|Friendly detergents and chemicals|
Chosing ‘friendly’ detergents and cleaners
At the individual household level, it may seem that the quantities being discharged are insignificant. However, the cumulative impacts from whole suburbs can be significant. You can make a difference.
Click here for a List of chemicals. Please note the ones at the bottom of the page are better for the enviroment (and they are all liquids) Be aware that most have either high salt and or high Phosphorous.
Salt is included in washing powders as filler. There is generally less salt in concentrated powders, and even less in liquids. Minimising the salt content of your greywater is important to prevent soil salinity.
Washing detergents also include phosphorus and nitrogen, which are nutrients necessary for plant growth, so greywater can be substituted for fertiliser and provide phosphorus and nitrogen to your garden and lawn.
The typical nutrient loads that are applied to the soil by irrigating with greywater are very similar to those that are applied by following the directions on common fertiliser packages. The reuse of greywater, therefore, has the potential to significantly reduce the need for fertiliser application on gardens and lawns. The application of nutrients through the irrigation process is also preferred, as the nutrients will be applied more gradually and will reduce the risk of nutrients being washed away during wet weather events.
However, too much phosphorus in greywater can be toxic to some plants, most notably native Australian plants. If your garden has native plants you should try to minimise the phosphorus content of your greywater by choosing a laundry detergent that is low in phosphorus.
Fats in greywater generated from soaps and fabric softeners can make soil water-repellent.
Bleaches and Disinfectants
Bleaches (such as hair dyes and nappy wash), disinfectants (including eucalyptus and tea tree oil) and germicides can detrimentally affect the health of soils by killing soil organisms.