Dehumidifiers work by removing excess humidity from the air inside our homes by freezing it out and collecting it in a residue tank. With time, depending on how damp your area is, the humidity can collect a lot of water that might require you to empty frequently. The good news is, the water is reusable. But the question is, is dehumidifier water good for plants?
It depends on the type of plants you want to water. You cannot use it to water plants that you will be eating. The water collected from the dehumidifier contains contaminants such as fungi, bacteria, and other microorganisms. What’s more, it might contain traces of metal ions that can harm your health and the plant’s growth.
You can do a lot with the dehumidifier water, including watering some plants that do not care about the type of water you use. Continue reading to know the main reason why the water you collect from the dehumidifier isn’t safe for consumable plants and what you can do instead.
What Makes Dehumidifier Water Not Good for Plants
If you own a dehumidifier, you know it can produce a considerable amount of water collected in a residue tank that you’re required to empty regularly or even daily. Some models come with a built-in pump to help pump the water outdoors.
And with water being a precious commodity in today’s world, it’s understandable that you want to find a better use for this water. It could be ideal for reducing your water footprint by using the dehumidifier condensate water for something practical. One idea that comes to most dehumidifier owners is to use the water to water the plants.
But is that a good idea? Well! As I mentioned above, it might not be the best way to use the water, especially if you’re watering edible plants. But why isn’t the water safe yet it’s a condensate? You might ask.
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First things first, how does a dehumidifier work?
Understanding how the dehumidifier works can help you understand why the water isn’t safe for watering all plants.
Most dehumidifiers reduce excess humidity through condensation of the excess moisture. The motor inside the unit rotates a fan that pulls the humid air from the room, filters it of the dust and other small contaminants before exposing it to freezing coils to condense the moisture out.
It works just like how dew forms on foliage in those cold mornings. The water formed from the condensing is called condensate. It’s collected in a residue tank or condensate bucket onboard the dehumidifier but removable for easy emptying. You’re required to empty it periodically. But Where?
Some units come with a pipe that extends away from the unit to help drain the water outdoors. Such models have a pump that can help force the water out. But do you allow it to drip to waste, or do you use it well?
Assuming you decide to use it, is the condensate even safe to use?
Dehumidifier water (condensate) isn’t essentially portable. Why? Why it reduces the humidity from your home, it will collect a considerable amount of dirt inside it. With time, microorganisms such as mold, fungi, bacteria, and more can build up on the condensing coils or inside the condensate bucket.
So, when the water runs on these surfaces, it washes out some of these microorganisms with it. What’s more, the water might also get contaminated with metal leaching from metallic parts inside the dehumidifier. Remember, the manufactures of these units are not obligated to use food-safe materials.
Also, keep in mind that your home air will contain all kinds of undesirable particles such as perfumes and more. They might find a way to the condensate.
And as you can tell, I don’t think you will want to drink such water. You cannot also use it to water edible plants. These microorganisms and metal traces can contaminant the food and cause problems to your health.
And even though there is a chance your dehumidifier condensate might not have these contaminants, I don’t think there’s enough reason to risk it.
Another thing; the risk of contamination can reduce further when you apply the water directly on the soil, where microbes can help decontaminate and avoid using it on foliage. You can even lower the risk further by making sure you rinse the plants before consumption.
Again, I don’t see enough reason to take the chance while you can use the water for watering other plants. Furthermore, the water is essentially demineralized – it won’t help much.
Plants You Can Water With Dehumidifier Condensate
The fact that you can’t use the water to irrigate edible plants doesn’t mean the dehumidifier condensate is so contaminated that it cannot be used for anything else.
In contrast, even though it’s insufficiently pure for consumption, you don’t need to give it special treatment to use it for other purposes.
You can use the condensate to water-thirsty inedible plants that won’t end up on your plate. These include plants such as garden flowers, shrubs, trees, lawns, and more.
Additionally, the demineralized nature of the dehumidifier water makes it ideal for carnivorous plants, which love this type of water. Unlike tap water, the condensate is stripped of minerals necessary for plants growth. That makes it similar to distilled water apart from the contaminants.
That makes it perfect for a plant that doesn’t love mineralized or treated water, such as carnivorous, dracaenas, and spider plants.
What Other Ways Can You Use Dehumidifier Water Uses (SAFELY)
You can do so much more than just water your plants with the dehumidifier condensate. Beyond gardening, you can use the condensate to:
1. Cleaning Floors
You can use the wet dehumidifier water to mop your floors. It would be a perfect task for a steam cleaner that uses tap water. Otherwise, you can even vacuum the floors while rinsing with clean water after cleaning some areas or before changing areas.
The fact that you’re using the condensate doesn’t mean you don’t need to rinse or vacuum any surface after mopping it. Rinsing and vacuuming remove all micro particles left by the mop cloth before cleaning. So you can avoid cross-contamination through their contact points in your home environment.
2. Washing Car
You can use the wet dehumidifier water to clean your car. You can use it full strength or mix it with other cleaners depending on the level of dirtiness.
3. Ironing Clothes
If you live in an area where the only available water is hard, they will be dealing with limestone formation in your iron. Luckily, if you have a dehumidifier in your home, you can use its condensate to refill the iron. The dehumidifier water is soft, meaning it doesn’t have any minerals to worry about.
4. Flushing the toilet
A toilet is one of the vast ways we consume a lot of water in our home. A single flash consumes some gallons of water. If you store your condensate and use it to flush the toilet, you can save yourself some money out of monthly water bills.
Can you drink dehumidifier water?
Yes, but only after decontaminating it by treating or filtering it. You need to run the water through a filtration system available in most home improvement stores. You might also want to add minerals such as sodium and potassium to improve the taste of the condensate.
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