People in Switzerland showering less than 25 years ago, survey finds

People in Switzerland showering less than 25 years ago, survey finds

If you are taking the packed rush hour train home from work and are wondering why the carriage is starting to smell the wrong side of funky, this could be the reason: a new survey from GFS in Zurich has revealed that people in Switzerland shower less now than they did more than two decades ago. 

People in Switzerland shower 18 percent less than in 1999

According to the survey, carried out by the polling agency on behalf of the Swiss Association for Energy-Efficient Sanitary Products (SVES), people in Switzerland wash themselves less often now than they did in 1999. Today, people across the alpine nation shower an average of 5,2 times a week, down from 6,4 times a week in 1999, a decline of 18,75 percent.

On average, people in Switzerland now spend 31 hours a year in the shower. 5,5 minutes is the average showering time, which increases to 7,6 minutes if people choose to wash their hair. Nearly 60 percent of people said they shower in body temperature water, 22 percent use hot water, while 8 percent go full Wim Hof and shower in cold water.

Older people take quicker showers, study finds

The amount of time spent showering also declines as people get older. The average showering time (with hair wash) for 18-39-year-olds was a whopping 9,6 minutes, compared to 5,7 minutes for those of pension age or older.

Men and women were found to spend roughly the same amount of time showering, except for hair-washing sessions where women take an average of two minutes longer. The study noted that men tend to shower more often and are more interested in a quick clean, while women are more likely to see a shower as part of both a cleaning and wellness routine. 

Swiss more aware of water and energy waste

So why are people in Switzerland showering less? One theory, according to SVES managing director Thomas Lang, is that people are more aware of how showering consumes both water and energy - a factor thrown into comic relief in September 2022, when then Swiss Energy Minister Simonetta Sommaruga suggested that people should shower together to help save hot water and prevent possible energy shortages.

GFS Zurich noted that in 1999, only 49 percent of those surveyed had heard of water conservation measures, today it is 85 percent. "Twenty-five years ago, the population was not yet aware that the use of hot water had a direct connection to energy consumption,” Lang noted. He went on to argue that campaigns issued by the government such as energy labels on products have made people aware of how much hot water costs both financially and environmentally.

People in Switzerland willing to cut back on showers

Today, to help in the event of a water or energy shortage, 75 percent of respondents said they would be willing to use less water while showering, 56 percent said that they would take shorter showers, 40 percent could see themselves bathing less and 30 percent said they would be willing to make their showers colder. However, only one in 10 would take the ice bath and do without hot water altogether.

Lang concluded that, seeing as though Switzerland is one of the most water-rich countries on Earth, saving water and reducing hot showers is mainly about saving energy and thus protecting the climate. “Energy accounts for 60 percent of hot water costs…it makes sense to use all resources sensibly,” he concluded.

Jan de Boer


Jan de Boer

Jan studied in York and Sheffield in the UK, obtaining a master's in broadcast journalism and a bachelor's in history. He has worked as a radio DJ, TV presenter, and...

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