Introduction: Gray Water Recycling ( 4 Da Poor Man )

About: Im a Machine Tool Electrician, I wire machines and assembly lines, Control Panels. I like to make my own stuff and help show others how to live better, cheaply, Self Reliant. If you give a man a fish, he wil…
Update :
Today is August 23, 2013 and we are still doing this today

For a while now I've been emptying my washing machines rinse water into 5 gal buckets.
This can get awfully demanding at times. Also, as my old boss would say, 'Times are tough
I saw other instrutables on the issue, but nothing in my price range.
As I was shopping at the local $Store, I saw a tote that caught my attention and something flashed in my head just like a bulb ( CFL of course ).

Conservation is not a convenience, to say the least, it involves work and a change in thinking. Everything today is to make our life's convenient, Even if you conserved something, water, electricity, etc once in awhile, its better than nothing.

We do about four loads of laundry a week, 52 times a year. That adds up to 1,416 gals a year in water savings. We have a well and our pump runs every 6 quarts. That is to say my well pump doesn't come on 944 times a year, which I save just under $10 a year. I may not get rich on my savings, but then again neither will someone else

Please take the time to rate this, it helps to see how Im doing.

Step 1: The Disclamer

As Always this instructable is for educated porpoises only and should not be attempted!
NOT to made for evil Porpoises...

Step 2: BOM

What your gonna need here is as follows

Tote - Size to be determined...
(Sterilite(TM) 106 qt / 100 L /  comes out as 26.5 gals)

Razor knife or soldering iron ( I used the iron)

Heavy duty Hose Clamp - size to be determined

Garden Hose (or similar)

Tape Measure

Duct Tape ( We don't need it, but I feel more secure when I have it with me)

Step 3: Measuring the Bowl

If your like most, our washer and drier is set next to each other (side by side). My drier on the left and washer on the right (is that normal?)

Take tape measure and measure your washing machines bowl

Determine the gals it holds using this formula


pi being 3.141596 (hows that for off the top of my head)(or 22/7)

If you need help with this see

Mine measured out to be 18 gals, but it was more like 21, so keep that in mind.

Don't forget the spray during the rinse cycle, roughly 2 - 3 gals

Step 4: Dont Be a Hosier

measure the size hose your drain hose is and get hose clamp to hold the hose on the bottom of the washing machine. You will be moving your hose to and from the drain tube to the tote and it WILL work itself loose, when you least want it to.

Mine came off on me once, which was all it took for me to better secure it. Luckily for me it was during a small load and I could move the washer out in time to prevent something my wife wouldn't let me forget about in this life time... (honesty she loves me and thinks I'm wonderful... she was a great catch!). If you have a basement unfinished you'd weather it.

Step 5: No Totes About It

Take the lid of your tote and cut a  hole to fit your drain hose into the back, also cut a hole for your hose in the front. I prefer drilling  or more like burn small diameter holes around the circumference of the hole I cut out, makes it easier to cut and stay within the lines.

test fit the hoses into the holes to see they fit well, not snug.

You do want your filling hose hole to be a little loose for you have to 'sink' the hose to get a siphon from it.

Step 6:

Put the tote on your drier and hook up the drain hose at the beginning of the rinse cycle.
I don't know about all washers, mine will not go into the spin cycles lest the lid is closed, so I open the lid during the rinse cycle. This way I don't miss the rinse drain cycle.

I used my buckets one last time to mark 5 gal increments on the tote with a permanent marker and covered them with some clear 2" cellophane tape.

Step 7:

For those who don't know how to start a siphon....
Put the fill hose in as far as it will go in the tote...
Put your thumb over the hose end...
Put the hose into your washers basket...
and let go....
If at first don't succeed, try try again...

Washer is OFF during this part. It will take you some trial and error to know what 'level' your washing machine is sensing as small, medium and large. I just started counting the holes in the basket to get the load level I wanted.

I do large loads first and smaller as I go. The final load rinse goes into the drain, as I do underclothing last since I use bleach, or you can use unbleached water to fill a bucket or two and water your garden. I don't recommended use for the veggies!

I use a hot/cold washing machine hose with one end cut off to fill, for there is still some body skin, hair etc that stay at the surface, that I don't want in the next wash so it will lose the siphon leaving about a half gallon to flush the toilet...