Using laundry greywater

Discussion in 'Planting, growing, nurturing Plants' started by hedwig, Aug 30, 2006.

  1. hedwig

    hedwig Junior Member

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    We are using laundry greywater for veggies and trees.
    We should perhaps build a filter like mentioned in another thread, but first we should avoid the false laundry powders.
    I read that sodium an phosphate are the ingredients which are bad for the soil. With phosphate it is simple because it is marked on the box, but how do I find out the sodium level?Are there sheets with brands and ingredients?
    Is sodium (cooking salt?) necessary for laundry and are there powders without sodium? Or should we all write to our supermarkets demanding what is in the laundry powder?
     
  2. gardenlen

    gardenlen Group for banned users

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    g'day hedwig,

    reckon you could make it easy by making your own we have a recipe on our remedies page it is easy to make, and all reports say it is great stuff even my lovely says so, we also use it as hand wash and general purpose cleaner too easy hey?

    len :wink:
     
  3. LittleFish

    LittleFish Junior Member

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    Hi Hedwig

    these guys have a lot of info on laundry detergents including Sodium and Phosphorus levels.

    https://www.lanfaxlabs.com.au/laundry.htm

    Not sure if Phosphorus itself is necessarily bad, it is a fertiliser after all but not really organic. Sodium is probably more of a problem. Generally pure soap flakes are about the most benign.

    Len is right though; you cant beat home-made.

    cheers
    Stephen
     
  4. Squeak

    Squeak Junior Member

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    I also look at what I'm actually laundering.

    In our case, we don't use laundry water on the garden as what we are laundering contains substances which would require further treatment prior to use so they are put through the mains as waste. In addition, it also depends on where you are in relation to greywater usage. If you're in an urban area, I'd check with Council first.
     
  5. stuartgrant

    stuartgrant Junior Member

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    washing soda

    Hi all,

    I had a look at the recipe on Len's page. Nice and simple,
    but it does have a cup of washing soda in it. Washing
    soda is sodium carbonate and that means that there's a
    lot of sodium going into this recipe. It works out to be
    8.5g pure sodium content per wash. But that figure
    doesn't mean much because, as hedwig suggested,
    there's no requirement to label sodium content on
    washing powders.

    Given that the detergent is probably less harmful than the
    sodium, and that most areas of Australian have very soft
    water, that sounds like a good deal to me.
     
  6. Arby

    Arby Junior Member

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  7. ecodharmamark

    ecodharmamark Junior Member

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  8. hedwig

    hedwig Junior Member

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    hi gardenlen I just bought the ingredients of your recipie, and am a bit confused about the term "washing soda". Is it caustic soda? I bought baking soda, because the caustic soda seemed a bit dangerous to me. (At least I can make cakes). For whoch purpose is eycalypt oil for fragrant?
     
  9. stuartgrant

    stuartgrant Junior Member

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    G'day Hedwig,

    As far as I know:
    Caustic soda = sodium hydroxide = NaOH
    Baking soda = sodium bicarbonate = NaHCO3
    Washing soda = sodium carbonate = NaCO3

    Both baking and caustic soda are probably too chemically active (alkaline) to be used in the recipe. I'd look for the washing soda, which is the least active of the three. Not sure where you'd find it, tho.
     
  10. gardenlen

    gardenlen Group for banned users

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    g'day hedwig,

    it's called washing soda and we buy it from the wollies supermarket, in the washing powder lane.

    the eucalyptust oil is disentectant and aroma plus it helps with the cleaning, we use only that in place of the essential oil like lavender or tea tree oils, my lovely puts around 3 tablespoons of euc' oil you can use less or as the recipe says, we just posted the recipe as it came to us.

    the salt thingy might be a bit pie in the sky in its importance in the bigger picture, even when we used regular soap powders we never had any problems that was evident to us.

    this whole grey water issue was never an issue until all of a sudden more people wanted to use it, then all this gremliny stuff came out of the hype fear campagne closet. about the only water our vege's got for 5 years up in the bush was grey water kitchen/bath/laundry no matter what and our plants thrived as did we eating the produce.

    to me i simply can't see one cup of washing soda in 20 litres of mix being too much for any system to handle, and at all times the worms loved the stuff, when i needed worms i would run all grey water to one spot a couple or so days and harvest heaps of them for the other fear hype thingy the composting toilet.

    len
     
  11. hedwig

    hedwig Junior Member

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    hi all, should have taken a bit more care in chemistry...
    well I will look once more in the wollies laundry range.
    Phosphate should be forbidden in laundry products, in Switzerland it is and in Germany the industry don't use it.
    It is so expensive you need a special treatment for the waste water and often the waste water plants do not have this special treatment.
    It's strange that laundry products are not correctly labeled in Australia.
     
