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Rainwater: Top 10 Uses for RV and Van-life

Updated: Aug 8, 2023

Here's a hint: There are a lot of uses that don't include drinking it. So save your drinking water and start collecting rainwater for these everyday uses.


Rainwater is exceptionally clean and a great way to keep your pets hydrated!

When RVers begin thinking about rainwater harvesting, many times they envision a complex filtration and treatment system for clean drinking water. While this is a common solution, you may want to consider the benefits of catching rainwater for other uses.

"Using rainwater to wash our pets and give them water has been a gamechanger. Thanks WildWater RV!" – Jane Williams

We sometimes hear concerns about bringing rainwater directly into an internal freshwater tank. While there are steps you can take to make sure this water is clean and safe, some RVers prefer to simply collect rainwater in external reservoirs. This is an excellent solution for folks who want to use rainwater for the following reasons:


1. Hydrating Your Four-Legged Friends

Our furry companions deserve the best, and rainwater offers an eco-friendly and budget-conscious way to keep them hydrated. With no chlorine or fluoride, rainwater is a healthier option than tap water for your pets. So collect some rainwater and use it to fill their bowls. Your pets will undoubtedly appreciate the pure refreshment.


2. Watering Plants: A Green Thumb's Dream

What could be more natural then watering your plants with rainwater (ya know they way nature intended it?). Many full-time RVers are major plant parents but even some road warriors keep plants in their mobile homes. Plants can filter your air and are a great way to decorate your living area, so keep them hydrated with rainwater.


3. Washing Dishes: Rinse Responsibly

When it comes to washing dishes in an RV, every drop counts. Rainwater can be used as a way to save a ton of your freshwater tank supply. Whether you prefer to use an outdoor camping sink or your indoor kitchen, consider using rainwater to clean your dishware.


4. Rinsing Fruits and Vegetables

Using clean rainwater to wash your fruits and vegetables might be the easiest one on this list, (especially if you have an external reservoir with a spigot). Pro-tip: use some vinegar in your water for a deeper clean that is all-natural and won't harm your produce.


5. Outdoor Shower: Embrace Eco-Luxury

Now we're getting fancy! There has been a huge amount of interest in using outdoor camping showers while traveling on the road. Some of these are RV mounted or installed on a tow vehicle while others are temporary hanging solutions used once or twice before being packed away. Whichever your style, consider using rainwater next time you use your outdoor shower.


6. Cleaning Your Pets: Fresh Baths on The Go

It's usually the sign of a great day of adventuring when your dog is dirty and needs a bath (or maybe he just rolled in the mud next to your campsite). In any case, sometimes our furry friends just need a quick bath. Using your collected rainwater to lather them up and rinse them off can be a huge water saver.


7. Cleaning Your RV or Tow Vehicle: Shine Without Waste

Also a great indicator of fun times, a dirty vehicle often means you've been having an excellent trip. Usually washing your RV means using a lot of water, however, if you know how to be efficient you can use quite a bit less. Consider using a 5-gallon bucket of rainwater with your favorite cleaning solution to scrub down your vehicle. Use untreated water to do a quick rinse and then towel dry.


8. Toilet Flushing: The Eco Way to Go

Some people use rainwater to flush toilets, reducing their reliance on their freshwater tank. It's a practical and environmentally friendly way to conserve water. For most RVers, you will have to turn off your water pump before you fill the toilet with water and flush.


9. Laundry: Get Softer Clothes while Conserving

Some of the most dedicated full-timers do laundry outside, the old fashioned way. For a fully sustainable cycle, use rainwater to clean and a clothesline to dry. Fun fact, rainwater does not have many of the hard minerals found in groundwater which can leave your clothes softer and more comfortable.


10. Emergency Water Supply

Rainwater harvesting can serve as a backup water source during emergencies or natural disasters when regular water supplies may be disrupted. It is generally advised to treat, boil, or use advanced filtration systems before drinking rainwater.


Conclusion

Embracing rainwater collection is a fantastic step towards sustainable living as well as emergency preparedness. From nurturing your plants and pets to elevating your daily chores, rainwater proves to be a versatile and valuable resource. By utilizing rainwater for various purposes, we not only contribute to water conservation efforts but also reduce our dependence on chemically treated water and its associated energy costs.

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