Recycle Your Washing Machine Gray Water

Rectangular container notice pump inside, as well as washing machine discharge hose with nylon stocking filter to capture debris

By Ted Svendsen

It is now permissible to use gray water on our yards instead of our very limited municipal water supply for ground cover, plants, shrubs, hedges, trees etc. (Effects on delicate plants, lawns and produce unknown).

All you need is a rectangular 30 gallon trashcan (tank) and a low cost 1/3 HP submersible water pump with a floating on/off toggle switch, available locally.

A rectangular tank behind your machine takes less room than a round tank (my plastic tank is 14” by 20”  by 28” deep). It has enough room for the pump’s floating off/on switch to operate. Keep the vertical lift (head) as low as possible for maximum discharge volume, ideally just above the top of your tank (see picture).


Most pumps come with a 1.25″ pipe thread outlet. Bushings from local hardware stores easily adaptsa garden hose or a water sprinkler.



Prevent lint from being pumped into your yard with nylon stockings. Slide one stocking inside the other. Attach the ‘double-ply’ nylons to the machine’s discharge hose with a hose clamp. Is easily replaced and is an effective lint filter for numerous wash cycles. No more floods from a stopped up standpipe or sewer pipe. And should you decide to move your washer, i.e., from the house to the garage, no need to plumb in a sewer line or standpipe.

Here is a simple 1/2″ PVC tubing sprinkler system to carry the gray water to your yard. Wherever you want a sprinkler jet, drill a ¼” hole in the PVC sprinkler tube. Cut a piece of PVC an inch long and remove a ½” wide piece lengthwise (see picture).  Snap the PVC piece onto the PVC tubing. Sliding the piece partially over the jet will restrict or shut off water flow (see picture)  making it an effective valve. Unrestricted, the pump will shoot a stream 2 or 3 feet from the jets nearest the pump, down to a trickle at the last jet.


My own PVC sprinkler tube of 25 jets allows my pump to discharge enough water in 5 minutes to empty my tank and water a 60’ Cape Cod hedge.



Note To view another water saving tip by Ted Svendsen which was featured in the June edition of theClairemont Times visit


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