  12. gardenlen

    gardenlen Group for banned users

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    g'day hedwig,

    guess with the labelling thingy it isn't edible so they don't care hey?

    we had a look in the wash powder isle this arvo' it is right with the bar soaps and other sundry stuff.

    so not being a chemist either not sure if that would even help but one can just imagine what comes out of the sewerage treatment works and goes into our bays, rivers & streams at present and they want to make us drink it now also.

    len
     
  13. Plumtree

    Plumtree Junior Member

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    Gardenlen makes a good point when he says that some people may have concerns about greywater that they need not have! We are very short of water and the greywater is used and with no ill effects. We have used it for the vegie plot, to keep the compost bin moist and to generally add water to the paddock. Our greywater includes the shower, hand basin and laundry. The kitchen goes thru a greasetrap first and reaches the garden underground. Things don't fail because of the content but only because there is not enough.

    In a smaller block it is probably important to take some care to avoid a concentration of chemicals and salt. We have room and we shift the greywater to different areas. On the other hand we have to shift sheep manure from under the gum trees to avoid the concentration of fertiliser that might kill the trees.
     
  14. gardenlen

    gardenlen Group for banned users

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    g'day plumtree,

    you pretty much naile it in the end a dose of common sense will always go a long way, i've found the more fool proof they try to make things the more the fool brings them undone.

    with the regular laundry powders we found we could get a good clean wash with around 1/3 of the recommended use rate, after all recommended rates are there to create more sales for the product. and another point made anyway is that they don't advertise on their pack's how much salt type ingredient they have or which one they use? at least with that recipe we have on our site you can pretty much see what is in the product.
    laike you our big problem was creating enough grey water to do the job, as our water management started before the tap was turned on, all water had to have at least 2 uses, 3 was even better, and watering plants is 1 use.

    i was chatting on a uk news group and mentioned using urine in the agrden, wow a couple of posters went for me jugular. talk about hype built paranoide?

    len
     
  15. hedwig

    hedwig Junior Member

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    today we put an ols garbage bin under the roof water outlet and its half full yet, but we should have more bins (one for the washing machine one for the other outlet)...and doing something against moscitos and small children
     
  16. gardenlen

    gardenlen Group for banned users

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    g'day hedwig,

    if a full on water tank is out of the budget, try sourcing those blue plastic 44 gal drums, they cost between $20 & $50 they have bungs so all you need to do is make up a screen to run the water from the downpipe through, this is to mainly keep the skeeters out, and run the over flow pipe back to the storm water from the drum. then a cheapy submersable pump attached to your garden hose should allow the flexibility to pump the water to the wash machine or water the gardens. there are screen to fit over the outflow so frogs don't crawl up the drain into the drum.

    a good size water tank will be worth its weight in gold by my reckoning, i heard our most unhonourable freshly voted back in leader use that mandate word in his victory speech, to me that says we get class 2 treated sewer water into our fresh water system.

    if i haven't said so before don't store your grey water at all, in wet seaon periods all you can do with it is let it go down the drain, unless you have oodles of gardens and very dry soils.

    len
     
  17. Michaelangelica

    Michaelangelica Junior Member

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  18. gardenlen

    gardenlen Group for banned users

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    all i get is an error page at that link michaelangelica,

    maybe you can cut and pste some or all of the text here?

    len
     
  19. Michaelangelica

    Michaelangelica Junior Member

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  20. hedwig

    hedwig Junior Member

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    Hi gardenlehn, we're renting. While water is SO cheap here, I think we never convince our owner to apply for a tank rebate (BBC pays most of the tank and you have to pay more or less the pluming). The drums will hold around 200 litres?
     

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