My clothes dryer produces a few liters of water a week and rather than throwing it down the drain, I thought it might be put to better use by watering the plants with it.

I think it should almost equate to distilled water, however there might be some residues in it, such as soap or maybe mold.

Is water from a clothes dryer known to be safe for plants? Should I take any precautions with it, such as cleaning out the tank first to ensure there are no risks?

When it comes to storing the extra water that I won't be using directly, are there steps necessary to avoid contamination due to the water standing for long periods of time?

  • 1
    You couldn't possibly be in such a drought to need to recycle this water! Great attitude however but your plants need the best you are able to give them. Throw that crap out...who knows what chemicals have been picked up! I worry more about just plain city tap water!!
    – stormy
    Commented Feb 12, 2017 at 20:12
  • Duplicate of this question gardening.stackexchange.com/questions/24690/… Commented Feb 12, 2017 at 22:39
  • 1
    @GrahamChiu - its not a duplicate - that question refers to water from a dehumidifier, which would, obviously, carry no risk of laundry chemical residues.
    – Bamboo
    Commented Feb 13, 2017 at 11:10

3 Answers 3


It's not advisable to use this water on potted plants because of the risk of contaminants from detergent and fabric conditioners being present, but many people do spread it round the garden for plants in open soil. Its useful in a steam iron because it contains no lime - also useful for lime hating plants, again in the garden, not in pots. Regarding storing it, maybe for 24 hours, but after a week, not a good idea, though you could keep some in a container for a few days as an experiment to see what grows in it and how it smells.

  • I use distilled water in my irons (shoot when I actually ironed things) because of the salts in tap water. Does yours have lime?
    – stormy
    Commented Feb 12, 2017 at 20:14
  • @stormy - I think you're asking me, not sure, yes, our water is hard, plenty of lime, you should see the inside of the kettle...descaler every week
    – Bamboo
    Commented Feb 12, 2017 at 22:29

If you have a condenser dryer, then these machines dry clothes by forcing hot air through them and condensing the moisture laden air. It's not really a distillation process where water is boiled and condensed. If your clothes are clean by the time they're dried one shouldn't really see much in the way of detergents etc redissolving in the water, and some manufacturers do recommend using the water for watering plants. If some detergents do make it into the condensate, then this can improve the watering process since this it can negate the hydrophobic nature of dry mixes on account of the surfactants.

  • You don't have to boil water to distill it; you only have to evaporate it. The issue would be more what's soaked in to any lint that makes it into the water.
    – Chris H
    Commented Feb 17, 2017 at 13:33
  • You don't have a lint filter in yours? Commented Feb 17, 2017 at 18:49
  • yes, but it's not perfect. In particular taking the filter out to clean it tends to drop lint that works its way further into the machine. It's an electric model (as all domestic ones are here) but was the subject of a scandal because of a fire risk caused by lint getting where it shouldn't, and had to be modified.
    – Chris H
    Commented Feb 17, 2017 at 19:50
  • That said, the amount that reaches the reservoir is vanishingly small; it tends to stick to the condensor.
    – Chris H
    Commented Feb 17, 2017 at 19:51
  • Yeah, so it's really a waste to just tip it. I'm guessing air plants would do well with it. Commented Feb 17, 2017 at 20:40

Instead of watering plants, why not empty it into the washing machine just before doing a load of washing? I do this because it's very convenient given the shape of the output tank and the layout of our utility room.

We tend to only use the tumble dryer in winter, when there's no shortage of rain and we're heating the house anyway. I would in principle use it for the houseplants but we also have a dehumidifier which produces more than enough.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.