Can You Connect a Garden Hose to a Washing Machine?

There are two fundamental reasons to connect a garden hose to a washing machine

  1.  You are lacking a designated water source for your washing machine and need to fill it from a nearby sink or hose tap.
  2.  You are a trying to drain your washing machine to somewhere other a nearby sink or sewer outlet. 

For either project, you are going to run into some problems using a garden hose as a long term solution.

That’s because a garden hose is simply not designed to plumb water into or out of a washing machine.  The reason for that ultimately comes down to water pressure.  

On the inlet side, water pressure builds up weakening the garden hose.  On the drainage side, water pressure builds up, causing damage to the washing machine pump.   We’ll get into this a bit more later. 

In this article you’ll learn more about the pitfalls of using a garden hose, what to do if a garden hose is your only option, as well as some alternative, more sustainable, solutions.

Attaching a Garden Hose to The Machine’s Intake Valve

Lets say you’ve followed our instructions on how to connect a garden hose under your sink and you’d like to use that hose to fill up your washing machine.

You can do that, but the problem arises when your washer finally fills with water.  The washing machine’s intake valve has a sensor that detects when the machine is full.

The sensor will then close the machines intake valve preventing any more water from entering the machine.   But the water is still flowing from under your sink into the garden hose.

Now, this water pressure isn’t going to build up and burst your hose immediately.  Most homes have regulators in place to make sure the psi entering your plumbing system doesn’t go much higher than 75 psi.  

However, leaving a garden hose full of water sitting at 75 psi is going to damage it over time.   So if you often forget to shut off the water after your washing machine fills, eventually it will start leaking.

Undetected leaks in a home can cause major problems. 

A Solution:  Set a Timer

One solution to this is to keep track of how long it takes for your washing machine to fill with water.   You can then set a timer when your’e filling your washing machine with water so you know when to shut off the water supply running through your garden hose.

Even if you decide to go this route, I’d suggest choosing a water hose that can withstand constant pressure over a standard garden hose. 

A More Sustainable Alternative

Here’s a good video that can help you with this project and well as a list of materials needed below.  Note that a garden hose is not used:


 Two Dishwasher Inlet hoses (includes 3/4″ adapters)

Two 3/8″ compression T-valves

Two 3/4″ Male to Male coupling

– One Washing Machine Drain Hose

You’ll also, of course, need a washing machine.  That you’ll need to choose based on the size of the space you’re looking to and budget.

And be sure to look over the parts & hose sizes that come with the washing machine you purchase.   Some of the parts listed above may already be included.

Most washing machine hoses are 3/4″, but you may need different sized couplings if those hoses are a different size.

Connect a Garden Hose to a Washing Machine Drain

Most washing machines drain one of two ways: 1)  To a designated port connected to their sewer or septic system.  2) Into a nearby sink.   

You see the latter with many washing machines that are in a garage with a utility sink nearby. 

Perhaps your kitchen sink is the only sink in your home and you don’t want to drain your washing machine into it.  Understandable!

Or for whatever reason, you can’t drain your washing machine to a nearby sink.

You might be tempted to connect a garden hose to the washing machine’s drain and run that to the nearest drain or outside somewhere.

The problem with this, again, is with water pressure.   

Most washing machines drain at a rate that requires a 1″ to 1-1/4″ hose.  That’s the size that the pump in the machine is designed to pump water through.

If you connect a 3/4″ garden hose to a washing machine that is designed to pump water through a larger hose, pressure will build up, overworking the washing machine pump over time and cause it to fail. 

Connecting a Garden Hose to a Washer for Grey-water Recycling

A common reason to connect a garden hose to your washing machine drain is to re-use that water in your garden.

In your search for a way to do this, you might have come across solutions such as this one.

This solution will eventually run into the problem in the previous section, causing a strain on your washing machine’s pump. 

One way around this, which is a bit trickier, is to plug the sink your washing machine drains into.  Once its full, use a garden hose to siphon the water out of the tub and into your garden.  

You can also hook a water hose with a larger diameter directly to your washing machine to avoid pump burnout.   Here’s one way to do that:

An more thorough (and complicated) way of using a garden hose to drain recycled washer water can be found here.   

Just keep in mind that your washing machine needs to sit above your garden in order to create the siphon needed for this to work. 

This method may require more work, but it will allow you to control whether you recycle your machine’s water or not.

If you need to use some heavy duty detergent to get rid of some stains in your laundry, you’ll likely need to use a detergent that contains chemicals you don’t want going to your garden.  

A Useful Video on Connection a Washing Machine to a Garden Hose

Can You Water Plants With Soapy Water?

Feeding your plants soapy water might not sound right to most readers.   Can you use recycled soapy water from your washer in your garden?

That depends on the soap.   While us humans don’t like the taste of any type of soap, plants are a bit more discerning.

You can water your plants with soapy grey-water from your washer, but you should avoid using soaps with chemicals in them such as chlorine, bleach, borax and even sodium.  

True, these chemicals are tough on stains, but they’re also tough on household vegetation.

Here’s one brand we’ve found that would work well if you’re planning to recycle it into your garden:

Any further thoughts on connecting a garden hose to a washing machine?   Feel free to leave them in the comments below. 

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