FACTS & QUESTIONS
Welcome to Water Rhapsody’s constantly updated source of information on Water Tanks, as they pertain to all things related to the harvesting of rain water.
> Electricity Outages & Pumping from Rainwater Tanks
Electricity outages are something that pervades our age. Water Rhapsody include in the Water Rhapsody Grand Opus an override manifold so that if the user has no UPS (uninterrupted Power Supply) water will still be able to be used from a municipal source, if this does not coincide with a water outage. By simply switching valves, one may revert to municipal water.
> Filtering of Water for Water Tank Storage
While all water tanks need to be sealed, to screen out mosquitoes, the lack of proper filtering or closed loop systems will create breeding grounds for mosquito larvae. An example of the screening process is with the Water Rhapsody Rain Runner, which filters harvested rainwater near the gutter, and this water may then enter an underground pipe to reach a remote rainwater tank. If water is used for drinking, it should be filtered first. Filtration (such as reverse osmosis or ultra-filtration) will remove all pathogens. (Reverse osmosis is energy hungry) Other filtration consists of ozone and UV (ultra violet) treatment. Reports of illness associated with rainwater tanks are very infrequent, and public health studies anywhere have not identified a correlation. Rainwater is generally considered fit to drink if it smells, tastes and looks fine.
Certain paints and roofing materials may cause contamination. In particular, lead-based paints should never be used even as a primer onto metal surfaces. Tar-based coatings may affect the taste of the water. Chemically treated timbers and lead flashing should be excluded from roof catchments. Maintenance of rainwater catchment areas includes regular removal of vegetation and debris from rain gutters. So long as a rainwater tank is kept closed to preclude light from entering, no algae will grow, so the only maintenance that needs to be done is perhaps removal of the sediment on the floor of the tank once a year. Another imperative is that rainwater tanks should have a pre-filter under the eaves like the Water Rhapsody Rain Runner to prevent debris from entering the water tank/s and also to prevent any possibility of the feed pipe from a downpipe leading to the water tank (the ring main) from blocking. This pre-filter also prevents the ingress of mosquitos. Apart from rooftops, tanks may also be set up to collect rainwater from concrete patios, driveways and other impervious surfaces. This water though may only be used for irrigation and toilet flushing, as it may be soiled from pedestrian and other animal use.
> Lightning, Lichen, Water Tanks & Rainwater Harvesting
During lightning storms some nitrogen in very small quantities is dissolved into the rain. This quantity is far too small to do any harm.
Lichen is a symbiotic relationship between a fungus and algae, and the one cannot live without the other. This tuft of very precious growth on a tiled roof is one of the best indicators of pollution. So long as lichen grows on a roof the water that falls on that roof is safe for household use. Beware if all the lichen dies. Many people think that this growth is unsightly and should be removed and the roof painted. This is not true and ill advised. Leave the lichen alone.
> Positioning of Rainwater Tanks
One of the biggest problems of rainwater tanks is their obtrusiveness. The size of the tanks has made it impractical to have them standing on a property literally outside a door or window. The perception despite their usefulness is that they are ugly. The beauty of the Water Rhapsody Rain Runner is that water tank/s no longer need to be positioned where they have traditionally been perceived. Now rainwater tanks may be positioned anywhere on a property as long as the height of the Water Rhapsody Rain Runner is higher than the head of the rainwater tank/s. The Water Rhapsody Rain Runner will sieve the rainwater of any debris to get this clean water to flow by gravity in an underground ring main around a building, to flow into rainwater tank/s. There are usually numerous outlets from a roof, so each of the rainwater outlets are teed into the ring main.One of the biggest problems of rainwater tanks is their obtrusiveness. The size of the tanks has made it impractical to have them standing on a property literally outside a door or window. The perception despite their usefulness is that they are ugly.
The beauty of the Water Rhapsody Rain Runner is that water tank/s no longer need to be positioned where they have traditionally been perceived. Now rainwater tanks may be positioned anywhere on a property as long as the height of the Water Rhapsody Rain Runner is higher than the head of the rainwater tank/s. The Water Rhapsody Rain Runner will sieve the rainwater of any debris to get this clean water to flow by gravity in an underground ring main around a building, to flow into rainwater tank/s. There are usually numerous outlets from a roof, so each of the rainwater outlets are teed into the ring main.
