Bathwater to water plants/trees

greenrr(5a S. Ontario)September 8, 2002

Is it ok to use the water from bathwater to water plants/trees? The bubble bath has no anti-bacteria stuff in it and the soap I'm not sure.



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stitches216(8/9 Hou-Galv)

Probably OK. But check out this earlier thread for more.

Here is a link that might be useful: Related thread

    Bookmark   September 8, 2002 at 9:20AM
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Yes, it's OK. The problem is figuring out how to trap the water.

It reportedly works best on heavily mulched plants.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2002 at 9:22AM
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greenrr(5a S. Ontario)

Lazygardens: What do you mean by figuring out how to trap the water? Is that from the bathtub itself or how to trap the water around the certain plants/trees?

I've read the thread on AB and greywater. When it's reported that it's illegal to dump greywater, why is that?

My main concern is if I plan to use the bathwater to water my plants/trees (no vegetable/edible plants) will my plants be ok? Like they won't suddenly up and die on me?

My two rainbarrels have run dry and NO rain in site. I'm on a well and I don't want to use up my water. I just planted 12 tree seedlings and perennials and I do want them all to survive. I've read in other threads how to be creative and use certain water for plants. For starters, the water from the dog's water dish, I'm going to put in a bucket, instead of down the drain and use that water for the plants.

If I can use the bathwater, that would maybe be enough water to water the trees with. But I just want to make sure it won't kill them.



    Bookmark   September 8, 2002 at 9:44AM
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I have never had a problem using greywater on plants or lawns. Not had to do it recently, fingers crossed. When I did use it, I mostly used it by hand on specific plants.


    Bookmark   September 8, 2002 at 12:17PM
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By "trapping" the water, I meant getting it out of the bathtub and onto the trees. You have to somehow nab the water before it goes into the sewer or septic tank.

"Sink water" can be trapped by removing the gooseneck part of the drain and placing a bucket under it. Plug the pipe that goes into the wall or it will emit smelly vapours. Empty bucket onto plants that need it.

"When it's reported that it's illegal to dump greywater, why is that?" Because under usual circumstances, the "greywater" can be a nuisance, and it can contaminate wells and provide puddles for breeding mosquitos.

I managed some rental property that was next to a home where the washing machine AND the bathroom sinks all dumped into the space between the houses. At least they did until I reported them to zoning.

" I just planted 12 tree seedlings and perennials and I do want them all to survive."
It's best to avoid planting anything during a drought because you are quite likely to lose them. However, if you divert all "sink water" onto the new plants, they might do OK. If you have a choice between saving an established tree or a bunch of noew ones ... save the big one. It's harder to replace.

Another water-saving notion for when it's REALLY short of water: dump all sink water through a filter and use it to fill the toilet tank. No sense using clean water for that purpose.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2002 at 4:27PM
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I've been using grey water from showers all summer. Here's what I've observed. The plants that I didn't use it on died. The ones I watered with grey water survived. I would not use it on any food crop, however. As far as trapping the water, I just used the plug, then into a bucket and out to the garden. Yes, it is time consuming.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2002 at 5:19PM
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greenrr(5a S. Ontario)

Thanks for all of your replies. Well I plan on just scooping up the bathwater with a bucket and carrying it out bucket by bucket.

As far as planting in drought. I planted in May and did not know we were going to be in a drought then. As such, I have not planted anything else since then.

And thanks for all of the saving water suggestions!!!


    Bookmark   September 8, 2002 at 6:22PM
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glycera(z7a VA)

I made a scoop for bailing out the tub by cutting the top off a large, square plastic bottle from laundry detergent; the square shape provides a flat bottom that helps you get almost all the water out of the tub, and a sponge can finish the job.

I have a bucket in every sink; very little water goes down the drain! We've been under mandatory water restrictions (absolutely no outside use) for almost two months now, and I've been using all my kitchen waste water (not from dishwasher though)and my shower water on the garden without any ill effects except to my aching back, from lugging buckets around! I had about 110 gal. in two rain buckets when this started, but that water is long gone. And not a drop in sight . . . .


    Bookmark   September 8, 2002 at 10:31PM
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I still dont' understand the reason why it wouldn't be safe to use bathwater. Unless you are completely unhygienic, any e.coli would disperse immediately.

E.coli is found naturally and often in soils. Even if you could control all the dogs and cats--nature is all around you.

My question is how to pump the water from a bathtub to a or in a hose to the garden. Trying to think of one of those aquarium hand pumps (looks like the side of an accordian) that gets the water flowing against gravity. Sure would hate to have to suck the bathwater into the hose to get it going.


    Bookmark   September 18, 2002 at 12:33PM
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Siphoning is quite effective if the bathwater is upstairs, or I suppose if your garden is below the level of the house. I've done it by mouth :) For a cleaner solution, try looking at brewing equipment. They have cheap simple auto-siphons.


