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Ask Dr. Laundry

Ask Dr. Laundry

Clorox and Grey Water Systems

By Dr. Laundry February 23, 2010

Q. I have used Clorox bleach all my life, and I was told to put a gallon down our well until we connect it. Can I then use Clorox on my clothes when I wash them if I am now to have a grey water
system and use the water in my garden? This grey water will not be treated, just diverted to the garden.

By the way: I also like your Green Works® products–they are great! Do you make a dryer sheet? I think I can use this new line with the grey water system-correct?

A. I may be a little out of my league with the well question. Usually, pouring the bleach down the well head is recommended after a break or new installation to kill bacteria, etc.

Note the last line about flushing. After that, you should be able to continue using Clorox® Regular-Bleach in your laundry. One caveat: make sure there isn’t iron in the well water as it can react with the bleach and form dark color bodies that may deposit on clothes. If this is true, you probably want to consider a water softener system, as this metal problem will show up in other areas of your house.

Yes, you can use the grey water for your garden. You might want to consider diluting it, since the surfactants/cleaning agents and salts in the detergents might be a little overpowering to start. The usual method would be to have a collection barrel, etc which collects from a number of household run-offs (sinks, showers,etc) which would help in the dilution process. If not, then I would use clear water, blend in a little grey water, and monitor the plants to see if they are adversely affected or could possibly use a higher ratio of grey to clear water. The Clorox® Regular-Bleach breaks down after use to mostly salt and water, with any unused bleach being reacted with material in your drain pipes long before it reaches the garden.

Glad you like our new Green Works® line. Yes, you can use the Green Works® products and include them in your grey water program. Sorry, we aren’t selling a dryer sheet, but the new laundry detergent should be available in your area now or very soon.