Should You Really Use Your Old Bath Water On Your Garden?

Gardeners are being urged to reuse water where they can.

As parts of the UK face a hosepipe ban, gardeners can keep their plants thriving during the latest heatwave by reusing their bathwater.

It isn’t a new idea, but it’s something more of us will start considering as this hot summer weather shows no sign of letting up.

Back in 2018, Rachel Fletcher, head of water services at regulator Ofwat, told a committee of MPs to encourage the re-use of bath water.

“The idea of using treated drinking quality water to water our gardens and wash our cars in the 21st century just doesn’t seem appropriate,” she said.

Fletcher also said rain butts and rainwater tanks could be a good idea (for collecting water when it is raining).

With the weather set to hit 35ºC by the end of the week in some parts of the country, it’s certainly a tip worth considering.

Michael Schoenrock / EyeEm via Getty Images

The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) says on its website that most gardens are hardy enough to be watered in moderation with repurposed water – known as grey water – even if it does have soap and suds in it.

“Grey water should be used with care, but can be useful in times of water shortages,” it explains. “Plants can be watered with shower, bath, kitchen and washing machine water – fortunately, soil and potting composts are effective at filtering them out.”

It continues: “There should be no problem with small-scale, short-term use of grey water to tide plants over in summer drought. An exception is on edible crops, due to the risk of contamination from pathogens in the water.”

It does add, however, that long term use should only be considered after seeking expert advice and that it should only really be used in an “emergency”.

If you don’t have a bath (or you’re using showers at home to reduce water use overall), you might want to consider popping a bucket in the basin to collect any excess that can be re-used.