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washing clothes in bath water: great or gross?

 
Rachell Koenig
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I"ve been thinking about using bath water in the washing machine.. what does everyone else think?
 
Judith Browning
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For a load of really soiled clothes that you would run through twice anyway...maybe (not gross). I guess if it was hot shower water it would be a shame to waste the warm water. I remember my mom had her laundry set up somehow so the last rinse became the wash for the next load.
I suppose you might just want to try it unless it's a major plumbing project. We used to take laundry, dogs, kids and us, all to the river for a wash so I'm probably the wrong one to answer.
What bath soap/laundry soap? All summer we take cold showers...no soap/shampoo mostly just a rinse off...I would use that to wash clothes in.
 
Kari Gunnlaugsson
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Not as gross as bathing in clothes washing water have you seen that stuff?

I like the european style 'twin tub' washers...there is at least onen model available in north america..you control the cycles manually and can bucket into the machine or drain out to a bucket easily. I use 'rinse cycle' water for washing all the time. Now that you mention it, when I get a tub set up out here I might very well use that for the clothes wash, they are going to get a rinse anyway. And it's not as if you're sterilizing them. I pump water by hand so have more motivation for conservation.

(one other nice thing about the twin tubs is the really fast centrifuge spin cycle that makes line drying fast...and you can save a lot of electricity by doing long soaks without agitation)

Don't tell your mom!
 
Rick Roman
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Not gross at all. This is coming from someone who washes his dishes while taking a shower.
 
Judith Browning
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Really, Rick? I'm having problems with that image!
This has reminded me that we did just that (not dishes in the shower) in a big galvinized bath...cleanest kid first and then stomped some laundry last...rinsing was the hard part pulling well water up in a well bucket...not turn of the century but in the seventies old hippie days. I hadn't thought of that in a long time.
 
Rick Roman
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Hi Judith, Yes, only on Permies would I admit that. LOL! I'm surprised that freaks ya out! I figured I would have gotten an apple for such an admission and eco friendly sacrifice. LOL! Let me explain.... I'm vegetarian so cleaning dishes is easy, no animal fat/grease. My shower is super big, no doors, high ceiling, skylights and it has two water saving shower heads, plenty of room to place dishes to wash and rinse. I enjoy a long hot shower and although I do have a grey water system , I still feel guilty about wasting heated water, so I wash dishes to compensate. I should mention I'm single and when I have quests, which is rare, all kitchen implements are rewashed. LOL!!!
 
Judith Browning
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Rick Romanelli wrote:Hi Judith, Yes, only on Permies would I admit that. LOL! I'm surprised that freaks ya out! I figured I would have gotten an apple for such an admission and eco friendly sacrifice. LOL! Let me explain.... I'm vegetarian so cleaning dishes is easy, no animal fat/grease. My shower is super big, no doors, high ceiling, skylights and it has two water saving shower heads, plenty of room to place dishes to wash and rinse. I enjoy a long hot shower and although I do have a grey water system , I still feel guilty about wasting heated water, so I wash dishes to compensate. I should mention I'm single and when I have quests, which is rare, all kitchen implements are rewashed. LOL!!!


Thanks, Rick, big, roomy shower explains it. I was trying to imagine it in our tiny one while holding dishes, pots and pans.........!

 
Rachell Koenig
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Thanks for all the comments! I kind of figured that people probably did this when water supply was short.. back when you had to pump it out and such. I'm still curious as to how more people feel about this though. I mentioned it to my mother and sister, both were so very disgusted, so I need new feed back. We all bath daily, there's no real need for much soap at all. Of coarse I use laundry soap with the wash. The water isn't even dingy looking when I get out. I try to shower (to use less water) more than bathe, but sometimes I just want to soak and relax. Then I feel bad about all that wasted water. I was hoping that this might be the solution. It would be an easy hook up.
 
Judith Browning
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What suddenly hit me is that there is nothing in the bath water that wouldn't already be in or on the clothes...so there is no grossness to the idea at all. I imagine even any soaps and shampoos in the bath wouldn't matter either. This has me thinking about our upstairs tub almost directly over the washing machine. We don't have hot water to the machine but have an on demand gas water heater to the tub. I'm starting to like the idea.
 
Rick Roman
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This morning I added a 7 gal. bucket among my dirty dishes to collect water from my shower to use in the clothes washer. LOL! Thanks for the tip Rachell
 
Rachell Koenig
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LOL Thanks guys!
 
Julia Winter
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Judith, you have nailed it--there's nothing in that water that wouldn't normally be in/on a load of laundry. Nothing gross there! Now I'm wondering how I could do that sort of thing.

Although I do want to put in a word for less than daily bathing, or at least avoiding daily hair washing. Washing your hair every day encourages oil production from your scalp. There's more about it in this thread.
 
