Growing up, lots of us were familiar with a toilet-themed rhyme: “If it’s yellow, let it mellow. If it’s brown, flush it down.”


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Not the most poetic words ever written, but they get the job done. The simple, memorable stanza helps to remind people of all ages how to save water and follow toilet etiquette.


That’s because, just like showering every single day, flushing the toilet every time you “go” is wasteful and indulgent.

Still, it’s a bad habit that a lot of us fall into, mostly because it doesn’t feel socially acceptable to skip flushing the toilet.

It’s always a good idea to flush “number 2,” but if it’s just pee? It’s about time to change our approach to flushing.

Studies call it “toilet plume,” and it’s what happens when you flush and send up a spray of yuck into the air around you.

Flushing as infrequently as possible (and keeping the lid down when you do) can seriously cut back on how many germs are floating around your bathroom.

Every time you flush the toilet, you’re using a whole heck of a lot of water to pull the waste away.

If you have a super-spiffy, efficient toilet, you’re probably only using about 1.5 gallons a flus — but older toilets use an average of 3-5 gallons of water, and in some cases may even use as much as 7 gallons.

If you flush every single time you pee (6-10 times a day), you’re wasting 9 gallons of water at best every day.

Every time you flush the toilet, you’re using a whole heck of a lot of water to pull the waste away.

It’s a common misconception that pee is sterile. Technically, that’s not the case, but it’s not too far off the mark.

Urine does contain bacteria, but it’s remarkably clean compared to, say, saliva, which is teeming with microorganisms.

So, while your pee isn’t pristine, it is plenty clean enough to leave in your toilet for a few hours.

Homeowners are well-aware that every single leaky faucet and light left on overnight is money out of their pocket.

The same is true of your toilet, which is why homeowners should consider investing in water-efficient toilets and skipping the flush when they can, which can make a big difference in your water bill.

If you rent your home, using a lot of water may impact your monthly payment, so avoid flushing and consider petitioning your landlord for a more efficient lavatory set-up.

Have you ever been in the shower when somebody flushed the toilet in a different part of the house?

It can be a real bummer — at best, you lose water pressure for a few minutes, and at worse, you get scalded with or frozen as the flow of warm water gets disrupted.

Now, not every plumbing system does this; if you’re lucky, you can run your dishwasher and shower and do a load of laundry all at the same time without a problem.

Still, if you notice your toilet affecting water pressure, it might be a good idea to save your flushes until no other appliances or water sources are running.

One of the biggest reasons that people struggle with leaving pee in the toilet is because it seems socially unacceptable.

You might be able to pull it off at home, but what about at work, or in the bathroom at a restaurant?

Well, more and more people — and businesses — are adopting environmental-savvy “let it mellow” policies, and you can be a part of the change.

In addition to implementing it at home, consider suggesting similar policies in your workplace, you’re coffee shop; your kids’ school, and so on — you just might change the world!