The Q&A Archives: Laundry soap & vegetable gardens

Question: Me & my daughter started a veg garden. I have a washing machine on my back porch. After the cycle the laundry water drains thru a pipe that will overflow in the garden rows. Ive heard soap will not do any harm or will not make the vegetables unedible. Then I heard this is a bad idea. I need to know if I should change the direction of the pipe so it does not into the garden.

Answer: I understand your desire to conserve water and in some instances gray water (such as from your laundry) is okay to use in irrigation. But, it is never recommended for vegetables - only for ornamental plants. If you use soap rather than detergent, the soap won't harm ornamentals. Detergent will harm them. So, to be on the safe side, I would drain the pipe away from the vegetable garden.

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