Rachell Koenig
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Julia Winter wrote:Judith, you have nailed it--there's nothing in that water that wouldn't normally be in/on a load of laundry. Nothing gross there! Now I'm wondering how I could do that sort of thing.

Although I do want to put in a word for less than daily bathing, or at least avoiding daily hair washing. Washing your hair every day encourages oil production from your scalp. There's more about it in this thread.


Yes I understand that everything doesn't need washed everyday. I'm washing arm pits and such for most bathing. My oldest daughter doesn't have to wash her hair but once every 2 months or so. And even when I wash it then, its just cause there is bound to be something in it cause she's still a kid, and her hair is very long (ice cream...). Thanks for the link, I'll have a look at that. No one likes dry skin, and I know soap plays a big role in causing it. Which is why I avoid washing everything. Lotions seem to be all poison. So I'm trying to make my own soap and lotions.
 
John Polk
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Back in the day, when every farm had one of those old Maytags (with clothes wringer), the common practice was to wash the "Sunday-go-to-meeting" clothes first. The wash water from that went into a tub, and became the pre-soak water for the work clothes.

Water is a precious commodity (that many take for granted). There is a finite quantity of it on Earth, and if "we" keep wasting it the way we are doing it now, there will come a day when water becomes the primary cause of wars. I have lived through one war fought for water...there will be more.

 
Morgan Morrigan
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we always said to wash feet, ears, and furry bits with soap, to drain, then put in plug, and all the rest is workable.

foot oil on boys is strong stuff, and behind ear oil ducts and pits clog easy. furry parts grow bacteria, and live on oils from other bits. so soap there.

i always recommend this for kids baths too. parents tend to put em in soapy water to soak, and really seems to dry out their tender skin.

lather, rinse, and play.
'

When we backpack, we say soap for hands and feet, but not for dishes. too easy to get bad rinse, and get soap poisoning runs. We don't have streams out here.....


 
Rachell Koenig
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Good information!
 
Angelika Maier
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If you want to safe water get a hand held shower. With the wall mounted you need double the water. I don't think it is gross to use this water to wash, however make sure that you do the plumbing right, with these modern washing machines you never know...
BTW I never saw a twin tub washing machine in Europe they all have usual front loaders.
 
Rachell Koenig
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I'm actually using a bucket, funnel, and garden hose to get the used bath water into the washing machine.
 
Devon Olsen
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i thought i should contribute soem experience to this thread, my aunts boyfriend has some messed up plumbing in his house and when the washing machine drains, it backs up into the tub, well that bathroom has got quite the strange smell sometimes as a result - so this is not always a good idea to wash your clothes in your bath water because you might get some strange smells on you or your clothes

i dont think it stinks all the time though so obviously youll be able to wash the right clothes at your discretion and wash other clothes elsewhere and perhaps then youd avoid most of the smell
 
Rachell Koenig
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That's a bit backwards. I'm talking about using the water from a large bath, that I just soaked in, to wash my clothes instead of sending it down the drain.
I'm NOT taking water from a dirty wash load and putting it in the tub for a bath.
 
Rachell Koenig
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I"m so sorry Devon! I totally misunderstood you! I wasn't clear on WHERE I'm washing my clothes. I would still be washing them in the washing machine.. not the bath tub.
Yes I think your right.. that might start to smell if I was to wash them in the tub
 
Devon Olsen
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in which case i think discretion would still come in to play (as it always does - so perhaps my comments at this point are kinda pointing out things that are obvious) because your clothes MIGHT start to smell of BO after a few weeks on this regimen and you certainly wouldnt want to use water after washing off excrement or other nasties
if nothing else perhaps its a good way to reduce how often you need your washer and to make it last much longer than it might previously

not saying its a terrible idea, but want to share that i think its certainly likely that your clothes may start to smell "off" after a while and you may want to watch for that



EDIT: you ninja'd me:p youre post was posted while i was typing this one out, i didnt see it until now, i think its a decent idea still, moving the water from one location will give you the oppurtunity to check it for nasties and possibly filter it before washing with it, so perhaps itd work just fine that way
 
Rachell Koenig
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Good thinking, I think you have a very good point!
 
Paul Cereghino
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I lived in Tokyo for little over a year. Our only source of hot water was the two burner stove, and the o-furo (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Furo). It is an insulated box, with a lid, and a fuel burning thermo-siphon off to the side. The "bathroom" was tiled with a drain. and separate from the toilet. To wash, you'd heat up the furo, sit on a stool, and use a scoop to wet yourself. Scrub. scrub. scrub. Then scoop to rinse. If you wanted to you'd then soak in the hot clean water, leaving in clean enough for the next person. Bathing was an evening activity. To wash clothes, you'd fill a bucket of the old furo water (still very clean) and pour it into the top of the washing machine (which no longer needed a water line, just a drain). Overall, a very efficient setup with a minimum of plumbing. I'd do it now if I already didn't have a western bathroom.
 