> Submerged Ground Rainwater Tanks
Submerged ground rainwater tanks may also be used for retention of storm-water (water from roof and paved areas) for release at a later time, though this is not suitable for use in the home. Conventional rain water ranks are not designed simply to put underground and backfilled with soil. These will collapse and may pop out of the ground if empty.
Special underground tanks are built, but are very expensive otherwise a special room may be built with a concrete floor and roof with brick walls, all of which possibly make underground tanks unviable, but if this is the only source of water this may be necessary.
> Uses of Water Tanks
Stored rain water may be used for watering gardens, agriculture, flushing toilets, for washing machines, both laundry and dishwashing, washing cars, and also for drinking, especially when other water supplies are unavailable, expensive, or of poor quality, and that adequate care is taken that the water is not contaminated or the water is adequately filtered.
> Types of Water Tanks
Many homes use rainwater tanks to harvest water for landscaping/gardening applications rather than as a potable (drinkable) water surrogate. Water tanks may be constructed from materials such as plastic (polyethylene), concrete, plastered brickwork, galvanized steel, as well as fibreglass and stainless steel which are rust and chemical-resistant. By far the most popular and cost effective rainwater ranks are the plastic polyethylene tanks which are available from Water Rhapsody dealers. It is imperative that the tanks are opaque to prevent the exposure of stored water to sunlight, to eliminate the possibility of algal growth.
> Water Outages & Emergency Supply for Water Tanks
Water Rhapsody has implemented a novel approach of an emergency supply if all rain water should be exhausted. This is coupled with an emergency supply when the municipality implement water outages as a means of demand management when demand exceeds supply. This system included in the Water Rhapsody Grand Opus is a means of keeping a days supply at all times when the municipality literally switches off the water. The system is fool proof to ensure that it is impossible your precious stored rainwater cannot flow out into the municipal system.
> Water Pressures when pumping from a Water Tank
Rainwater pumped from rainwater tanks into a house with the Water Rhapsody Grand Opus may not exceed the pressure allowed for hot water cylinders of whatever type one uses. It is for this reason that Water Rhapsody has included within the override box an adjustable pressure reducing valve to suit the needs of any hot water cylinder if one should revert to municipal water supply. Whilst the rain water is pumped into the house one is quite safe from over pressurization as the Water Rhapsody pump is set to the correct pressure too.
> Water Tank sizes
Initial sizes typically ranged in capacity from around 200 to 10,000 litres, or multiples of these. The most popular sizes are 2500 litres and 5000 litres, which are easily handled and are not unsightly.
Smaller tanks, such as the plastic 200-liter rainwater tanks are also used in some cases. These smaller tanks are mainly used in conjunction with a Garden Rhapsody Grey Water Re-using System. With this arrangement water tanks fitted above ground may flow by gravity into the Garden Rhapsody which has a pump incorporated into it and will pump the rain / grey water onto the garden. This can even be done automatically by trickle feeding the water from the higher rain tank/s into the Garden Rhapsody at all times, so that rain water flowing into the rain tank/s will not fill a tank that is full already, no matter how small the tank is. Larger tanks are commonly used where there is no access to a municipal water supply. In this instance at no extra charge, Water Rhapsody will recommend a tank at a house taking into consideration a whole host of factors like: roof type surface (tile or metal), roof area in square metres, number of people drawing water from the rainwater tank, whether or not one has the rest of the Water Rhapsody systems in place to reduce ones consumption, and whether the house is a home, holiday home or a commercial or industrial building. To give an example of this calculation, (this was done by actuaries for Water Rhapsody): a typical metal roof will deliver 1000 litres of water from 100 square metres of roof for every 11 mm of rain. To get the same volume of water from a tiled roof one would need 16 mm of rain.
Each middle class person uses 240 litres of water daily, so the draw from the rain tanks is very substantial. If one should install only two of the Water Rhapsody Systems to say: re-use grey water and the Water Rhapsody Multi-Flush to minimize toilet flushing, one reduces the demand for water to at worst half (of the 240 litres to 120 litres per person per day), but mostly down to as little as to 80 to 100 litres per person per day. Stored Rainwater then goes so much further without a change in lifestyle. The value of this calculation ensures that there is enough storage so that rainwater tanks need never overflow, and that one does not overspend on too many rainwater tanks that never fill.
View our RAINWATER HARVESTING PRODUCTS
Our Rainwater Harvesting FAQ’s explain how rainwater is harvested, delivered by gravity to water tanks, and delivered to your whole household in a sustainable manner.
