Forum home Tools and techniques

Is washing up water ok to water plants with?

linzijayne74linzijayne74 Droitwich, WorcestershirePosts: 197

Hi there.  I've read and heard a couple of times now that using spent washing-up water is ok to use in the garden to water plants with (as long as there's no bleach in it) and as I'm keen to re-use waste where possible, I'm interested to know your thoughts on this please?  I would imagine it's perhaps best to let the suds evaporate first?  Many thanks in advance.  :) 



  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 47,950

    Yes - it's fine linzi. I never use it on edibles, and I think you'd just have to be careful of the amount of detergent in it, but usual dishwashing stuff is perfectly ok.  image

    Make sure it's cool too...image

    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

  • Ladybird4Ladybird4 Third rock from the sunPosts: 35,051

    I would not want to use washing up water on my plants as its the residues of food - fat, salts etc. that would be the things I would be concerned about. I would also be unhappy about washing up liquids - unless organic - leaching their chemical content into the water table as these chemicals are highly toxic to aquatic life.

    Cacoethes: An irresistible urge to do something inadvisable
  • CeresCeres Posts: 2,149

    This is what I used on my garden during the mid 1970s drought and I have never had such fabulous plants, but that might have had something to do with the fact that I was religiously watering the things instead of neglecting them slightly. I also used the bathwater which meant walking downstairs with buckets of sudsy water.....I'm sure it was a great exercise regime. Its not something I would like to do long term as I think the plants deserve something clean occasionally and I have no idea how much detergent formulae have changed since those far off days but I'd say, give it a go. We should use more grey would be great if loos could be plumbed into the system to reuse washing up and bath/shower water for flushing.

  • raisingirlraisingirl East Devon, on the Edge of Exmoor.Posts: 6,194

    Prolonged dry spells were always called 'teaspoons in the heather' weather in my Mum's garden. None of the plants came to any harm from the dishwater. The odd dinted flower from being clattered by the teaspoon that lingers at the bottom of the washing up bowl though image

    “Light thinks it travels faster than anything but it is wrong. No matter how fast light travels, it finds the darkness has always got there first” 
  • nutcutletnutcutlet PeterboroughPosts: 26,780

    I can't see how it would harm anything. You could tip it on soil rather than leaves then it definitely wouldn't. I wash up in the sink, no bowl, but then it goes to the septic tank so it's still available to plants in that area

  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 47,950

    I always used a bowl when we had a septic tank nut, simply to protect the brand new sink... image

    Good point about the soil not the leaves - I should have remembered to add that. I rarely put water directly on foliage but I forget that it may not be something everyone does. 

    I like 'teaspoons in the heather'  image

    Last edited: 28 August 2016 15:02:46

    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

  • linzijayne74linzijayne74 Droitwich, WorcestershirePosts: 197

    Hi everyone, I must firstly apologise for the fact I'm only replying now; it's been a mad few days but I don't think the details are applicable to this forum!

    Secondly, a big THANK YOU for all your responses.  On balance I think I'll give it a go.  We use very little liquid in our bowl and unless there was excess oils/salt residue in there, it should be ok.  I shall ask my husband to decant the bowl into our watering cans and use once thoroughly cooled down.

    Thanks again!  :) 

  • If planning to do this on a regular basis I would prob buy a biodegradable dish soap such as ecover.

  • Pete.8Pete.8 Billericay, EssexPosts: 9,683

    For the last 30 yrs my neighbour has emptied her washing up bowl onto 2 hydrangeas in her front garden.

    Both neighbour and the hydrangeas are still doing well.

    Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit.
    Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
Sign In or Register to comment.