When I wash clothes, I use cold water and let the wash water drain into the washtub with the plug in. Then when doing another load, I bail the water back into the machine. It saves soap and water, keeps my sump pump from running all the time, and keeps my septic tank from filling up
By Mary from Bad Axe, MI
I do the same thing. In the winter and early spring, when the temp was above freezing, I used hot soapy wash water to clean the salt and flithy black road dirt off the sidewalk & driveway apron out front.
It works even when below freezing if it's sunny and early in the day.
If I use bleach (not often) I let it go through the regular indoor drain to clean it out.
Recently I used soapy water from the washer to clean an oil spot off the driveway. I use biodegradable Seventh Generation detergent, so it's safe for the lawn.
I also used the hot soapy water to melt ice jams from the street plows at the apron of the driveway.
I just point the washer hose into a bucket or gallon jugs and carry it out to the sidewalk or driveway, repeatedly. Good exercise, but I keep fantasizing about a long hose from the washer to the driveway apron.
I have done that, works like a charm, now I run my wash water out on the lawn, it kills the weeds in my Bermuda grass. I use the rinse water to water flowers, wash the dog, etc. I put a long hose on the washer water outlet, so I can move the water around my yard.
My mother had a sud-saver set up also. As I got interested in being more conserving, I found ways to use the grey water from my washer, without an automatic sud-saver. My home is old and I drain the washer water into a concrete utility sink. When I hear the water running, I catch it in a plastic wash basin and dump it into two 5 gallon buckets. If it's rinse water, I pour it into the washer and do a load. If it's soapy wash water, I use it to flush my basement commode. I also use the water from my de-humidifier for the same purpose.
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Years ago my washer, a Kenmore, had a "suds saver" feature, which would pump the wash or rinse water back into the washer to be reused. There was a "sud saver tub" that the water drained into and then the sud saver feature would siphon the water from the tub back into the washer out for reuse. Does anyone remember this feature?
Now I have a tub (laundry sink) the water goes into before it goes to the drain because my plumbing is old and the force of the water is too much for the drain to handle. This morning, I was thinking of ways to save on water. I am wondering if a small pond pump put in the laundry tub would work to siphon the water back into the washer for reuse.
Another thought was to use a garden hose from the laundry sink to send the RINSE water outside to my flower beds.
Anyone have any thoughts on this?
PrairieLady from SD
I am all for using gray water for other tasks. I had the suds saver but now have a front loading washer which uses a lot less water and gets the clothes cleaner. You also use less soap. But back to gray water. I would water house plants with it. In the summer, since I have a window in my laundry room, I would send it straight into the yard with a hose or into a garbage can and water the container plants with it. If you use bleach, let the water set a day or two before you use it on plants. When they had phosphates in detergent, it really made the yard green and plants blossom. (01/23/2006)
I use a small submersible pump to pump my water from the laundry tub to my flower beds. The flowers love it and I love the savings since I have to pay for my water usage. (01/23/2006)
Thank you all for the feedback. I am thinking I will be able to reuse the wash/rinse water in the machine, then I should be able to pump it outside to the flower beds! My machine is at ground level, so this should not be a lot of problem except getting all the pumps and hoses connected. You all are wonderful! (01/24/2006)
Buy a Maytag suds saver machine. I love mine. It's the only manufacturer that I know that still makes this once popular type of washing machine. Should be more of them available. (04/15/2007)
We have an aftermarket sudsaver, which was purchased about 20 years ago. Now we need a new washer, and don't know if any of the new models will support the aftermarket sudsaver. :( (05/17/2007)
Behind your washer use a 2 inch PVC pipe about 4 feet tall and one 90 degree elbow. Route through an exterior wall, clamp the PVC pipe to the wall in a couple of spots then hang your washer hose in it. Go to the hardware store and get you some 1 1/2 flex hose simply reduce down to hook to in pipe to the flex hose. Flex hose can be up to 20 feet long and it's free to move around outside and can be coiled up on a hose hanger. Works great for watering a tree or a garden, a large load can be up to 30 gallons of water (05/29/2007)
I also have a Kenmore Sudsaver Washing Machine that is now over 13 years old. I have been trying to find a replacement but apparently the companies are replacing these with the new front loading, use less water models. I tried Maytag but they have not made that model in four years. I have heard a lot of negative remarks about the new front loading washers including how expensive the parts are when when they break and if you purchase one, make sure you buy the extended service warranty, as you will need to use it.
I do not understand why these companies stopped making these machines during a time when we are all suppose to be trying to conserve. I am on a well and septic system, so I found this to be just what I needed. I wonder if we all started to write to these companies suggesting they make these part of their product line again - would they listen? (11/05/2007)
By Linda Stanford
I recently posted under Laundry Tips...
If the wash water is reusable, catch the wash water in a large garbage can and a couple of pails and then replace the hose into the drain pipe and let the washing machine finish it's full cycle. If you leave the lid open, the wash water does not drain or spin until the lid is put back down. For the next load, I simply pail it back into the machine. This is a little bit of work but good exercise. Be sure to use a smaller pail so that you don't strain your back. (11/14/2007)
Years ago, my mother had one but she still has the tub. She would sure like that if they did make them again with the way the economy is, you have to conserve everything you can. It is a waste of water if you can use it over again but don't have a way to save it. (06/02/2008)
When I was a little boy I helped Grandma and mom wash clothes with the old wringer washer and two tubs one held wash water and one rinse. The water and soap would be used over and over, putting the clothes through the ringer was the best. then they would dry on the clothesline. Very energy effective. and the smell was the best.
Now I have a big plastic storage tub I set on my laundry sink and the wash water discharges into the tub. I have to move the drain hose back to the stand pipe for rinse then I siphon the wash water into the machine for the next 5 loads. (06/21/2008)
We've been using all our washing machine water for the past year on our landscape plants. The only change we made was using a clothes detergent that doesn't have salt in it. It's called Bright Green from Safeway and it does a great job (and I'm picky about this). The plants are thriving! In addition we divert ALL our SHOWER WATER to landscape plants. The system continuously extracts the gray water (so you don't stand in slippery soapy water) and then pumps it through the wall an onto landscape plants. A remote hangs from the towel rack and turns the pump on and off. Using gray water from clothes washing and showers combined saves us a LOT of money!