How do I make a rainwater harvesting system pay for itself (amortize its cost) and why should I not just harvest rainwater for irrigation?
Simply by collecting and using water harvested during the rain season and using this water in your whole household, the tank surges full very rapidly, but you draw water from the system every time you open a tap, flush the loo, or use the washing machine, or any other use of water. It removes the romantic notion of filling a water tank and not knowing what to do with the water, or trying to fill a water tank with harvested rainwater that is full already! We also make sure that you don’t unnecessarily install too many rainwater tanks so that these never have enough roof area and rainfall to fill. I.e. you draw them as fast as they recharge.
Why do you recommend collecting rainwater?
There are as many environmental reasons associated with rainwater harvesting as would befit a super PhD thesis. However one very important reason is to reduce stress on our estuaries from less extraction from rivers during the rain season if everyone should harvest rainwater from their roofs rather than using municipal water. It is also very important to provide the means to become as independent as possible from the municipalities supply, at the same time guarantying a supply in spite of possible and likely water outages in the near future.
What sort of roof should I use to maximize my rainwater harvesting?
The most efficient .roof surface is a metal roof. This means a corrugated iron, flat iron sheet, or IBR profile. You cannot harvest rainwater with a thatched roof. Tiled roofs are not as efficient as metal for collecting rainwater. Here are the average calculations 11 mm of rainfall for metal roofs produce 1000 litres of harvested rainwater for every 100 sq. metres of roof area and 16 mm of rainfall for tiled roofs produce 1000 litres of harvested rainwater for every 100 sq. metres of roof area Whatever your roof, we are able to determine precisely how much storage of rainwater you should need..
What size of water tanks do I need to store and use rainwater for my circumstances?
Our computer models determine the volume of rainwater storage you require depending on the following factors: How many people are there in the house? The more people using water the less rainwater storage you need and vice versa. What is the size of roof area? The greater the area from which you can harvest the greater storage capacity you can viably install. What type of roof do you have? The more efficient the surface the more you can harvest. Is your house a holiday house or do you live in it all year round? Holiday homes will naturally have greater benefit from greater storage. Do you have our other systems to conserve water? You can halve you usage! Our other systems of conserving water will enable you to reduce your use of water (draw down) from 240 litres per person per day to 120 litres per person per day without changing your lifestyle. These systems include the Garden Rhapsody Grey Water System to re-use grey water for irrigation purposes, the Water Rhapsody Multi-Flush to minimize the volume of water required for flushing your toilet and the Water Rhapsody Poolside Tank to re-use swimming pool backwash water. One other product to make rainwater go further is our unique product to re-use grey water for toilet flushing viz the Water Rhapsody Second Movement. Your stored water will then go at least twice as far. What is your rainfall pattern? How much and how often does it rain?
What water tanks sizes are available for the storage of rainwater?
The tank sizes for rainwater storage range from, 1,500Litres, and include 2,500Litres, and 5,000Litres. Though 10,000L water tanks units are available this size is very unwieldy. We decide for you as to the best size.
What do I get in order for me to harvest, store, and pump rainwater to my house?
Water Rhapsody Rain Runners are fixed to each and all of the downpipes, to initially harvest the rainwater. This water is fed into rainwater storage tanks, and we supply a very reliable system to pump this water from the rainwater tanks to the whole household.
Will the municipality charge me for sewerage effluent if I use rainwater?
The municipalities charge for water and sewerage in a block tariff system. The more you use, the higher the tariff. Municipalities charge for sewerage based only on the volume (number of kilolitres) of water that you consume. They calculated some time ago (though very erroneously) that seventy percent of the water that you consume through your water meter is wasted into the sewer as treatable effluent. Whether you have a rain harvesting system or not, (for water consumed), they will only be able to charge you for the amount of water that has run through the water meter, and the same goes for the sewerage charge, at whatever tariff is applicable, based on 70% of that metered water. You will not be charged for the rainwater used at your house. Do not think that you are being unfair: The municipality will still charge you for the effluent portion of you metered water at the rate of 70%, even though you may be re-using grey water for irrigation purposes. As a matter of interest, grey water (water from baths showers hand basins and your laundry) and black water (kitchen toilets and bidets) go in the same pipeline to the sewerage treatment works. If you do recycle grey water from your house to your garden for irrigation purposes, you send as little as 5% instead of 70% of your consumed and metered water from municipal source into the sewer for treatment at the sewerage treatment works.
