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Watering Plants

Q.Is It Ok To Use Laundry Water To Water Container (pot) Plants/trees?

Zone Qena | history_remembers added on February 6, 2020 | Answered

I’d like to know the impact of using grey (laundry) water to water container plants/trees. I live in Egypt and my family uses detergents that generally contain anionic surfactants (5-30%), non-anionic surfactants (<10%), carboxylates, fragrant, enzymes, and optical brightener.
Fresh white water is available but every week there is ample of this grey laundry water to throw away and cannot be flushed into the toilets due to sanitation problems. So I was wondering if I could safely store and use this laundry water to water my rooftop plants and trees in pots.
Any tips and ideas are welcome and appreciated.
Thanks for reading and interacting.

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Certified GKH Gardening Expert
Answered on February 6, 2020

We have to think about it like this- Anything that is a hazard to put into the water supply will be toxic to humans, plants, and animals. Watering with this water will be a sure way to kill off plants with.

Here in the US, there are fees that are included into our utility bills that are for dealing with this toxic water. This means that it will not be suitable for any kind of use.

Now, if you run this through a solid and chemical filter that leaves you with perfectly clean water, it can be used then. Otherwise, you will not want to use this.

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Answered on February 8, 2020

Hi BushDoctor,
Thanks for your answer. Your warning advice is very useful to me since I have used this water only once to water my plants and indeed I will stop using it unless I am able to clean it. That is why I have constructed a simple DIY filter constructed of sand, charcoal, and little stones. Letting the grey water run through this filter has indeed brightened its colour to yellowish and the smell is less stinky than the original water.
Because disposing this grey water is a challenge in my countryside I am still interested to pursue this ambitious cause to further clean it.
Also, any simple method of water cleaning water is necessary and useful to respond to the declining water resources in my country.
For those reasons I am asking this to those having expertise in water filtration to help me further purify the laundry water.
Best wishes,

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