Scalable Configurations for Linear time modalities" by Paul Erdos and Thaddeus Westerson at WMSCI 1945. A solution by Aryabhata also existed but only for complex numbers with an integral imaginary part.

The moot point about these approaches is, you would have to spend an imaginary amount of water to take bath, which is what people in Madras already do.
[User Picture]From: deponti
2006-11-02 11:57 pm (UTC)

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Ah, after all those awful quadratic equation,here's a totally applicable acquatic equation! Are you sure the Random etc etc thing was not by Bill Watterson?

Thanks..still laughing!
From: retarc
2006-11-03 03:43 pm (UTC)

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While I agree that Bill Watterson is capable of such a paper, he was not born in 1945.
[User Picture]From: knutties
2006-11-04 04:32 am (UTC)

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Fabulous math. ROTFL, especially the imaginary amount of water phrase :)
From: (Anonymous)
2006-11-02 06:11 am (UTC)

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Good obeservation..though in the indian context, method 1 sounds like the best option..since most of the people still dont have showers of any kind..but those can install one should go for hand-shower..it will save a great deal..and its kinda cool too ;)

~Sandeep
http://sandeepshelke.blogspot.com/
[User Picture]From: knutties
2006-11-02 07:47 am (UTC)

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In many places in India, where water is stored in containers and used, the first method is the only option. Yeah, the hand shower is cool and sexy :)
[User Picture]From: deponti
2006-11-02 01:43 pm (UTC)

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I must say that KM stops the overhead shower also when he soaps etc. That results in good savings also. We have, alas, no independent water-meters in our apartments though...and the 6 people who live in the smaller flat next to us pay less (maintenance charges are paid by sq.footage of the flat, not no. of residents) than the 2 of us for water...and we have 2 flats, so we wind up paying a lot more. But we are happy that we are consciously saving water.
[User Picture]From: knutties
2006-11-02 04:04 pm (UTC)

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I too stop the over head shower when I soap. I cannot imagine people lathering themselves with the shower on. The soap has to stay on the body for sometime for a feel good bath.
[User Picture]From: deponti
2006-11-02 10:40 am (UTC)

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this is amazing, this morning while bathing I was musing on which way would be most economical of water and I see this post now!

I disagree with you though. I think the bucket and mugis the most economical. The hand shower often runs far, far longer than necessary. With a b-and-m, you know exactly how much water you have (I always use three fourths of my bucket...a throwback to very hard times in Chennai, which I will never get out of my system.)Another point is that the temperature of the bucket of water is constant unlike the hand-shower which can scald you sometimes, and freeze you at others when someone opens the hot water tap at the washbasin (experience talking!) And of course, you agree that water is not "on tap" in many places!

OK, I am still going to post about this!! But I am so tickled that we should be thinking about bath, buckets and beyond on the same day!
[User Picture]From: knutties
2006-11-02 12:47 pm (UTC)

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Hand shower does not have to run longer than necessary if you make a conscious effort like you do with three fourths of a bucket. The hand shower need not run at full throttle, the tap can be open just enough to wet and wash away soap. I want to do a post on efficient hand shower design too.

I open the hand-shower into a bucket till I feel it is the right temperature and then re-use the bucket water later :)
[User Picture]From: deponti
2006-11-02 01:32 pm (UTC)

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No...I kept putting the hand shower in the bucket when I was not using it, not wanting to change the temp settings or stop it (here we have to adjust two separate hot and cold levers)...and I found that in the interim time (soaping etc) I had already collected more water in the bucket than I use for my bucket bath. So, for me...bucket bath!
[User Picture]From: knutties
2006-11-02 04:00 pm (UTC)

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I agree there quite some in-efficiency involved in switching off the hand shower. We need a control right at the holding place of the hand shower to be able to control the flow of water as we hold it.
From: (Anonymous)
2006-11-09 09:57 pm (UTC)

Reduce the water temp

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Try turning the thermostat on your water heater to the lowest setting and you should be able to take a hot-only shower. That way you can turn the hand shower on and off at the knob. YMMV
[User Picture]From: deponti
2006-11-02 01:44 pm (UTC)

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I am THOROUGHLY enjoying this thread Knutties. Wastage of water is a subject VERY close to my heart. Thanks for the post. I don't know why I never posted about it.
[User Picture]From: knutties
2006-11-02 04:06 pm (UTC)

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You were the life of the thread. And waiting for the thani post on thanni :)
[User Picture]From: deponti
2006-11-02 04:28 pm (UTC)

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thanee thaNNi post paNNIyaacchu swaami...ennoda LJ pOyi pArunga!
From: (Anonymous)
2006-11-02 01:51 pm (UTC)

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Very interesting read :-) Also interesting to know, how much thought is spent on water saving modes ! Publish it on paper for a larger audience so that people in water scarce areas can use your ideas .. And yes, for me bucket n mug definitely happens to be 'the best way'. I agree with deponti's point of view when it comes to actual use of hand shower :-)

-Swati
[User Picture]From: knutties
2006-11-02 04:09 pm (UTC)

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Thanks for stopping by Swati. Bucket-mug is the all season bathing method :)
[User Picture]From: anitab
2006-11-03 02:55 am (UTC)

wow!

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amazingly well researched bathing post i must say! never thought so much about the topic till i read it here. but i must say that i will definitely have a hand shower fitted in my house (when i have one) if it really saves water :)
[User Picture]From: knutties
2006-11-04 04:27 am (UTC)

Re: wow!

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if it really saves water


Yeah, I should do a formal experiment and publish verifiable results to prove this.
[User Picture]From: sajith
2006-11-03 06:01 am (UTC)

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Imagine the number of cars washed everyday. That is a really huge amount of water. Can you think of a better alternative?
[User Picture]From: knutties
2006-11-04 04:30 am (UTC)

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Hmmm, yeah that involves a lot of wastage. I don't think I have a practical alternative for that. Maybe, better public transport that makes having/using a car redundant.

The fact of saving water while bathing does seem trivial, but it is something that everyone can do.
[User Picture]From: sajith
2006-11-04 08:35 am (UTC)

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True, it is not trivial. But it is a guilt trip I do not want to take. ;-)
[User Picture]From: mkprabhu
2006-11-05 06:23 pm (UTC)

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that was really enlighting!! keep it up :)
[User Picture]From: bhuvanbk
2006-11-06 02:29 pm (UTC)

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hahaha, good one!
Till i read this post, i was in an opinion that you had a job. But now i realize the truth :)
[User Picture]From: knutties
2006-11-07 02:35 am (UTC)

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in fact I was without a job a few days back :)
From: (Anonymous)
2006-11-22 12:24 am (UTC)

and it shows dosen't it?

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good going nat, u are putting your web marker to good use these days. :)

abhay
From: mohansundaram
2007-01-01 09:59 am (UTC)

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Should also examine posture while bathing. Does sitting posture require lesser water? I think it does with the hand shower for certain -:)

Mohan
[User Picture]From: knutties
2007-01-01 10:09 am (UTC)

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Thats a valid point :) Posture actually determines the effectiveness of the water flow.
From: (Anonymous)
2011-02-02 05:29 pm (UTC)

bath with 3 mugs water

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I do not know about hand-shower but it is possible to regulate the amount of water one pours over the body using a mug also(just requires a little practise). I have been regularly taking bath with 2-3 mugs of water for last 2 months using a mug. But it takes time~15-20 minutes. I guess hand-shower should bring down both time and amount of water used,probably to around 2 mugs of water. That is probably the lower limit i feel.