How to Use Less Water When Brushing Your Teeth

How to Use Less Water When Brushing Your Teeth

Brushing my teeth is a daily routine that I want to make more eco-friendly. I was shocked to learn that letting the water run while brushing can waste up to 4 gallons per minute. With some simple changes, I can drastically reduce my water usage while keeping my teeth clean and healthy.

Stop Letting the Tap Run

The most impactful way I can reduce water waste is to stop letting the tap run while I brush. It’s easy to turn on the faucet out of habit and zone out. But it only takes a splash to wet my toothbrush initially. I can lather it up with toothpaste and turn off the water while I brush. When I need to rinse my mouth, I just turn it back on briefly.

This alone can save up to 4 gallons of water per brushing session. It also saves on my water bill over time. I put a sticky note on my bathroom mirror as a visual reminder to turn off the tap. It’s amazing how a small change adds up over the hundreds of times I’ll brush my teeth this year.

Use a Cup for Rinsing

Rather than rinsing my brush under running water, I fill up a cup to swish and rinse when needed. I keep a plastic cup next to my toothbrush specifically for this purpose.

A few quick rinses from the cup use only an ounce or two of water versus gallons from the still-running tap. It meets my rinsing needs without being wasteful. I empty and refill the cup before each brushing session.

Choose an Efficient Toothbrush

I switched from a fuller-sized toothbrush to a compact toothbrush with a smaller head and thinner handle. These use less water by design. The bristles are packed more densely so it can clean my teeth efficiently using less water overall.

Compact toothbrushes also require less packaging. Many brands have handles made from recycled materials too. So in addition to water savings, it reduces my plastic waste. I make sure to replace it about every 3 months when the bristles start to fray.

Adjust the Water Flow

Most modern faucets have aerators that mix air into the flowing water. This allows strong cleaning power while limiting the volume of water used.

I can turn down my tap’s flow to the lowest setting that still rinses effectively. Simple adjustments inside the aerator can reduce water usage without compromising performance. I consult my faucet manual or watch online tutorials to customize my water flow.

Brush With a Partner

When I’m getting ready for bed at the same time as my partner, we will often share the sink while brushing our teeth. Rather than two faucets running, we take turns rinsing as needed.

Brushing side-by-side makes it fun while also cutting water usage in half. We chat and keep each other motivated with our oral hygiene. Any couples or roommates can implement this to conserve water together.

Scrape Off Toothpaste Remnants

After spitting while brushing, I use my tongue to lick excess toothpaste from my lips and mouth area before rinsing. This ensures I swallow most of the fluoride rather than washing it down the drain.

Any remaining toothpaste bits, I wipe off with a small towel or facial tissue. This removes leftover residue without needing extra rinse water. Collectively these habits prevent waste and maximize the toothpaste’s oral health benefits.


With a few simple techniques, I greatly reduced the amount of water needed for daily brushing. This saves many gallons over time, reduces my environmental footprint, and saves money on my utilities. The new habits only took a few days to become routine. My teeth get just as clean while conserving water for other vital uses. Small changes can make a meaningful difference. What steps will you take to brush smarter?