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Posted: 6/7/2009 5:51:18 PM EST
I been kickin' around the idea of routing the waste water from my washin' machine to the garden, but am woried about what the soap and such will do.

Have any of you guys done this and do you use any special soap or take any pecautions, or is it just pump and dump into the garden here we go?

What do you men think?
Link Posted: 6/7/2009 5:57:06 PM EST
Al Gore will be proud of you......
Link Posted: 6/7/2009 5:59:29 PM EST


I'm just guessing here,

but wouldn't the soap and whatever chemicals are washed contaminate the soil in your garden?

I would guess that too much soap is not healthy for plants.


Link Posted: 6/7/2009 6:12:59 PM EST
this is called gray water recycling...start googling to ensure you do it right, both in terms of not killing the garden, and running afoul of local ordinances...
Link Posted: 6/7/2009 6:50:57 PM EST
I didn't vote but my grandparents did it for YEARS. He died of cancer from smoking and she died of old age and diabetes. All 13 grandkids grew up on it and not a healthier bunch of people have I ever seen. SS
Link Posted: 6/8/2009 4:18:57 AM EST
I thought about doing this with the condensate from my air conditioner.
Link Posted: 6/8/2009 1:37:36 PM EST
do it but dont get caught
Link Posted: 6/8/2009 2:09:45 PM EST
When you add soap to water for irrigation it breaks the surface tension in water so that it is more easily absorbed and retained by the plant. The rinse cycle should be fine. The wash cycle I wouldn't use in some cases. Don't use wash cycle with too much chlorine.
Link Posted: 6/8/2009 2:28:00 PM EST
Didn't vote, but...

My parents have shunted washing-machine water off to trees / lawn instead of dumping it into the septic system for years.

The trees / lawn don't seem any worse for wear.
Link Posted: 6/9/2009 2:43:47 AM EST
[Last Edit: 6/9/2009 2:45:15 AM EST by MartinR]
My reply was 'Yes, but take precautions'.

1. Use very little bleach (preferably none - as with all normal septic systems)
2. Check which chemicals are in the soaps you use to see if they are okay for use in the garden. At least make sure they are biodegradable, but even then be careful.
3. Consider some sort of holding tank with a pump so you will have more control of where the water goes with respect to your garden.
4. It may limited by state or local codes.

Link Posted: 6/10/2009 12:40:38 AM EST
Live fecal coliform bacteria may be found in washing machine runoff due to the washing of underwear. You can reduce he hazard through the use of hot water washes and bleach.

Same with runoff from baths/showers.
Link Posted: 6/10/2009 9:40:06 AM EST
[Last Edit: 6/10/2009 9:42:26 AM EST by ilbob]
Originally Posted By Brundoggie:
Live fecal coliform bacteria may be found in washing machine runoff due to the washing of underwear. You can reduce he hazard through the use of hot water washes and bleach.

Same with runoff from baths/showers.


What about the bacteria from the critters that take a crap in your garden?

People have been using gray water to irrigate their gardens for a very long time. The risks are quite low. If it bothers you, don't do it.

The bad effects of chlorine bleach in gray water are overstated IMO. Chlorine bleach pretty rapidly degrades when exposed to air, if there is any left at all after the wash cycle.

Link Posted: 6/11/2009 3:57:26 AM EST
Dish soap is used in a lot of homemade pesticides. I forget what it does to bugs, but obviously soap is harmless to humans outside of mild diarrhea.
Link Posted: 6/12/2009 9:02:28 AM EST
Originally Posted By memyselfandi:
Dish soap is used in a lot of homemade pesticides. I forget what it does to bugs, but obviously soap is harmless to humans outside of mild diarrhea.


Detergent and soap are different things.
Link Posted: 6/15/2009 8:59:06 AM EST
I ran the water out of my washing machine into a couple of buckets to dump on the lawn due to this thread.

HOLY CRAP is there a lot of water going down the drain. nearly 50 gallons per laundry load.... 25 to wash and 25 to rinse. I'm glad I had enough Bucket capacity, because I had no idea of the volume and speed of the water dump.

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