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Greywater is domestic waste water from activities such as laundry, dishwashing, and bathing. Unlike sewage water (which is referred to as blackwater), greywater can be safely recycled for use in the landscape without the use of any special treatment systems. Because we use large amounts of this type of water for daily household activities the average bathtub uses 26 gallons, in extreme drought conditions greywater can be a great way to conserve water.
I keep a large empty bucket by the floor near my kitchen sink. As I rinse off my dishes, I collect the water in a container in the sink.
Every time I washed fruit and vegetables or used the salad spinner I put the 'dirty' water into a bucket. I was really shocked when by the end of the day the 2 gallon bucket was almost full!
This one comes from my dad. When I was young, he maintained a very large garden and my mom canned most of the fruits and veggies that we ate. One year because of a water main break, all outdoor watering was banned.
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The concern that I would have now days with gray water from the laundry is that the soap has various chemicals in it that they didn't have maybe 20 or 30 yrs ago when it was more prevalent in using gray water for the garden. What are the effects that the new grey water will have on the plant growth and eventually on your body when you eat the food from the garden?
It's been my experience that most people who care enough for the environment to use gray water also use biodegradable laundry soaps, or at the very least a home made laundry soap that has far less chemicals in it than most did 20 years ago.
You may find your garden to be more lush and green. Jerry Baker recommends using dish liquid as a surfactant so fertilizers work better.. YOur garden might have fewer harmful insects... I wouldnt use wash water with chorine bleach on my garden. It might kill the plants..
Best of luck
The percentage of soap in the water is so miniscule it really doesn't make a difference, especially if you're economic with the amount you use-you don't need much soap to do the dishes if you use it properly.
It isn't so much the soap, but the borates and chlorines used, I switched to Shaklee Basic L, which has a washing soda base, and my kids' skin looks better, plus it goes a long way!
The soap issue is impostant regarding how you plan to use the greywater. For example if you plan to use the water for the garden you need to be concerned about salts in the detergent. Most detergents contain salt which is bad for plants. Even some of the eco friendly detergents. Safer to use soap nuts which is a nut from a tree that produces saponin, a soap type susbtance.
There's a guy in our area who diverts all of his washing machine grey water to his garden, and he has the most lush, green and tropical garden probably in all of Arizona. He uses cheap laundry detergent, and I don't know if they use Clorox or not.
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Is it possible to water the garden with the water from your washer? Maybe just the rinse water?