Water tanks are ugly! How can I conceal a tank away from my house, but still use harvested rainwater.
Water tanks no longer need to stand at a wall of your house under the roof eaves. Our system to harvest rainwater is unique. The unique item is the Water Rhapsody Rain Runner. This device is central to being able to harvest rainwater in a sustainable way. You are able to fill a rainwater tank or multiple rainwater tanks without the need for any pumping at all. You simply make use of gravity to make your rainwater harvesting sustainable. The Water Rhapsody Rain Runner is crucial to this end, and will deliver water to any place around you house or garden so long as the head of the Water Rhapsody Rain Runner is higher than the head of the tank, then harvested rainwater will be delivered in an underground pipe from the house to your tank in a ring main. All pipes from the Water Rhapsody Rain Runners around your house or commercial building are teed into the ring main. The Water Rhapsody Rain Runner therefore makes complete system of harvesting rainwater simple, sustainable and safe. Definition of the Water Rhapsody Rain Runner: The Water Rhapsody Rain Runner is a self cleaning device placed in your downpipe to send harvested rainwater in an underground pipe to water tanks without any chance of the delivery pipe blocking or clogging in any way. The Rain Runner receives the water, sieves out any debris and delivers this water via an underground pipe to your remote water tank.
How do I pressurize the rainwater for household use?
We provide all systems to harvest the rainwater (Water Rhapsody Rain Runners) the underground piping from the gutters to the tanks, the rainwater storage tanks, and a pump to pressurize the water for the supply to the building (Grand Opus pump). The pump starts soon after you turn on a tap, and switches off after all taps are closed. This is all automatic.
What is involved in the installation?
Installing our system to harvest rainwater (Water Rhapsody Rain Runner) into each downpipe. Supply and installation of suitable size and number of rainwater tanks. Pump to deliver the water to the house. If you have need for high peak times of water usage we can install more pumps in parallel to increase the higher volumes required. Electrical supply point. A ball valve to augment supply in the water tanks from municipal mains. This gives you an emergency supply at all times. An override to revert to municipal mains should you rainwater be exhausted.
How much does the system cost?
Water Rhapsody have a set of costs to help you build a price for our rainwater harvesting system, the sum total of which is the Water Rhapsody Grand Opus. The price includes: a. Water Rhapsody Rain Runner: b. Water Tanks: c. Pump including override For a detailed quote please contact a Water Rhapsody dealer
For what purposes can I use the harvested rainwater?
Rainwater can be used for all household purposes, i.e. irrigation, refilling your pool, flushing your toilets, car washing, replacing municipal water etc. At the moment we are not recommending rainwater for potable purposes. If the quality of municipal water deteriorates in any regions in South Africa, our thinking on this issue may very well change.
Can I use my irrigation that I already have?
Yes, rainwater can go into your irrigation system as well as other household uses.
Do the tanks have to be stored underneath my gutters?
No. Our system of harvesting rainwater via the Water Rhapsody Rain Runners ensures that you can hide these rainwater tanks anywhere in your garden.
Do the tanks have to be stored above ground?
Yes. Underground water tanks are available, but are very expensive, and have the potential of popping out of the ground when empty.
Can I add the rainwater to the Water Rhapsody grey water system?
Yes under certain circumstances but under strict controls. The problem is the overflow. Excess rainwater should flow to a river, and excess grey water should overflow to the sewerage treatment works. You may not send grey water to a river, and our sewerage treatment works are so overloaded on the whole, that introducing extra water in the form of rainwater into the sewers is preposterous. Stored rainwater may be trickle fed into a Garden Rhapsody Grey Water Re-using System, and this saves having to purchase an extra pump to lift the rainwater to a spraying head. Let the Garden Rhapsody do this work for you.
How long does the system take to install?
It takes 2-3 days for us to install our rain harvesting system, including the Rain Runners, rain storage tanks, and Grand Opus pump to pressurize this water to your house.
Can rainwater be used instead of and/or in conjunction with Council water?
Yes, we now have several houses that live off the grid, providing total autonomy and independence. However we assure you of two things in this regard. First is to maximize the rainwater storage, and secondly our unique system provides for an emergency municipal supply in the same rainwater tanks, should you run out of rainwater. This system of the emergency supply works automatically to give you this emergency supply at all times in spite of the authorities using water outages as a means of demand management.
