Water houseplants with leftover bottled water

From the So Obvious I Can’t Believe I’m Writing This Down file:

I’m fine with tap water (especially with the help of my beloved Brita filter pitcher), but my husband is a devoted bottled water drinker. The kids, too, like bottled water as a treat, and we often have a bottle or two in the car. Problem: several day-old bottles sitting around with three inches of water left in them.

Unrelated-but-relevant problem: We have four neglected houseplants that I forget to water.

Well, this genius finally put two and two together, so now, whenever I find an old water bottle sitting around, I dump the remainder into the nearest plant and recycle the bottle. Two problems solved at once. Easy for kids to do themselves, too.


  1. STL Mom says

    I dump leftover water in the dog’s bowl. If I ever keep a houseplant alive long enough to try your suggestion, I will!
    I’ve had pretty good success getting the kids to drink tap water out of reusable water bottles with sport caps. I keep them in the fridge and the bottled water in the pantry to help make the reusables more appealing.

  2. says

    We have a condenser dryer, which means there’s no vent, the water gets put into a reservoir that has to be emptied after each dryer run. I just turn around and water the plants that are nearby with that, and sometimes walk into the dining room and do them there.

    We don’t use fabric softener (just vinegar), and use the bare minimum of laundry soap, so I think we’re good on extra stuff in the water.

  3. Betty says

    Bottled water is the greatest scam ever. Often municipal water is purer than the bottled stuff, and it’s about a thousand times cheaper. Not to mention the affront to the environment – sure, you can recycle the bottle, but it’s way better for that bottle never to have been made in the first place.

  4. says

    Asha, sometimes the tips that seem the most obvious are the best! I also have the plant/water bottle problem, but I don’t think I will much longer!

  5. says

    Betty – sometimes municipal water is better, but when you are on a well and you don’t really like the taste of the well water, bottled is the only way to go.

    We use the “leftovers” for watering plants and pets too.

  6. Robin says

    Also dump the first two times you put water in the brita after changing the filter…much better than dumping it down the drain.

  7. Deirdre says

    I’m with you Betty. I don’t understand this bottled water thing. It’s an incredible waste of resources for the bottles and the shipping, it strips communities of their own water, and I think a lot of people would be surprised if they added up how much they spent on bottled water for a year. It’s money down the drain (pun intended).

    If there are problems with one’s own water, filters or even large bottles (like the kind they have in offices that you have to struggle to fit on their stand) are better options for the environment and usually the bank account.

    We fill our own bottles with water when we want to take it on the road. Plug “Sigg” into Amazon’s search engine, and you’ll find bottles so cool any kid would prefer them to a disposable one! They’re a little pricey, but compare the cost to bottled water for a year.

  8. Sandy says

    Sometimes the municipal water is just so icky you can’t stand to drink it. We’ve finally got a new fridge with a filter for drinking water, so we’ve limited the bottles to a couple a week to grab on the run.

  9. says

    Betty, not all municipal water is made equal. Ours is purified with Chlorine and smells and tastes STRONGLY of it. The day we realized that it was what was making our cat sick we stopped drinking it ourselves.

  10. Trudy says

    We have a draught in Australia right now and ever drop counts. I find myself doing this too.

    Think about what you are putting down the drain and ask yourself if your plants could use it instead!

  11. says

    I do this too, except since we don’t use bottled water, it’s the myriad glasses of unfinished water I’m always collecting from bedsides that water our plants. In fact, I can’t even remember the last time I officially watered!

    By the time the water is dumped out of the forgotten glasses, any bleach left over from the municipal processing is evaporated!

  12. says

    We’re lucky to live in a city with good public water, so we only drink bottled water on road trips.

    Thus, my solution to the who-knows-how-old water problem: fill the washer fluid with it since so few gas stations have water hoses anymore, or use to wash hands for roadside picnics.

    and btw … if anyone knows of a filter that will take care of the rotten-egg sulphur stench of southern Louisiana water, I have a friend who would love to hear about it ….

  13. Jill says

    Here’s a hack that combines your hot water bottle post and this one–my husband loves his hot water bottle (he’s cold-blooded I think), but was always dumping the cooled-down water down the sink. Now I entreat him to water the plants with it. I have a warm husband and lovely plants!

  14. Marta says

    This hack illustrates a larger principle of parent hacking that I learned from a mom who visits the library where I work. She could never return her books on time because, as she put it, “We didn’t have a system.” Now the library books live in a basket near her front door. The books could go in a bird cage or under the bed– it doesn’t matter, as long as you have a system. Then you can build it into your daily routine and forget about it, and go have fun with the kids.

  15. says

    I do this at the office. Any time we have a meeting with leftover water, which is often, I water the office plants with it. Why put it down the sewer pipes, when the plants don’t care how long it’s been sitting out.

  16. says

    Every cat found a toy that suited their needs- big cats, little cats, playful cats, not so playful cats, young, old– you name it! The cats went crazy for them. Even the toys that I looked at and said “A cat will want to play with this??” The answer was a great big Yup!