When you have a septic system set up in your home, it’s important to not only know what to do to keep it functioning well but what to avoid to keep it that way. Knowing what can damage your septic system saves you money in the long run and also saves you from one less thing to worry about.

Be Conservative with Water Use

Overusing water can strain your septic system. That doesn’t mean you should be overly anxious about taking a long shower or using the dishwasher twice in a day. It means you should avoid doing things like this often. Try not to take a shower, start your laundry, and wash dishes while someone else in your household wash their hands. Instead, spread out the days it takes to do your chores so that you’re not using a lot of water all at once.

Don’t Put Non-Biodegradables In System

For the most part, you probably already know not to flush or put things down the drain that aren’t biodegradable. This includes things like paper towels, plastic, diapers, and other products that aren’t meant to be flushed. These things can clog your pipes and create problems. It can also disrupt the processes happening to partially sanitize the water within.

Avoid Putting Food Down the Drain

Similar to why you shouldn’t put non-biodegradables down the drain, try to avoid putting large scraps of food also down the drain. Instead, scrape your plate into the trash before you wash it in the sink. This doesn’t mean you can’t get any food in the drains, just avoid dumping too much food into the sink.


As you cook, oftentimes oil will naturally collect at the bottom of the pans you’re using. This oil should not go down your drain. Pouring oil down your pipes causes damage that increases over time. It can cause buildups that harm the structure of your pipes. Instead, pour the grease or oil into a cup or a can. Find an alternative way to throw out grease that will keep your pipes clear.


Chemical heavy cleaners can actually damage your pipes. This even includes drain cleaners. These chemicals can poison your septic system and maybe even affect not just you, but your neighbors as well. It can also cause damage to your pipes, just like one of the reasons you shouldn’t pour oil. You basically want to avoid anything that could affect the process your septic tank and system are doing.

Keep Drain Field Clear

If the wastewater from your septic system has nowhere to go, it begins to cause a backup that could result in flooding. The purpose of your septic system is to separate your waste by liquid and solid. Disrupting this process will cause your septic system to not work properly. So wherever the system draining happens, don’t park your car or build a structure or cover it in any way.