Using Grey Water to Sustain Your Landscape

4 Hours

Having lived in California my whole life, I've learned the words "water conservation" and "drought" many times here. It's something I remember my parents talking to us kids about when I grew up in Northern California. I remember that we only flushed after going "number 2", otherwise, you just left it in there and flushed at the end of the day so we wouldn't waste water. We couldn't run the water while brushing our teeth. It didn't seem horrible - just being careful with water. Now I live in Southern California, where we have even less rain than Northern California, and a drier climate. This year, they are saying is the worst drought in recorded history in the state of California - which may not bother you, but guess what? You probably get a LOT of your food from California. So, our decision to "go native" and plant a drought tolerant front yard couldn't have come at a better time! But, we've recently discovered something else - grey water. Do you know what that is?
Grey water is the water that comes from your washing machine, kitchen sink drain, bathroom sink drain, or showers and bathtub drains. It's not sewage, just dirty water. Plants can handle grey water - alongside regular watering. I wouldn't recommend it for an edible garden {unless you have set up a very careful system that doesn't touch any fruits/veggies}, but it works great for our front yard plants and potted plants. You must ONLY use non-toxic detergents and stain removers in your laundry, no bleach or chemical cleaners. See below for more information.
A hose from the laundry to the rain barrel holds the grey water.
A list of non-toxic, safe detergents I've personally used to wash with and then used the grey water from to water my plants.
Even with little watering, our drought tolerant front yard is thriving.
There are a few rules and regulations, but for a simple system we set up a hose to go into a rain barrel to hold our water. After just TWO loads of laundry, the 50 gallon rain barrel is FULL! Yikes! Go to post below photos to full details and more pictures.

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Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!


Have a question about this project?

1 question
  • Jette
    on Sep 4, 2017

    Would the chemicals from detergents be toxic for gardens?

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