Is Water from Shower, Dish Washing, and Tooth Brushing Sink Safe for Watering Lemon Trees and Backyard Gardens?

Water is a precious resource, and with increasing environmental concerns, many people are looking for ways to conserve it. One such method is reusing water from showers, dishwashing, and tooth brushing for watering plants. But is this water safe for your lemon trees and backyard garden? Let’s delve into this topic and explore the potential risks and benefits.

Understanding Greywater

Water from showers, dishwashing, and sinks is known as greywater. It’s not as clean as fresh water, but it’s not as contaminated as blackwater (sewage). Greywater can contain traces of dirt, food, grease, hair, and certain household cleaning products. While it may not be suitable for human consumption, many plants can tolerate greywater.

Is Greywater Safe for Lemon Trees and Gardens?

Generally, greywater is safe for use in gardens and on certain types of trees, including lemon trees. However, the safety of greywater can depend on what it contains. For instance, if you use harsh chemical cleaners in your shower or sink, the greywater from these sources could harm your plants. Similarly, if you use a toothpaste containing ingredients harmful to plants, the water from your tooth brushing sink might not be suitable for your garden.

Benefits of Using Greywater

  • Water Conservation: Reusing greywater can significantly reduce your household’s fresh water usage. This is particularly beneficial in areas prone to drought or with high water costs.

  • Nutrient Recycling: Greywater can contain nutrients like phosphorus and nitrogen, which can be beneficial to plants. Using greywater for irrigation can return these nutrients to the soil.

Risks and Precautions

  • Chemical Contamination: As mentioned earlier, greywater can contain chemicals from cleaning products or personal care products. These chemicals can potentially harm plants. To mitigate this risk, use plant-friendly products.

  • Health Risks: Greywater can contain bacteria or pathogens. While these are unlikely to affect plants, they could pose a risk if they come into contact with edible parts of the plant or if the greywater aerosolizes. It’s best to use greywater for irrigation only and avoid spraying it directly on plants.


In conclusion, while there are some risks associated with using greywater for irrigation, they can be managed with careful practices. By choosing plant-friendly products and using appropriate irrigation methods, you can safely use greywater to water your lemon trees and backyard garden, conserving water and recycling nutrients in the process.