How do I switch between my rainwater tank and municipal mains water?
We supply and install a ball valve to introduce water into the water tanks for an emergency supply at all times. This water may be used freely and copiously. If you anticipate that you will not have rain for a long period of time, or you experience a power failure, we provide you with an override to revert to municipal water. This consists of a very user friendly override manifold and you switch off one valve from the pump and switch on the valve from the municipal source. We cater for every possible eventuality.
What about water outages: How can I use the system of rainwater harvesting to save me from being affected by water outages when the municipality turn off water in search of ways to reduce demand?
We provide you with a ball valve inserted in a low position into one tank from the municipal source of water. This will provide you with one days use of water, enough to see you through a period of outage. When the rainwater runs out, the municipal water takes over automatically, providing emergency supply..
What is Grey Water?
Grey water is defined as water from baths, showers, hand basins and clothes washing machines or the laundry.
Any water from any other source ( toilet water, and from kitchen and bidet’s) is considered black water, and must be allowed to proceed to the sewer, and be treated by some sort of sewerage treatment works. A bath uses 120 litres and a shower 80 litres of water. When used, that water is called grey water.
You pay for it, and then it all goes down the drain. Water Rhapsody Grey Water System uses this grey water to immediately irrigate your garden, saving you a substantial portion of your water bill. Grey water is the solution to the problems relating to demand and supply management of water not only in South Africa, but worldwide.
Supply management of water is water supplied by the municipality to your doorstep. The supply of water is severely stressed in South Africa.
In simple terms, we do not have any more places to put any more dams, in any more rivers. Demand management is how you or the municipality manages the use of this precious resource.
Grey water is the biggest contributor to wastage of water and though knowledge of this very useful source is growing generally, this knowledge is still woeful.
At best 33% of water consumed in the home is normally thrown away, and at worst perhaps 50%. It is preposterous that any municipality allows this precious source of good water to be thrown away. Grey water is very useful for two purposes, re-used for toilet flushing or for irrigation purposes.
Rules for the Re-Use of Grey Water:
Thou shalt not store grey water: This is the first law and may not be changed: the problem is that grey water has temperature and food value for anaerobic bacteria to breed and produce methane and hydrogen sulphide, the stuff that smells so badly. Any talk of a “tank” into which grey water is fed and used for any purpose whatsoever is simply not possible. Any “tank” will build up sludge, and this is quite unacceptable.
Do not let grey water pool: sending water to flood irrigate gardens on a regular basis means that a bacteria will clog the soil, preventing penetration of water into the soil, that needs to be overcome by some sort of cultivation.
Grey water must be sprayed under very low pressure that does not exceed 6 metres head at the sprinkler. This will prevent any atomizing of the sprayed water particles. Grey water contains bacteria of many types, and the particles of water must land on the soil, and not float down wind to be breathed in downwind. Spraying means that the likelihood of polluting groundwater is eliminated. Grey water is dirty water and may not be fed into any irrigation system; this includes drip irrigation, because all irrigation systems require clean water and high pressure.
Perhaps the most important aspect to the re-use of grey water for irrigation purposes is what to use for washing powders. The use of any phosphate rich washing powder will poison your soil over the long term. There are phosphate free washing powders on the market, and these must be used.
Grey Water FAQ
Where would the Grey Water System be installed?
The grey water system would be installed underground with the water running into the system at the top of the chamber. Water Rhapsody would therefore install the grey water pump chamber at a point where even the lowest (usually the shower) of the pipes from the bathrooms and laundry can reach. We manifold these pipes to get the grey water to a central location, achieving a fall of between 1 in 40 and 1 in 60.
Can the grey water piping be concealed within the walls?
If you are building a new house, then these pipes are easily concealed. Your plumber simply brings all sources of grey water to the position best suited. As far as a retro-fit is concerned, most of the pipes are hidden underground, though it is sometimes preferable to have some of them exposed.
What are the implications regarding any toxic levels to the plants or animals in your garden using grey water?
