Capturing the washing water
It might not look like much, but this drum, bit of pipe and reclaimed hose can save us heaps.
It’s simply a way to catch the washing machine water, let it settle, then send it to the garden.
We don’t use hot water in our machine which has a 4.5 star water rating and uses 65 litres for a full wash. We only use the ‘wool’ setting as that doesn’t heat the water. That means that it can go on the garden quicker.
Nor do we (usually) need to capture water in the depths of Winter, though we did have to water several times during the last one. Also, often we hammer out 4 or five loads in a day but we’ll probably only catch, say, 2 of them in this system.
The savings –
- 6 washes a week for 26 weeks = 156 washes
- 65 litres per wash = 10, 140 litres captured for reuse!
That’s about 10 IBC tanks, or 10 x 3 module rainwater tanks! Wow!
I didn’t calculate the dollar savings. The cost of water is artificially subsidised and varies at the whim of the providers, so I prefer to just look at our use of this vital but dwindling resource.
The cost –
Nothing, nada, zilch, zero. It was cobbled together from bits we had laying around.
Other benefits –
This water does triple duty because it:
- First: washes our clothes.
- Second: it waters the garden.
- Third: it provides simple pest control.
Also capturing your grey water saves many of the problems, costs and energy associated with the provision of water and the removal and treatment of waste.
I’ve been itching to do this job for a while and we have had it going in varying guises over the years. The clincher for this one was the scrounging of a drum with flat sides. That means that it doesn’t take up precious space in the garden.
If you aim to capture your used water, you need to be careful of the laundry liquids or powders you use. We use a cheap but friendly brand called ‘Earth Choice’ or home made laundry soap with no borax. There’s plenty of choices and brands out there.
The other thing you need to make sure of is that you move the outlet around. It’s good not to water in the same place twice. In fact, we cycle it around the garden so that no area gets watered twice in one week.
The chemicals in soap and all that sort of thing can change the water holding capacity and very structure of the precious soil in your garden. By giving areas a rest, you are allowing the microorganisms time to process the chemicals and wastes in the water.
We need to get more water wise. There are lots of ways to do it and this is only one of them but one that makes a huge difference.
Give it a go at your place.