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There's an important reason to check the tags on clothing. And it's not to get the size.

Every last drop of water really does matter. It's not like it grows on trees.

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TOMS

First, check the tags on clothing before you shop.

In a standard manufacturing process, it can take 700 gallons of water to make a single T-shirt. Seriously. Before you even go shopping, you can do some quick research on brands that keep water use to a minimum during manufacturing. That way, when you're at the store, you can check the labels for eco-friendly brands before you buy.


Also, more is less when it comes to filling up your washing machine with clothing. Don't run tiny loads. And it's worth checking labels before you buy to ensure your clothes don't need to be washed separately on the delicate cycle.

But that's not all you can do.

There are simple ways you can personally cut down on your water consumption each day:

  • Take a shower instead of a bath, and keep it to 5 minutes max.
  • Turn off the faucet when you're brushing your teeth.
  • Put a "hippo" in the toilet tank. (I had to Google it. That's U.K. language for a unit that reduces the amount of water that's used each time you flush. You can also fill up a water bottle, cap it, and drop it in the tank for the same result.)
  • If you have a dishwasher, use it! Not only is it easier, it's better. Modern dishwashers use less water than old-school hand washing does. If you don't have one, fill up a tub versus washing your dishes under running water.

'Cause here's the thing: We use a whole lotta water.

Each of us personally uses between 80 and 100 gallons of water a day. That's not counting what we indirectly consume because of the food we eat and clothing we buy.

For some perspective, it takes about a gallon just to wash our hands. Filling up a bathtub sends 36 gallons of H2O right down the drain — literally. Newer showerheads cover us with 2 to 2.5 gallons per minute, which is far better than older ones that blow through 4 gallons every 60 seconds. (Our water fact droplets come from the U.S. Geological Survey.)

Water is essential. And let's be honest, we like it.

We can't live without it, and we don't want to live without it. (How many of us need a morning shower just to wake up? And pool time in the summer? Heck yeah.)

So let's conserve where we can!

    A quick refresher:

    This video is just 1 minute and 30 seconds, and it might give you a few new ideas (or serve as a good refresher) on how to save water. And you can always make a donation to an organization that helps provide clean water to those who need it.

    Photo: Jason DeCrow for United Nations Foundation

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