    Bookmark   September 18, 2002 at 2:29PM
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These are good questions, and I could only siphon , not carry buckets, due to tendinitis in both elbows, so lifting and carrying anything heavy must be kept to a minimum.
Mid tn mama , I'm thinking of continuing the siphoning into something, that could be wheeled out of the house, without sloshing, and the wheeled transport not be some old dirty wagon that you wouldn't want in the house. Do you have a ranch style, or a staircase you have to deal with?

    Bookmark   September 18, 2002 at 4:34PM
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joeb1101(z7a NC-win/slm)

If you can get by a hardware store this winter, go to the kerosene heaters section and look for a siphon pump, should not be any more than $ is normally used to transfer kerosene to your portable heater....there are many types, but the cheapest might be the best.

See ya in the garden,
Joe B.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2002 at 8:40PM
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greenrr(5a S. Ontario)

Well, I had transferred the bathwater to my plants and to my relief, nothing bad seemed to happen to them. Luckily it has rained in the past week and so my 2 rain barrels are now full. In fact a storm has just passed a minute ago and so at least my 1st year plants/trees have had a nice drink. I'm thinking of using the bathwater as a backup when my rain barrels are dry.

I am still using the days end water of the dog water dishes for outside and so I'm still finding ways of being creative with water conservation.


    Bookmark   September 20, 2002 at 11:03PM
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You know that lady Rebecca on HGTV, her book talked of how her mom would save her water from cooking vegetables, after it's cooled of course (ouch), to water the plants. Has the added bonus of the vitamins. Also, save the water used to rinse fruits/vegees, rinse your hands, in the kitchen sink.

    Bookmark   September 21, 2002 at 11:20PM
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goddess2u(z10 SoCa Desert)

something that works for me in the large yard are makeshift drippers. I buy the 2 gallon plastic water jugs with the spigot on the bottom, and set them on various plants in my large yard. The plants are too far from the house to have on a drip system. This seems to work, uses only two gallons per day at a slow steady drip, which is much less than watering with a hose and somewhat easier than distance lugging of buckets. I usually put them out about every other day. But I do catch my shower water with buckets for the plants that are closer to the house. All the plants I have, once established (after the first year) should only require watering once a month...check out what grows in the emply lots in your area. Those plants likely get no attention at all, and if they live like that they will likely thrive in your yard!

    Bookmark   November 25, 2002 at 12:41AM
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Hey what about investing in an electric pump? I always save the bath water from my upstairs tub in the summer and I throw a hose up on the roof and then put a pump in the tub with a clear tube attached. The tube goes out the window and meets the garden hose. The pump I use was for emptying the water off swimming pool covers but I think you could use one that is for small decorative fountains. I watched a show about making fountains and they said you can get them at craft stores. I love pumps and pick them up wherever I find them cheap. Beats the heck out of carrying buckets.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2003 at 1:30AM
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chrmann(z7 AL)

What about using a wet/dry vac to suck the water from your tub or sink water. Then, take the vac outside to dump.

We have a grease trap out side. All of the bath room waste water and kitchen waste water goes in this trap. The water from our commodes goes into the septic tank. The water from the grease trap could be used to water plants, shrubs, trees, etc.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2007 at 2:45PM
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dixielib(z6/7 Ga)

I use alot of grey washing water, water I let run into a bucket while waiting for my shower to reach the right temp, water for rinsing fruits and veggies, etc. The trouble with grey water is that after 24 hours it becomes black water which is not safe, especially for veggies. If you go out fairly soon and water your plants, it is not a problem. I have never lost a plant using grey water and never gotten sick from a veggie watered with grey water. I don't water directly onto the veggie itself...just at the base of the plant.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2007 at 12:22AM
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Just an FYI...I live in New Mexico and gray water is legal. Whether I use bathtub water (collected in 5 gallon water containers) or use washing machine water, it dries up the leaves on my ash and mulberry trees, so I stopped...they look awful.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2007 at 1:38PM
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Use a small pump, from the hardware store for getting water out of the basement, w a hose connected to it and shoot it out the bathroom window or into a bucket. and dont use too much soap.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2011 at 9:37AM
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Papaya and Banana plants love soapy water! The nitrogen and phosphate are good for them!

    Bookmark   January 17, 2013 at 2:49PM
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I have read that the kind of laundry soap and hand soap matter....needs to be ph neutral and not have certain ingredients. For those of you using various gray water sources, what soaps have worked for you?.

Here is a link that might be useful: Greywater friendly products.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2014 at 1:15AM
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Before you buy a siphon make sure your tub is more than a couple of inches above the floor or you will be disappointed. I thought the siphon idea was excellent (I make wine and brew beer so I'm familiar with the concept) but after a couple of tries it's not really working for me. My bathtub is low to the ground and after the first bucket the level of water in the tub is too low (too close to bucket's water level) for gravity to take its course. Using a vessel to scoop water takes so long that after I'm done I need another bath! Any suggestions?

    Bookmark   September 13, 2014 at 2:10PM
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Chelsea Brody

I'am going to use a wet/dry vac that I read in above comments to get the water from the bathtub. I bought a pond pump last summer, failed! Besides the vac is on wheels.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2015 at 5:22AM
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