This shower hack is so not family-friendly, and would have only saved me £1.54!

Our Money Editor is always up for trying a money-saving hack, but this is one she won't be sticking to

I love a money-saving hack and I adore how the cost of living has cultivated a real sense of community with people sharing all their tips and tricks to help people spend less. Lots of these tips are also really good for the environment and help people live more sustainable lives. Win, win, win. 

And when it comes to how to save water, or reduce your water bill, I'm in. This toilet flushing hack is brilliant and made me a lot more mindful about how use my dual flush toilet, and it's going to save me money in the long run. I also followed Martin Lewis' tip to help lower my water bill - I now have a water meter and will never look back. 

So when I saw this hack from sustainable living advocate @Hero-to-0 on TikTok, I was intrigued, and I gave it a go. (Spoiler alert: it's definitely not family friendly!)

TikTok water-saving shower hack

If you haven't seen it, this hack involves using a container to capture the cold water coming out of your showerhead while you wait for the water to warm up. This collected water can then be used for other purposes instead of going straight down the drain. 


♬ Island In The Sun - Weezer

TikToker Anna Marsiello explains that she collects the water before every shower (about four litres worth each time), and deposits it into a container with a natural filter and uses it to drink or cook with. 

She says she saves hundreds of litres of water each year this way. 

Here's what happened when I tried it

This hack sounded like it had promise, so I wanted to give it a go. But I had so many issues just trying to do it myself, that I don't think there is any way you could get your whole family on board. These were the main issues/stumbling blocks I found.

1. You need a decent sized bucket

I have a bucket, but it's relatively small (I mostly use it to store cleaning brushes). And I have a rainfall shower head with no hand-held attachment, so needed a bucket with a wider opening to catch the cold water. 

I didn't want to spend money trying a hack that was meant to save me money so I ended up using a plastic foot spa to catch the water. It wasn't the most elegant solution, but it worked. 

I filled it about half way before the water was warm enough for showering.

2. The logistics are confusing

Then came the logistics - how was I actually going to do this?

Should I be naked while collecting the water so that I could quickly remove the bucket and step in the shower as soon as the warm water starts coming through? I should be, right? Or should fill the bucket with the cold water, turn off the shower when it warmed up, take the bucket downstairs (all while fully clothed) and then come back up and jump straight in the shower with almost instant hot water?

I decided the first option was the most sensible. 

person standing in a bucket while showering with another bucket in the shower tray

Would like to confirm that this is not a picture of me, but demonstrates a little of how silly the logistics felt when I was trying this shower hack

(Image credit: Getty Images)

3. What are you meant to do with the bucket while you shower?

Then I hit another hurdle when determining what to do with the bucket. My shower is over my bath, in a not-massive bathroom, so am I meant to just quickly manoeuvre the bucket to the other end of the bath then jump in and shower? Or does the bucket need to come out and sit on the bathroom floor? And come to think of it, I'm surely meant to be turning the shower on and off while all this manoeuvring is going on, to not waste any water.

This might sound a bit dramatic, but at the end of a long day, when I just wanted to jump in the shower, it seemed like a lot of faff. And that was just to get me to do it. It's even more faff if you are trying to get your children or partner to do it too. Every. Time. They. Shower. 

4. What do you do with the water?

Then came the question of what to do with the water I collected. I'm definitely not on-board with using it to drink, even if I use a water filter. Water filter gurus Brita say: "Unless you’re in a public space and there’s a sign telling you not to do so, bathroom tap water is safe to drink as this comes from the same supply as your kitchen sink. [But] it’s usually advised to avoid drinking from the warm tap. Although not particularly harmful this water may not be as fresh as the cold tap as it could come from a water heater or storage tank." So water from a shower that is warming up, probably a no-go in terms of drinking. 

But I do have some plants in my garden, which this collected water would be perfect for. But it had rained quite heavily during the day and the plants didn't need watering again. So I was left with this open plastic foot spa of water, that I didn't want to leave lying around. What was I meant to do with it?

In the end, I left the bucket in the garden for five days and eventually used it to water my plants, but I was sorely tempted to pour it straight down the drain, which is exactly where it would have ended up almost a week before. 

Is it worth it?

Ultimately, for me, this hack isn't worth it. I collected just under 3.5L of water testing this hack out. Say I shower at home five times a week, and assume that I stay elsewhere maybe four weeks a year, that's 240 showers at home a year. If I save 3.5L of water each time I shower, I can save 840L of water a year. 

According to Southern Water, the average person uses 65 cubic meters (a cubic meter is 1,000 litres) of water per year, at a cost of around £120. That works out at about £1.84 per cubic meter. So I'm saving roughly £1.54's worth of water. (This might not be the same for everyone, as it depends how much water you save and how much you pay for it).

Obviously, if I then use this water for other purposes, it's a lot more sustainable and may mean I use less water in other ways. 

But realistically, I feel like I would be better off buying a water butt to capture rainwater and using that to water my garden, but again it's then an extra expense for something that is meant to save money.

I definitely won't be trying this hack again, but will be giving this air fryer bagel hack a whirl instead and hoping for more success!

Consumer Writer & Money Editor, GoodtoKnow

Sarah is GoodtoKnow’s Consumer Writer & Money Editor - which means she writes about everything from this year's top toys and the newest toy releases, to discounts on days out and childcare costs. Sarah is passionate about helping mums save money wherever they can - whether that's spending wisely on the right toys and kidswear or keeping on top of the latest news around child benefit, the motherhood penalty. A writer, journalist and editor with more than 15 years' experience, Sarah is all about the latest toy trends and is always on the look out for toys for her nephew or Goddaughters so that she remains one of their favourite grown ups. When not writing about money or best buys, Sarah can be found hanging out with her rockstar dog Pepsi, getting opinionated about a movie or learning British Sign Language.