Water Rhapsody has installed more than 3000 grey water systems in Cape Town alone. Your Water Rhapsody franchisee will recommend low or phosphate free washing powders to use in your laundry. Avoid the use of fabric softeners, and sodium hypochlorite (JIK). Many of the Water Rhapsody installations date back from 1994, including those of the people who started the Fresh Water Institute at UCT, and Professor Kader and Louise Asmal. They have Fynbos gardens, and these are all green and beautiful. We never take water from dishwashing machines, so the abrasive nature of the dishwashing detergent is not of concern. All dishwashing water must go into the sewer.
Who provides the grey water pipe work?
Water Rhapsody provides all the pipes required from
the point of where the grey water pipes lead out of the building
to the hose and sprinkler in the garden
Our system switches on automatically and pumps the water as soon as about 35 litres are accumulated.
How much does the grey water system cost?
Prices are subject to a quote, and a fully installed system varies between R12,000 and R18,000 depending on the characteristics of the building.
What do I get for my hard earned money?
We supply and fix the manifold of pipes leading from the building, to the filter device. The filter consists of two nylon devices that never need to be replaced. The water runs by gravity to the pump chamber, which houses the pump. The pumped water is driven into a drive pipe, which becomes a dedicated hose or hoses, and this terminates in the sprinkler. An overflow is provided which is connected to the sewer. Materials and travelling are all included in the price.
If I have a Fynbos garden, should i use grey water?
Provided that you adhere to the rules of what to use in your house, grey water is good quality water for Fynbos. However you could combine this with our unique rainwater harvesting and storage system, and use a combination of grey water and stored rainwater through our Grand Opus System.
Can I use my irrigation that I already have with my grey water system?
Water Rhapsody will provide you with a drive pipe 25 mm in diameter piped around the edge of the garden and attach 20 mm garden hoses with hose fittings and Gardena sprinklers. We never pump grey water into POPUPS or Microjets. Even with advanced filtering the system will soon clog, in a matter of weeks or even days. The Garden Rhapsody pump provides enough flow to produce a six meter diameter spay from 2 Gardena sprinklers, spraying simultaneously.
Do I have to move a hose around all the time with my grey water system?
We supply one or multiple hoses and sprinklers, spread around the garden. Our pump is strong enough to pump through 2 Gardena sprinklers simultaneously, covering up to 60 square metres of area of your garden at once. Large gardens would require the hoses to be moved, but there is no need to move the hose and sprinkler more often than once every day.
What size pump does the grey water system use?
Our standard system comes with a small but very robust pump with an open impeller. One size of pump chamber fits all applications, and will even take a small block of flats. For larger blocks of flats, we batch the flats into for example four flats per Grey Water system. If there is a possibility that more grey water will be delivered to the unit with which the small pump can cope, we quote for and supply a pump with a higher delivery and multiple hoses and sprinklers. In this way, there is never any chance of wasting the grey water via the overflow to the sewer.
Can I mix the rain and the grey water?
Water Rhapsody will gladly fix a trickle feed from a rain water tank to introduce this water at a slow rate into the Grey Water system.
Can I store the grey water in a larger tank?
The very first rule of grey water is that you may not store it. We pump it immediately to water your garden. If grey water needed to be stored a water purification system must be added to clean the water.
How long does the grey water system take to install?
Water Rhapsody will install a Grey Water system in one day and this will be confirmed in the quotation.
Does the grey water give off an odour?
Grey water does produce a faint odour while irrigating but, but the odour disappears within seconds after irrigating. Our maintenance instructions which take a few minutes a week will ensure that your grey water system will be odourless. If you leave the pump off for a long period of time, there will be some anaerobic activity. We therefore have a separate lot of instructions if you go on holiday that will leave you Garden Rhapsody ready for use when you return.
We have four bathrooms. Can we use the grey water from all the areas?
Water Rhapsody are specialists in delivering all your grey water from your house to where this water needs to be delivered. If perhaps it is impossible to get all the sources together, there are more tricks up the multiple sleeves of Water Rhapsody and we may even recommend that an additional pump chamber be installed. Never feel that we have not tried our best to harvest all the possible sources of grey water.
Is the grey water bad for the garden? What detergents should I use?
No, provided that our instructions are followed regarding detergent agents, grey water isn’t bad for your garden. Most detergents contain by weight up to one third pure phosphates which will build up in the soil, and be toxic over say ten years of continuous use. So instead, one brand stands out, viz Ecosoft a washing powder (detergent) which is environmentally friendly (and free of phosphates) – making it safe for Fynbos. You may use soda ash, or washing soda that will do just as well to emulsify oils and fats in the laundry.