If you live on a homestead or are planning to in the future, you’ve probably heard of greywatergreywater. So what the heck is it?! Grey water is a term used to describe the relatively clean waste water from baths, sinks, washing machines, and other kitchen appliances. Basically, grey water is “used” water that is not toilet water (that’s called “black water”).

If you are moving to a homestead, you need to have a plan for what will happen to your greywater. It has to go somewhere. Many folks use it to irrigate their garden or orchard, but this can be tricky if you use detergents or harsh soaps in your laundry. Too much of that stuff can kill your plants, and you might not have the money or knowledge to create a complicated filtering system. A good way to get around that is to use non-detergent soaps in your cleaning applications. You can either buy it or make your own using non-detergent “soaps” like yucca root and soapnuts, as we do. You should still filter the water at least a little, of course. There can be organic matter in it, such as from washing dishes and it needs to be purified a bit. However, if you are composting your scraps and not allowing large particles of food down the drain, you don’t have to worry too much.

It’s easy enough to divert your greywater to your garden or orchard site. You simply run itwater filter
through a pipe that opens into a drainage area. That’s it! It’s best to use a system that relies on water flow rather than pooling or collection. This cuts down on pathogens and bacteria allowed to grow in it. You don’t want to store greywater unless you’ve got a good purification system set up for cleaning it. If you’re going to use it for a garden of edible veggies, ditto. We personally use vinegar in the laundry rinse water, as a conditioning rinse for our hair in the shower, and we plan on constructing a natural filtration system for it in the drainage area. You could also add hydrogen peroxide to your greywater system to help with purifying it. It can be good for plants, too!

It should go without saying that it isn’t recommended to reuse greywater for drinking or cooking, regardless of whether you’ve cleaned it or not. If you need a clean drinking water solution for your homestead, try harvesting rain water and purifying it with a Berkey water filtration system. No power needed!