Using water from a washer

mogardener(z5MO)August 19, 2002

I tried using the gray water from my washer a number of years ago and I wasn't particularly happy with the result. I called the manufacturer of the detergent I used at the time to ask about using water containing their product, even the rinse water. I was told not to use it, even on ornamentals. No explanation was given, only the admonition not to use it.

It would be better to call about the products you use than lose an expensive plant or contaminate your soil. I should have asked for a complete ingredient list to see what might be the problem but I didn't. I use a different product now but can't easily set up my washer to utilize the gray water anyway.

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I use water from the washing machine on the grass here in australia.
As long as you change the area where you put it from time to time and use a quality detergent and not too much it is fine

    Bookmark   August 19, 2002 at 5:40PM
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I use wash water on my hydrangea with no problem

    Bookmark   August 23, 2002 at 11:13AM
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I've been using my washer water for 22 years, the washer was like that when I bought the house (hose out the window). I now have the hugest volunteer Siberian elm in my yard right by the window, shading the south side of my desert residence. There's grass underneath too, not planted by me. It's been the best "free" gardening boon I have. I never water there, it's just the washwater.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2002 at 12:27PM
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I'm just glad my hydrangea is right outside the basement door! It's a bear hauling 5 gallon buckets of water up the steps! Worth it though!

    Bookmark   August 27, 2002 at 1:35PM
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mdryja(z7b WA)

When I was growing up in Michigan, my parents' house was on a septic tank, so we hooked up a garden hose to the outlet of the washer, and just watered the grass, except when my mom was bleaching clothes . . .

If your current detergent is giving problems to your plants, look at an all natural one, like those available from Seventh Generation.

Here is a link that might be useful: Seventh Generation

    Bookmark   September 9, 2002 at 12:08AM
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Using washing water is quite common here especially in the last few years. I just put the drain hose from the washer into another longer flexible hose and let it pump out as normal. Except very hot water of course. I just shift the hose around to a different spot each wash.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2002 at 8:05AM
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Another bio soap product you might find across the country in a supermarket is called, "Sun and Earth". They make a bio laundry detergent, window/counter cleaner, and dish washing soap. I've used all 3 and have been siphoning greywater from the sink for months through our drought alerts here in SE Massachusetts with no probs to any plant material. As a matter of fact, not many unwanted bugs either. Bugs don't like soap!

    Bookmark   September 10, 2002 at 5:21AM
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I'm sorry to come in on this very late! I hope no one minds. My question is, what happens to plants if the wash water is hot? And, since I am in a wintery area, do you still shunt it off into the garden during the winter?

    Bookmark   December 17, 2002 at 10:25PM
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Hi Elanor,

I just came upon your post and thought I'd give you my two cents worth.

I'm guessing the hot water would shock and kill your grass or plants (plants are like us...don't like scalding water on our skins either).

Whether you shut it off in the winter probably depends upon how cold it is where you are. I live in Colorado and winter water our trees & shrubs at least every four weeks if the temp gets above 50 or so.

We're asked not to water our grass though.

Hope this helps!


    Bookmark   January 9, 2003 at 11:19AM
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Thanks- we do have freezing conditions, and our water is softened, so I guess we're outta luck doing this.

    Bookmark   January 10, 2003 at 7:34PM
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