So, you have a septic tank but you’re not sure what is safe to send down the drain and what isn’t. Septic tanks are certainly more finicky than a regular sewer system, and using the wrong products could result in an expensive, messy disaster. No worries! Below you will find the lowdown on keeping your septic system happy.
Why does it matter? Why should we care what goes into your septic tank?
It all starts with bacteria – those little beneficial bugs that feast on your septic tank contents (eww) and turn it into liquid. The bacteria also prevent your septic tank contents from bulking up too fast and causing clogs to happen – which is when things get really ugly for you.
So what is your quest? To keep the little bugs in your septic tank alive! Using hard chemicals or antibacterial products will kill the bacteria, causing septic tank clogs and breakdowns. It’s kind of similar to keeping your pet alive – creating the right environment and the proper nutrition to keep them thriving. You do the same for those little bugs in your tank! Read on to see what is safe for them and what isn’t.
Household Products To Avoid
Be very cautious about household products. If you didn’t grow up using a septic tank system, it’s very likely you have formed some habits over the years that could be detrimental to your septic system’s health:
- Water Softeners
- Gasoline, any automotive liquids, paint thinner, solvents, weed, and insect killers
- Oils: motor oil, bath oil, cooking oil, grease, furniture polish
- Cat litter – a definite clogging hazard, since it is made to clump together
- Toilet paper, facial tissue, and paper towels – these products can really clog your system up. Be sure that they are septic safe.
- Dryer sheets – be sure these don’t end up down a drain as they are very difficult to break down
Cleaning Products To Avoid
- Antibacterial products
- Disinfectants and Bleach – chlorine bleach and disinfectants will, no doubt, kill off the good bacteria in your septic system. If you must use bleach, use oxidized bleach.
- Oven and drain cleaners – these contain lye and acids that will kill the bacteria in your tank and cause corrosion. If you must use a drain cleaner, use a liquid one that is diluted with water. Use sparingly, even if the label says that it is septic system safe.
- Methylisothiazolinone – this ingredient will kill off the good bacteria in your septic system. It is also toxic to the environment and aquatic life, so it is best to be sure that none of your products has this harsh chemical in them.
Safe Septic Products to Use
- 100% Natural – white vinegar, lemon juice, baking soda, borax, Epsom salt – these natural products will keep the bacteria in your septic tank thriving. Epsom salt will actually aid in the growth of bacteria in your septic system, so send some of that down the drain every once in a while!
- Biodegradable, Non-toxic, environmentally friendly
- Certified – make sure that the claims your products are preaching have been certified by a reputable company.
- Be mindful of what you drain into your garbage disposal.
Keeping your household and cleaning products as natural as possible will keep those little septic tank bugs munching and happy – and keep you happy as well, with a well-maintained septic tank! By using natural products, you are also protecting the environment, since your septic tank will eventually drain its contents into the environment.