Water your house plants with bathwater

By: Michael CoghlanCC BY 2.0
My son takes a bath every night. Last night, as the tub was draining and I was thinking over my chores I needed to execute that evening (because that's how I treat my chores: EXECUTION!) I realized that I could kill two birds with one stone and use the lukewarm bathwater to water the houseplants.

BASKET MOMENT!

Obviously, this won't work if you use bath salts or lots of soap, but if you just do a nice soak… your plants would love that grey water!

  1. After we went through a ten year drought, dwindling dams and loads of water restrictions across the country, this became pretty common practice in Australia. In fact, lots of us also keep a bucket in the shower… When it fills up, it gets put on the garden too! Quite a lot of water goes down the drain while you're heating up the water at the beginning of a shower – unless you have a bucket to catch it that is :)
    And also, if your bath salts are epsom salts, I believe that there are plants that LIKE that added to their water. Citrus is one I think?

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    • The shower bucket — BRILLIANT!

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  2. I was just thinking, though…wouldn't the soap be harmful? If you're just soaking that's fine though.

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      • I have used (and loved) Turkish olive oil soap (the green kind – from Syria originally, I believe), but doesn't that still have lye and other ingredients that would be harmful even if it is a better choice?

        I can't use it regularly though – I bought several bars in Turkey, and they're almost all gone. It's not available in Taiwan as far as I have found.

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        • Lye isn't really in soap, it's just listed as an ingredient because it's used in the soap making process.

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  3. We don't have a bath but I've started putting a bucket in the shower when I first switch it on. We have an electric shower that heats up quickly, but even that little bit of water each time adds up. I also throw in the bit that always seems to be left in the kettle (even when I measure it in using the mugs I'm going to pour it into!) water I've used to steam stuff and occasionally boil stuff. (If it's something like potatoes that doesn't mess it up. Water from rice doesn't work.)

    Then I use it for any random tasks that don't really need perfectly clean water, mainly rinsing my pet snails tank.

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    • Another good use for the water you've boiled stuff in is to kill weeds between paving without using poison. You just pour the still-hot water over the weedy bits and they shrivel up and die over the next couple of days.

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  4. But I don't wanna give up my bubble baths! *said in the whiniest voice possible*

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  5. My parents have a baby pool for my son, everytime they empty it they use a submersible pump and pump the water into rain barrels for the garden. It takes about 30 minutes total but recycles the water.

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  6. Does anyone know what kinds of soaps are harmful for what kinds of plants? Could we use our dirty dish water?

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    • I don't know the specific, scientific answer to this question, but my mom used to throw her dishwater out the back door, and the plants that grew there were enormous and vibrant.

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    • Castille soap (which I mentioned above) is all-purpose. We used to use it for our bodies AND dishes AND laundry when we went camping before I realized that I could use it at home, too.

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    • Flowers love soapy water…. It's because of the phosphrus

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  7. A quick and dirty little guide from About.com.

    In terms of what soaps are safe, you want to use the soaps with the fewest chemicals possible, and you shouldn't ONLY water your plants with soapy water. Use organic soaps if possible.

    If not possible, the article above has a bunch of different sources of greywater that probably don't contain any/much soap at all–like the water from when you rinse your veggies, or when you rinse your dishes.

    Bonus? Use your slightly-more soapy greywater in a spray bottle to fend off insects. THE MORE YOU KNOW.

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  8. My parents have always kept a bucket in the bathroom to collect the water we run when warming up for a bath or shower. The collected water is for flushing.

    (Obviously we don't take enough showers or baths to use the bucket every time we need to flush–but it helps. Plus if the dog gets thirsty, she can just drink out of the bucket.)

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  9. I do this with a container that fits into my sink, so whenever I wash the dishes I can water the garden. I don't have a dishwasher, and the amount of water I use is about the amount that I can carry outside. If it's too oily or nasty, I don't use it, but otherwise the plants don't mind a bit of soap, tea, or a few crumbs and I remember to water the plants every day.

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  10. I use boiled egg and chicken water to water the weird weedy looking tree plant that my husband dragged into the house. At first that thing was withering, but it seems to be thriving from the boiled water. I often pour it when the water is really hot too. I don't know if that's good or bad, but the tree type thing seems to like it! : )

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  11. I use nothing but Lush (and only partly because I work there) and all our stuff is biodegradable, so we have no problem watering our garden with the soapy shower water/bath water. I've just moved house though and I have to rehabilitate all the grass and garden beds because our housemates haven't taken care of it at all. I'm hoping the grey water will help them.

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    • Hi, my name is Stephanie, and I am a LUSH addict. Admitting is the first step, right?!

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      • I love Lush too! Our wedding favors were actually from Lush. Hmmm, maybe I should write a post about them?

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        • I just bought LUSH solid shampoo to take on my vacation.
          I love the stuff and used to use it ALL the time, but the closest place to me now that sells it is 1 hr away

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  12. My boyfriend and I have traded in soap and body wash for fresh cut aloe juice. He uses it for shampoo as well because his scalp is so sensitive to fragrance and dye. We just hack off a 3-4" section, slice it in half and rub it around like a bar of soap or scrape the leaves and keep the juice in a jar. The acidity of the aloe makes for a great cleanser. We get out of the bath feeling squeaky-fresh and we can reuse the water for watering plants, bathing the pets and rinsing out the garbage pails.

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    • What?! That is awesome and crazy. How do you keep from running out of aloe, though? I feel like the plant wouldn't be able to grow quickly enough to keep up with demand.

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  13. After the wedding in October, my honey plans on installing this switchy thing, where anytime I take a bath the water drains out into a separate pipe that feeds it into a drip system in the front yard (the tub is RIGHT against the wall by the front of the house) but on the off days that I'm dying my hair or cleaning with cray-cray chemicals, you literally just move a little lever over, and BAM, back into the septic system :D Grey-water for the win!!! (PS I live in NM and already collect rain water for my container plants, but want to get more ambitious next year) Apparently its pretty simple to do if you are already on the handy side…

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  14. Yup, our shower takes forever to heat up so we keep a bucket in it to collect the first bit of water that's too frigid to step into. We also have a pitcher on the kitchen counter for last night's water glasses, leftovers from the kettle etc. This is the first year I've grown anything but herbs and I'm still amazed at how much water goes into a single tomato. Definitely an inspiration to start collecting dishwater.

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  15. It takes a while to get my hair wet in the shower(long curly thick hair), and comb the water into the hair. I put a bucket under the water and let the water run into that. Bonus: Occasionally, I'll let the water run onto my head and down my back into a bucket, getting my hair wet while I'm squating down to scrub the tub. Then I use the first bit of water to wash the tub crud down the drain and the rest I collect before I soap up for plants. Don't do it every shower… but I try.

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  16. I don't think I can put a bucket in the shower… my partner and I shower at the same time and there are spacial dynamics issues to begin with. We DO turn off the water when we're not actively using it, so that's cool, but I was just commenting that I want to be saving the water from boiling/steaming veggies for using in the garden.

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  17. For my old summer job, I used to live in an old homestead in NM where the house had no real indoor plumbing. However, from the kitchen we had a drain that went from the kitchen sink, outside, down a trench, straight to the garden. Made me much more aware of what we dumped down the drain, since we'd be eating it later, but it was a great way to reuse grey-water! For stuff that was more worrisome, we would just take it outside and scatter it elsewhere. Still, love the idea of reusing it! :)

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