Eric Thompson
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Our house in Japan is the same as Paul says. But we have a handy pump that takes water from the tub and shuts off when it fills the machine.
One important note here is that this water only does the wash cycle (where you add soap), and the rinse cycle is still clean water from regular plumbing..
 
Marcus Hoff
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I've been thinking about setting up a system like that. Does anyone have a working one, who could share the design?
The thing I've been thinking about, is that you might need to filter the water from the shower or you might get hairballs in your machine?
 
Julia Franke
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I think it really depends on how dirty you are when you take your bath. That seems like there would be a lot of the same grit in the bath water that you would be trying to get out of your clothes. So my first thought is "Don't do it!" but my second thought is "Give it a try!" and it seems as though most people have, and it's fine.

I do like the idea of using clean water for your rinse cycle, though.

Julia
 
Marcus Hoff
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Julia, how do you propose to set up a system that uses to different water supplies?
 
Julia Franke
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Marcus,

I wasn't envisioning anything elaborate, simply put your clothes in the washing machine and add your grey water manually. Whatever system you have set up. When you turn the washing machine on, turn the dial to the point in the cycle where the water is already full ( and I think some might have a sensor for this, I'm not sure). So you laundry would be agitated and go through the rest of the cycle as normal, sourcing the rinse water from a fresh source, as it normally would.

What do you think?

 
Marcus Hoff
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Maybe I'm just overengineering this, but what I had in mind was something, where I connect the drain for the bathwater to an organic filter and then pump it up into a small container. Then I would have (lightly) pressured water and connect this directly to the washing machine. So if I want to use clean water for the rinse cycle I would have to switch the input for the machine.
 
S Carreg
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I dont think it's gross as such, I just don't feel it's necessary as we already conserve water with the way we wash. We don't have a shower, just a bath. I bathe 1-2 times per week, usually just running 3-4 inches of water, the bare minimum to scrub and rinse the bits that really need it - maybe a bit more water when I wash my hair (maybe once a week). My husband bathes a little more often as he needs to be a bit more 'presentable' for work, my young children bathe about once per week but they have more water as they like to play. Consequently, the water is pretty grubby after a bath - when we bathed more often we'd share it (cleanest person in first, then next person adds just a little more water to the same bath) but now with less water and less frequent washing the water is pretty cloudy so we don't share. For clothes we only wash them once they're pretty dirty/smelly (a family of four, two kids under 7, we do a lot of outside work, a lot of exercise, and an awful lot of playing in mud) and I probably do an average of 3 loads per week. When clothes are really caked with mud I will hang them up outside in the rain for a few days (we get a lot of rain!) to 'pre-rinse'. I guess actually I could 'wash' some clothes that way, maybe every other load, hmmm something to think about.
 
Randy Gibson
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You got me thinking as well. Our water heater is very far from our bath tub, and a lot of water gets wasted waiting for the water to heat up for a shower.

I have a 5 gallon bucket to collect the water, and use it to flush the toilet when the bucket fills up. I am now going to use this water to fill up the washing

machine.
 
Roberto pokachinni
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I personally think there's nothing wrong with washing clothes in bath water (at least the pre-rinse /soak function). I was considering have a bathtub upstairs with a wash machine downstairs just for this purpose. I really like the idea of having a clean water rinse that comes from a fresh source. It was one step in the process that I had been puzzling over and it was nice to have it solved so simply by people here.
 
mary jayne richmond
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i used to bath my babies in the dishes rinse water, so washing clothes in bath water is right up my alley
 
Dale Hodgins
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I often toss heavily soiled work clothes into the tub after a bath. After a soak, I stomp and drain. The partially cleaned clothes go into the washing machine. The tub water gets very dirty, so it definitely works. I usually do this once I have 20 or more dirty socks.
.......
At the farm, I have a small tree with many branches lopped off to 3 inches. Dirty clothes are hung and left, sometimes for weeks. Rain wash and air dry. I give them a quick check for spiders and a shake, then switch clothing right there as needed. Stinky work shirts smell of cedar. It's a cedar tree.
 
Regan Dixon
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Bah, the computer ate my first reply.

When I didn't have a washing machine, I'd soak large things like sheets in the still-warm bath water, or pre-soak extra dirty things before washing in clean water, later. I didn't re-plumb anything, I just brought the laundry to the tub. (Bending over a bathtub to do laundry is killer on the back, so I'd wash small, un-filthy things in a basin in the kitchen sink.) Really, there's nothing in the bath water that wasn't already on the clothes, except perhaps soap, which we were meaning to use more of in order to do laundry anyhow, right?
 
Dale Hodgins
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To save your back, children can be put in the tub to tread on the clothing. They'll have clean feet.

This is where outdoor tubs really shine. A person standing in the tub, could hang the clothes directly onto a line, with no need to wring them dry first.

We used to swim in our clothes, and hang them on a fence to dry. Very efficient.
 
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