If you have a septic system, you need to be aware of the products that you are placing in your septic system (apofraxeis Kallitheas). Many regular products contain ingredients that are harmful to your septic system. These products may encourage the growth of algae, kill the good bacteria, or have chemicals that can damage the tank and shorten its lifespan. As such, it is highly recommended that you do your research and learn about which products you cannot use in a tank. One key item to remember is to look for the septic-safe label on your products. One of the questions that people frequently asked about septic system safe products is whether scented products are safe for septic systems.
Products safe for use in a septic system?
Septic safe labels
The clearest indicator that a product is safe for use with septic systems is a label stating that it is safe to use in such homes. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) gives each potentially dangerous chemical a registration number. This indicates that the product is safe for home and septic use. Many common household products contain these labels. Any biodegradable or environmentally friendly product is also perfectly safe for use in septic systems.
Products containing bleach are safe for use with septic systems in small amounts. Bleach is a chemical that kills bacteria, but when diluted with water, as in most household applications, it is not powerful enough to kill all the bacteria inside the tank. However, it is important not to use bleach excessively, like in all household products, water, and laundry detergent, because a high concentration of bleach will damage the septic system. When possible, use alternatives to bleach to protect the helpful bacteria in the tank. You can use Borax in place of bleach for a safer option.
Mild detergents, like laundry detergents and any others that can be used without gloves, are generally safe for use in septic systems. Phosphate-free detergents that are low-sudsing are best. You can also use natural detergents. Other all-purpose surface cleaners are also safe. These cleaners do not contain the harsh chemicals that can damage septic lines or the bacteria inside of the tank. Look for cleaners that are non-toxic, biodegradable, and non-chlorine for the safest use.
Cleaning products containing ammonia, as well as pure ammonia, are also safe for septic system use in small amounts. Ammonia will not kill bacteria inside of a septic system or leach into the groundwater, but, just like bleach, it shouldn’t be used excessively. Take care not to mix chemicals like bleach with ammonia.
Almost any water-based cleaner, such as water-based carpet cleaners, tub, and toilet cleaners, and disinfectants are safe for septic use. Water should be the first ingredient on the label for classification as a water-based cleaner. Water-based cleaners do not contain harsh solvents that can damage the delicate septic system.
Septic-safe drain cleaner
Only liquid drain cleaners are safe for septic systems. Foaming or solid drain cleaners can damage the system and should not be used. However, even liquid drain cleaners may cause septic tank damage if used regularly. Use even a septic-safe drain cleaner sparingly with a septic tank. If you have to use the drain cleaner weekly or monthly, you may be causing damage to the system.
Even though the list of septic-safe cleaners is fairly long, you may prefer something a little more natural. Items you have around the house can double as cleaners that are also safe for your system. Vinegar is one option. It can be used to clean surfaces, deodorize, whiten, brighten, and soften items. It works well in the laundry and for cleaning surfaces in the home. Baking soda is another household item used for cleaning. Use it to naturally clean your toilet, or use it to scour hard-to-clean items.
Household cleaners safe for septic systems make your life easier without damaging the delicate balance in your tank. Check labels and choose the least harsh options possible for each job to avoid issues.
To keep this from happening to you, here are the 3 worst things to put in your septic system:
- Grease. Your mom always told you never to pour grease down the drain and she was right! Grease won’t break down the way water and waste will and you will end up clogging up your drain which means nothing will be able to get through. Clogged pipes lead to the septic system backing up and this can cause serious damage to your septic system. Be smart and pour your grease in a can to solidify and throw away. It’s also a good idea to wipe your pans clean with a paper towel to make sure you don’t let any grease get down the drain.
- Anything other than waste and toilet paper into your toilet. You would be surprised by the types of things people toss down the toilet. A good rule of thumb- a toilet isn’t a garbage can! Never thrown away cat litter, coffee grounds, sanitary napkins, tampons, diapers, baby wipes, cigarette butts, or anything similar down the toilet. It will not properly break down and you will end up with a serious clog and backups. This will cause more damage to your septic system than you can imagine.
- Hazardous chemicals. Any heavy chemicals such as bleach, motor oil, poisonous chemicals (even those for rats and bugs) are big no-nos for your septic tank. If you toss these down the drain you will be killing off all the good bacteria that help to break down waste and keep your system running the way it should. You’ll also be contaminating your soil and that is a hazard for everyone! Dispose of these chemicals properly and use environmentally safe cleaning products for your sinks and bathrooms.
The septic tank do not flush checklist
Some things were simply not designed to go into your septic tank. To go one step further, some items will downright destroy your septic tank and cost you hundreds of dollars in repairs. Below is our checklist of items that should never be flushed down the toilet. These items will only clog up or hurt your septic tank.
- Feminine Products. Regardless of what they’re made of (a combination of cotton and rayon), feminine products should never be flushed into the septic system. It can take them months to decompose.
- Cooking Grease. If you’ve seen grease cool down, then you know that it turns into a gel and eventually hardens. This hardening substance can line the walls of your septic tank and even block the openings. It can also prohibit good bacteria from breaking down the substance. Eventually, you’ll need a Septic Safe grease trap additive to stimulate the regrowth of bacteria in the system.
- Wipes. They used to be called baby wipes. Now adults use them, and they’re lethal. Although some companies are now making ‘flushable’ wipes, you can fill up and clog a septic tank quickly, and then you’re stuck calling a plumber to clear the septic line back out.
- Diapers. Diapers are made from the same material as feminine products. Yet they are bigger and bulkier. They carry unsanitary waste that is hard to break down, because of the diaper itself. Thankfully, aerator pumps can help break down the waste as well as the diaper itself and keep your septic tank running smoothly.
- Pills. If you’re looking to clear out your medicine cabinet, then please throw the pills in the garbage can. The medication contains substances that are toxic to plants and animals. Some pills contain chemicals that make it difficult for bacteria to develop and break down the waste. If you’ve poured several pills down the drain over an extended period, then you should apply some septic tank additive to the tank. This will stimulate bacterial development, which is good for the entire system.
- Clean Out Your Pockets. Washing machines are often filled with all types of items from dental floss to coins. All of these items will completely block up your lint filter over time. The filter will then have to be professionally removed, cleaned, and placed back into the washing machines.