• Effects of the soft measures on household and industry economies are analysed.
• A pollutant discharge calculator and the Input–Output Table analysis are applied.
• Effects of the soft measures are qualitatively and quantitatively evaluated.
• The effect on household economy is calculated as 2.5% saving of household expenditures.
• The Input–Output Table analysis is effective to evaluate economic effects of the measures.
Various ecological footprint calculators, carbon footprint calculators and water footprint calculators have been developed in recent years. The basic concepts of ecological behaviour record notebooks and of carbon dioxide emission calculators have been developed since the late 20th century. The first carbon dioxide emission calculator was developed in 1991. Likewise, water pollutant discharge calculators have been developed to estimate the effects of soft measures introduced into households to reduce pollutant discharge since 2004. The soft measures which have been developed in Japan may consist of a wider framework, household sustainable consumption, which has been developed in Europe, and can be referred to cleaner consumption. In this research, summarisation of the short history of ecological behaviour record notebooks and ecological footprint calculators in Japan since the 1980s was conducted, and the soft measures in households to reduce pollutant discharge were evaluated for their effects on ambient water quality improvement as well as household and industry economies. Effects of the soft measures on related industry economies were investigated using an Input–Output Table analysis and the effects of the imported goods were evaluated with an import effect matrix, which was developed in this research. The effects of the soft measures on household expenditures were estimated to be a decrease by 2.5% or USD 285 person−1 year−1 in 2003–2006. The results show that the soft measures positively affect the chemical fibre industry and significantly affect the detergent industry. Analysis of the import effect matrix proved that the six industries were tightly related through extensive amounts of imported goods. The soft measures in households may lead to household sustainable consumption and thus reduce disadvantageous human impacts on water environments. The effects of the measures introduced to improve the environment should be qualitatively and quantitatively evaluated to avoid redundant concerns and discord between the environment and the economy, which may be worried when the relationship is not well understood.