Author Options:

Greywater systems Answered

I've been looking into setting up some greywater systems in my house to save money and water, my problem is that I also plan to make my own laundry soap using a combination of Fels Naptha soap, washing soda, and borax. what would I need to do to this water to be able to use it on plants? My yard is slowly becoming entirely garden that is usable for food, herbs, or other usable plants and I don't want to poison my foods or animal foods. Anyone that can help direct me to information on this would be greatly appreciated.


Borax is pretty toxic to a good chunk of the plant life you're probably growing, so I'd be hesitant in using your grey water for agricultural irrigation. I suppose if you were to trap the water and run it through some natural filtration (rocks, sand, charcoal) or maybe a collection pond (assuming you have room) first you could avoid the toxicity issue. Even if you didn't use the grey water for irrigation, just using it to flush toilets could reduce your annual H2O use by upwards of 30%.

Thanks for the input Sunkicked. I guess I should look for something a little less toxic for clothes washing. I try to be pretty conservative in my indoor water use and trying to get the yard to a place where I won't need to "water" it is my main concern because that is probably where most of my water has gone in the past years. I'm working on rain barrels as well and usually use water from dehumidifiers in the summer to wash clothes in. Just looking at more options. Every little bit helps :-)

By no means my best project (my best project is about carving pumpkins so...) , but here's something you could look at to see how NOT to do it. :-)


My wife and I use a homemade laundry detergent as well, but it also uses Borax. Maybe you could use the washing machine water to flush your toilets so your water will smell better.

Maybe on the toilet flushing. Problem is laundry is in the basement and toilet upstairs so I'll either need to pump or hand carry buckets up. I did read your rain barrel project and those are the barrels I have. About 10 right now. I got them all from a local car wash and rinsed them out about a dozen times over this past spring and summer with rain water. Now I just have to put bungs on them and be ready for next spring. I've been looking on craigslist hoping to find someone tossing their rain gutters so I can set up a better collections system. I'm a single parent and don't make much money which is why I do all the DIY I can. Plus I just like it :-)