Last year I shared a post about how I figured out an easy way to gather our laundry water for use on our garden. If you haven't seen the post, you can read it here. I can tell you, after a year of using the water for our garden, that it works beautifully. If you live in a state with any sort of drought going on, I would highly recommend finding a way to save your laundry water.
That being said, let's talk about laundry soap. When I started my experiment, I didn't really research the whole laundry soap issue. In my ignorance, I figured non-toxic meant I could use it on my garden. I got lucky and my ignorance did not ruin my garden. I was shopping and noticed on a Biokleen liquid soap description that it said "grey water safe," and since the liquid was cheaper than the powder, I bought it. I used it all year without giving the soap another thought.
Fast forward to this spring, when I happened upon a clearance rack full of Seventh Generation liquid laundry detergent. Huge bottles were selling for $4 and so I bought a couple. I just happened to be reading the bottle and couldn't find anything about grey water. I figured it would be fine, but called the number just to be safe. Lo and behold, the customer service rep said, "we don't recommend it, because it does have salts in it." I thanked her, hung up the phone and thought "what? salts?"
So, off to Google I went in search of information about grey water, salts, and laundry soaps. I wanted to pass along the information, just in case I have convinced you to reuse your laundry water. I would be sad if you accidentally killed your plants on my account.
Here is the list of safe laundry detergents for grey water use:
Oasis laundry liquid
Bio Pac Laundry Liquid
Biokleen Laundry Liquid
LifeTree Laundry Liquid
Ecover Laundry Wash (some salt)
Mountain Green Laundry Detergent
Here is a list of ingredients to avoid in your grey water:
boron/borax (toxic to plants)
sodium and ingredients with the word "sodium" in them
chlorine bleach (acceptable alternative: hydrogen peroxide)
water softeners (contain sodium chloride or potassium chloride)
anti-bacterial soaps & cleaners
enzymes (enzymes in biological washing powders break down protein or fat stains on clothes)
artificial colors; FD&C colors
This list came from the Ecology Center. I would highly recommend reading the entire article. They also include lists of detergents that are okay to use occasionally and ones to never use.
Do you recycle your laundry water? Do you have a grey water system? If you do, what is your favorite laundry soap to use?