The Effects of Detergent on Plant Growth

A number of synthetic detergents and soaps contain volatile chemicals and substances that can have a negative effect on the normal growth of plants. According to some scientific researches, low concentration of some detergents may be beneficial for plant growth. It is best, however, not to risk the health of the plant.


Detergents containing sodium, chlorine bleach and boron may have negative effects while potassium, ammonia and phosphate show good effects on plant growth, according to

Negative Effects

Detergents containing harmful ingredients cause damage to the soil structure by raising the alkalinity of soil. Consequently, the damaged soil deteriorates healthy plants. Some bleaching detergents kill the good bacteria in the soil.

Positive Effects

According to, upon interaction of plants with low concentration of a detergent, several plants show signs of better growth and development.


In some situations, such as in the case of a drought, people may use recycled laundry water for irrigation. Therefore, if detergent-plant interaction becomes inevitable, you may consider switching to potassium-based detergents.


Ordinarily, you should avoid using detergent water for watering plants as the toxic chemicals can cause the plants to die.

Joanne Cichetti

Joanne Cichetti has written articles and Web content professionally since 2009, focusing primarily on health and lifestyle. In order to further pursue her writing career professionally, Cichetti inducted herself in the Long Ridge Writers Group, and she looks forward to having a novel published under their guidance.