PSA: Your Garden Hose Can’t Be Trusted


This was supposed to be a triumphant article sharing with you the joy of rescuing a nearly white celery destined for the trash and helping it become a beautiful thriving plant again. That actually did happen – and it was glorious – and then it was ruined by a garden hose.

There are so many products that are filled with unhealthy chemicals now (or perhaps there have been for a long time), but thanks to the California Prop 65 law that requires warnings on products that contain set amounts of particularly hazardous chemicals, we now know about it more. I still always find it surprising when I realize – oh no, my yoga mat is trying to kill me! And apparently so is my garden hose!

I got lucky. I got reallllllllllly lucky. And now I want to make sure you’re lucky too.

After rescuing the dying celery, I decided to start a whole organic garden. It’s spring! And I would love to just be able to pull off a few leaves or veggies here or there as needed rather than ending up with some celery I have to throw away because I didn’t eat it all fast enough. So I went out and bought a bunch of terra cotta pots (made in Italy), started sprouting every veggie I could from the fridge and picked up some organic seeds from a local health food store.

Everything was going so well! I planted lots of seeds in beautiful organic gardening soil from Walmart ($7) that smelled incredible – seriously incredible – I thought about just putting a pot of dirt on my desk to sniff every once in a while it was that good.

Moved the first 5 seed planters outside and once the fridge vegetables had roots, planted those in another 5 planters. But they needed water! Got a pretty garden hose from Walmart with an 8-stream sprayer. The nice guy explained all about how I had to put this little black rubber ring inside the faucet-side of the hose when attaching it, which I did. Got it all set up on the spicket outside and tested out all the sprayer settings to find the best one for the plants. And voila – one beautiful watered garden on it’s way! But then I had to turn off the hose water…

There was water misting and leaking out around the hose attachment area on the faucet. No matter which way I turned the knob, it wouldn’t stop misting and leaking. Finally I decided just to get soaked and get it over with. Turned out the spicket was off, it was just the built up water pressure in the hose that was causing it to leak out. So I put the hose back on. It didn’t seem as secure but I was soggy and tired and figured I’d just mess around with it next time.

I picked up the trash to bring into the house – the cardboard label from the hose and the plastic ziptie things that held the hose onto the cardboard that I had cut off. It’s a decent walk from the spicket to the indoor trashcan – at least a minute – so along the way I started wondering if there were special instructions on the label that could help with the loose attachment problem.

I felt stupid reading the label. How hard is it really to operate a garden hose? But I did. I’m so glad I did. This is what it says:

Can you believe that!?! Who the hell doesn’t drink from a garden hose!?! Or washes their hands after using one!!!

That part of the label was covered by the hose itself when I bought it, so I had no way of knowing it was there until after cutting it open. I shudder to think of all the people who simply threw away the cardboard.

I can’t believe I now have to go search online for a healthy garden hose. This is just getting to be too much. Think of the water supply!! The hose is so chemical-ridden that you have to wash your hands after touching it, but someone thought ‘by all means, let’s sell it to run water through that will be going into the ground/sewer and eventually the water supply.’ Multiple someones actually – you know there wasn’t just the one person writing the label who knew about this nonsense.

So, just like that my entire garden was ruined. $90 worth of planters. $12 worth of organic seeds. $11 worth of fridge veggies (not including the rescue celery). $7 worth of gardening soil. 10 days of waiting for the roots/seeds to sprout. All wiped out by one yucky garden hose.

I took it all back. Walked right into Walmart with my 10 planters full of dirt and plants and demanded my money back. Thankfully Walmart is good about such things. This is the only way they have to learn about problems like this and take action. That garden hose was even made in the USA!! Can you imagine what the waste from their factory must be doing to the local area – yikes!

Choosing a New Hose

If you’re like me and now need a new (healthy) garden hose, here’s some good things to know:

  1. There are hose’s that are labeled “drinking water safe.” Obviously, these are more along the lines of hoses that you should use.
  2. “Drinking water safe” garden hoses also may list various chemicals that they are free of, such as BPA, pthalates, lead and cadmium.
  3. Many of the “drinking water safe” hoses are either made of polyurethane or natural rubber (latex).

Here are some of the garden hoses that I am considering.

  • Dorathye Garden Hose from Amazon (natural rubber)
  • TastePURE Premium Drinking Water Hose from Home Depot
  • Premium Drinking Water Safe Garden Hose from EarthEasy
  • I really like the Health-e-Hose, which is supposedly made of “green surgical grade rubber” and specifically can be used for organic gardening according to an eBay listing, however I am having trouble finding the main website for the product or any major website that sells it.

My ideal would be to find a natural rubber hose that specifically lists it is safe for organic gardening and/or is chemical-free. If you find one like that, please let me know in the comments below!

What about our farmers? What hose do they use for our food?

Large commercial farms will most often be using irrigation, not garden hoses. That irrigation may use pipes, such as PVC pipes, or irrigation hoses, or a variety of other methods that may not even require any hardware. As far as PVC pipes go, many of the home water pipes are made of PVC, so you are already drinking that water. One easy way to ensure the materials in the irrigation hoses are safe is to buy organic food, which have strict requirements about what chemicals can be used on or near the food and soil.

Swimming Pools!

If you have a swimming pool or even just a kiddie pool, make sure your hose is safe for filling it. If you’re unsure, might as well invest in a new one to be on the safe side.

Please share this post to pass on the warning to others!

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