Can bath water or water from a washing machine be used to water the lawn?

Bath asks:

My daughter asked me why we waste our bath water and the water that is flushed down the drain from our washing machine? She wanted to know if there was a way we could recycle the water and use it to water our lawn or garden? She is learning about going green. Could this water be recycled and used again??
where can i find info about this???
wi ll the “gray water” hurt the lawn or garden if it has laubdry soap or bleach in it?

Best answer:

Answer by Emma Bellar
only if you use biodegradable soap. other soaps can harm the soil.

5 thoughts on “Can bath water or water from a washing machine be used to water the lawn?

  1. In other countries, it is normal to use grey water for washing clothes or to use the water to flush the toilet. You have a smart daughter on your hands.

  2. some areas do not permit the use of gray water, due to the possiblity of bacterial contamination…. I had a system rigged up to save my washer’s wash and rinse water to save my garden during a recent drought and later learned that it is illegal in my area….. *(I think they’re knuts!!)

    gray water cannot be stored… if used at all, it must be transferred to the ground right from the washer or tub….. reason being the bacteria growth….

    one would not use the bleach water….. and hot water washes need a way to cool first….

    I had my washer’s drain hose attached to a long plastic tubing hose that went out the kitchen window and into a child’s plastic wading pool…. from there, a heavy duty pond pump moved water out of the pool to sections of the garden that needed it….or the whole family did a bucket brigade kind of thing to empty the pool before the rinse cycle kicked in…..

    we watered at the ground level to avoid soap on the plants…. even tho it would help with bugs, if you cannot RINSE it off the plants, there’s a chance of it hurting more than helping…..

    in the bath, you could save the water that runs while it’s getting hot, in a bucket, as long as you can get it out of there without dripping thru the house…. and that dripping is the problem with using the bath water…. moms get kinda cranky about water trails thru her kitchen…..

    tell your daughter thank you for being smart and concerned!….but check to make sure it’s okay to use gray water in your area before you do…. I’d hate for someone to get in trouble for the use… seems to me to be a dumb law when there’s a real need and folks are willing…..

  3. First you would have to re plumb the house to collect the gray water and would need a gray water storage tank. And considering how much water we use in bathing, laundry and in our sinks each day, it would need to be a large one. Right now everything goes into a central drain line; you would need separate drain lines for the tubs, washing machine, sinks from the actualy sewage in the toilets.

    And you will have to use all biodegradable products including bath soap, shampoo, conditioners, laundry products. There are chemicals in the standard, off the shelf products that need proper processing in a treatment plant to render them safe. Bleach isn’t a huge problem because it breaks down rather quickly and would help keep bacteria under control in the gray water tank. Bleach breaks down usually withing 10-15 minutes of air exposure.

    If you’re up for the expenses of setting up a gray water system, then go for it. If I were to build a new home, it would have one but the cost to retrofit an older home is usually pretty steep.

  4. your daughter has asked a very good question,Yes you can use bath water and washing machine water. The correct term is “grey water “

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