Watering garden with washing machine water
It looks like I'm going to have to do just that, due to the technicalities of discharging a washing machine which is in a shed near my static caravan!
Does anyone have knowledge of which detergents are least damaging to the plants (mostly shrubs but possibly could use on grassed areas) which I'll be watering with this water?
I've tried soap nuts in the past and am not over happy with the results!
At home I use vinegar as a rinse aid rather than conditioner, but found a natural weed killer recipe which included vinegar, so perhaps that shouldn't be going on the plants either? Unless it will help neutralise the alkalinity of the detergent once mixed together? I can discharge the water into a water butt, so the wash water is diluted by rinse water, but I understand it shouldn't be stored as it may culture bacteria!
I use Ecover. Anything like that (Bio D, Ecoleaf) will be alright. Avoid the commercial ones (like Persil) - but if you've tried soap nuts, I guess you are past the Persil stage anyway. I didn't get on with soap nuts, either.
I'd be really surprised if your grey water contains sufficient vinegar to change the acidity of the soil, since it will be diluted not only by the water in the washing machine but also by rain water.
Some people advise not using grey water on food plants. I think this is being over cautious but, in any case, on shrubs you will be fine.
A friend of mine who runs a B&B in the Highlands, has a reed bed system in place for 'waste water' - and they have diverted down pipes, sinks, baths, showers and utility room waste, into large storage tanks (plenty of space!) which then goes into the garden as and when needed. The overflow goes to the reed bed. She uses EgoEgg from Lakeland, and also Laundry Balls. For anything like grass marks on clothes belonging to her kids, she uses old fashioned fairy laundry soap, and elbow grease, to get stains out!
It is an ambition of mine to have a grey water garden that will filter the water before it goes into the stream. Some day ...:)