How to recycle washing machine water

Written by sal marco
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How to recycle washing machine water
Recycle water to save money and the environment. (washing machine image by andrey polichenko from

Recycling washing machine water, also referred to as grey water, is an excellent way to conserve water usage. This conservation method is beneficial financially and environmentally. Gray water has many uses in and around a home ranging from washing cars to watering plants. Recycled water contains many nutrients that are useful to plants. Reusing grey water helps to prevent septic systems from overflowing by reducing the amount of wastewater. Recycling washing machine water may seem like a small step in conservation, but each small step adds up to larger steps.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Screwdriver
  • Garden hose
  • Clamp
  • Bucket
  • Drum

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  1. 1

    Unplug the washing machine. Never work on appliances with the electrical power connected, as this can cause electrical shocks, injury or death.

  2. 2

    Pull the washing machine away from the wall to gain access to the back.

  3. 3

    Remove the drain hose from the washing machine. Use a screwdriver to loosen the existing clamp holding the drain hose. Keep a bucket within reach to catch water in the hose and prevent it from emptying onto the floor.

  4. 4

    Attach a long garden hose to the drain hose and secure in place with a clamp. The old clamp is reusable if it shows no signs of damage.

  5. 5

    Run the hose to a large wastewater drum or directly outside.

  6. 6

    Push the washing machine back in place and plug it back in to restore power.

Tips and warnings

  • Use grey water to water indoor and outdoor plants and lawns. Water from the bottom of the plants, near the soil, to avoid damaging leaves. Wash cars, patio furniture and sidewalks. Pour grey water into toilets to flush.
  • Use grey water as soon as possible to avoid stagnation, usually with one day.
  • Add two tbsp chlorine bleach to each gallon of grey water to extend its use by one day.
  • Do not use grey water on plants that will be eaten raw, such as lettuce.
  • Do not add fabric softener.
  • Do not reuse water with traces of gasoline or other chemicals.

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