Well, that was a fortuitous turn of events… Saved from blogging about the history of electric showers (of which there seems a paucity of information) by this chance comment from Glamour magazine: “Save water, save the planet, pee in the shower”.

According to a poll they ran recently, almost 75 percent of women questioned have weed in the shower at some point. Gabi H20 took this advice one step further and calculated that a family of four would save over 10,000 litres of water a year if they did just that. Their figures assume one shower a day and 7.5 litres of water per WC flush. We have just completed some work for Affinity Sutton, where primary school children collect information about how their families use water. In that survey, the average number of showers a week was 3.2 so you could argue that the savings from weeing in the shower would be 5,000 litres but either way it’s a worthwhile amount of water to save.

Urine from a healthy person is generally considered to be sterile and I have weed on a cut in the past when I have been travelling because I had read somewhere this was a good thing to do if you didn’t have antiseptic. But I don’t wee in the shower and have never even thought about it. Our loo uses just 2.5 litres per flush, so my savings would not be that great (912 litres a year), but I decided to try it (for the purposes of science you understand). I wasn’t keen on (and this might be too much information) the slight smell nor the sight of yellow liquid running along the bottom of the bath.

There is a large part of me that can’t quite make the leap to suggest this is the way to go… and I am intrigued as to why that is. In contrast to the mantra of “if its yellow let it mellow” which is really bad advice in hard water areas as it leads to a build up of scale in the WC pan and increased use of chemicals in a vain attempt to get rid of the scale, weeing in the bath is unlikely to cause any damage. The urine of an average person is slightly acidic with a pH of 6 (7 is neutral), but unless the bath is very old, the trap and waste pipe will be plastic, and the bath waste either plastic or chrome plated brass. So corrosion shouldn’t be a problem. And anyway, the urine will be mixed with water from the shower. I think that is the important point. I have had the dubious honour of wandering around many a male urinal when carrying out water audits; they are not a pleasant environment. Too much stale urine; on the floor, the walls and in the trap. If you are going to wee in the shower do it while the water is running and not near the end of the shower!

March 2013 – Should I wee in the shower?