May 23

Is rainwater safe for laundry?

Share this

Are water tanks safe to supply your washing machine?

rainwater tank for laundry next to washing line

With over a million Australians having some form of rainwater tank on their property - a number that is only growing each day - many people want to make sure that the water they're harvesting won't damage their clothes or appliances.

So is rainwater safe for laundry?

The short answer - and good news - is yes. Not only is rainwater safe to use in your washing machine and for laundry, rainwater tanks might just be the best form of water supply for your washing machine.

Other water sources - such as bore water or mains water - contain minerals like calcium, magnesium, fluoride and chlorine, making them what people refer to as "hard water" and these minerals may build up on your machine and clothes.

Rainwater, on the other hand, is soft water, meaning you might actually require less laundry detergent and fewer rinse cycles to get your washing clean.

Not only that, but your rainwater will likely remove some of these trace elements from your clothes when it washes them. This is why your towels and clothes often feel softer after a shower of rain has passed through on a summer's day, giving the clothes a rinse before they dry again.

What is the pH of rainwater in Australia?

While the number fluctuates, the pH of rainwater in Australia usually sits somewhere around 5.6, making it slightly acidic. This is thanks to the carbon that it absorbs in the atmosphere before falling on plants, homes - and sometimes your washing.

Tap water on the other hand has a pH of around 7, as it has added chemicals to keep it stable and clean while it is being stored and transported to homes. These chemicals can leave buildup on your, taps, appliances and clothes and many people notice it in the shower, laundry or kitchen.

The chemical makeup of your rainwater will differ based on where you are located, as in more urbanised or suburban areas, rain has a tendency to pick up pollutants as it falls, and you may want to have your water tested for contaminants to know if it is safe for use in washing machines or as drinking water.

It is important to remember also that many water filters change the pH of your water, so if you have a water filter you would need to check the pH of your water after it has passed through the filtration system.

Do rainwater tanks save money on laundry?

There are a lot of factors that will determine whether your water tank saves you and your family money, particularly if you are rainwater harvesting purely for your washing machine and toilets, including the price of water supply in your area, the amount you pay for your water tank, and how often you wash your clothes.

Outside of these factors though, you will certainly save money on cleaning products like bleach, vinegar and baking soda as well as soap, detergents and fabric softener, as your washing machine will be less likely to have a spot or stain from the calcium or magnesium in the water.

You will be able to use less detergent with each load - as well as less rinse cycles - which will allow you to lower your water usage and make your tank water go that little bit further.

Moving away from mains water supply?

When Mell and Brandon bought their home in Nilgen, they decided to get away from the mains water game.

They cited their frustration at the tiered system meaning the more you use the more expensive it gets, as they were looking to establish a garden, as well as supply water to their bathrooms and laundry for the whole family.

They decided to offset these increased charges by installing a
150,000 litre rainwater tank, as it would pay for itself over time with the savings in water and connection fees.

“The big size was just perfect for our property’s water needs and also came at a very reasonable price," Mell said of their decision to buy the bigger sized tank.

Learn more about their experience using a rainwater tank to save them money in the long term here.

water tank installed in welshpool WA

Rainwater tanks for your home

There are tens of thousands of new rainwater tanks sold each year across Australia, for new house builds, existing homes and rural families alike.

Pioneer Water Tanks has been manufacturing and supplying
large steel water tanks for Australian homes for more than 30 years, and continues to provide great quality products and advice to this day.

Taking clean water for drinking and laundry one step further, Pioneer offers the exclusive Aqualiner Fresh® antimicrobial water tank liner, designed to lower bacteria and keep your stored water fresher for longer, and your tank requiring less maintenance or cleaning.


For a quote on a Pioneer Water Tank today - with sizes from 12,000L to 500,000L - get in touch with our team today, and we'll direct you to a local installer from your community who will assist you from start to finish.


Call 1800 999 599 or fill out our form online, and we'll be in touch shortly.

Loved this? Spread the word