5 Smart Ways to Use Gray Water In Your Garden

Gray water often goes to waste, when it can easily and safely be used to water your garden.

Gray water, or “waste” water that is fairly clean, is a great resource for the garden – especially in arid areas, where water conservation is a must. Recycling your waste water conserves water, gives your garden plants the water they need, and saves you money – all at the same time.

However, installing a full-blown gray water system can be difficult and expensive – and in some areas, prohibited by law.

Here are some simple ways that you can start recycling your water for your garden using nothing fancier than a bucket!

1. Use A Shower Bucket

Most of us start our showers by letting gallons of perfectly good water rain down the drain while it warms up. Solution: stick a bucket under the faucet and let it fill while the water gets hot.


2. Use Your Leaky Faucet

While you’re continuing to put off fixing that perpetually dripping faucet, you might as well put the water to use by collecting it throughout the day. Even with a slow leak you can probably collect at least a couple of gallons per day.


3. The Old Sink-Bucket Trick

Probably the most efficient way to get gray water is from your kitchen sink. Pay attention the next time you do dishes and you’ll notice the majority of the water you use you’re not actually using at all. Saving all that is as simple as unscrewing your sink’s drainpipe and sticking a bucket underneath.


4. Dump Your Dishes

If all that sounds like a bit too much to think about, leave your sink connected and keep the bucket handy. If you’re like most people, there’s probably at least one dish or mug in your sink at any given time – keep them under the faucet and let them collect the runoff from washing hands, doing dishes, etc. Dump the water into the bucket as you go and use it in your garden the next morning, then start over the next day.

5. Nature’s Wastewater

Your roof doesn’t need rainwater, but your plants do. If you’re in a rain-heavy climate, you might need to pick up a barrel for this. If you live in the desert, a bucket will probably suffice.

Generally the best place to set up is beneath a downspout from your gutter, which might require a bit of creative hacking and rerouting to set up. Otherwise you can just disconnect the downspout altogether and aim the barrel underneath it then hope for the best.


Particularly for the dishwater ideas, be sure you’re not keeping anything toxic or non-biodegradable in your usable gray water.

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Rose S.

An avid gardener since childhood, I love sharing my passion for gardening with others! I have gardened in a number of different climates and settings, from large fenced garden plots, to tiny patio and container gardens, and I firmly believe that everyone can learn to grow at least some of their own food - no matter where you live. Growing your own food can help you take control of your own health and food supply, and there has never been a better time to get started!

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