One of the biggest issues that can threaten the health of your home’s septic system is allowing the wrong items to enter your tank. When it comes to the cleaning products you regularly use around the house (toilet bowl cleaners, laundry detergents, drain cleaners, etc), you face the same risk! It’s crucial that you use septic-safe products, otherwise you might be doing your septic system a huge disservice!
The basic methodology behind an effective septic treatment plan is that you maintain the bacteria inside your septic tank. These bacteria are responsible for breaking down waste, which includes separating it into scum and sludge. After the bacteria have broken down the waste, wastewater can flow out into your leach field. Moreover, the bacteria in your tank can contribute to the biomat in your lateral line system (leach field). Biomat is essentially a bacterial layer that forms around the lateral lines in your leach field, removing contaminants from your wastewater before it's discharged back into the ground. Inadequate levels of bacteria in your tank can mean insufficient biomat, which means that your wastewater may contaminate the groundwater.
With all that said, you should not allow anything into your septic tank that will jeopardize the success of the bacteria. In fact, you should try to boost the bacteria! The focus of this article will be on providing a general guide to what types of non-hazardous cleaning products you could choose to allow into your septic tank. We will be covering each general category of product, providing our recommendations in turn.
Let’s jump in!
Many people ask if there is a particular type or brand of toilet paper that can be considered “safe” for septic systems. Is one brand of toilet paper more septic-safe than the others? In all truth, it doesn’t matter what type of toilet paper or brand you use as long as you're using a high-quality septic treatment product. If you use the right treatment product in your septic tank, you shouldn’t be limited by the brand of your toilet paper. All toilet paper types and brands will break down if you use a high-quality septic treatment.
Going directly off the previous point, it's clearly important that you use the correct treatment product inside your septic tank! But what is that product? Well, we’re biased (surprise!). We recommend Unique Septic System Digester. As a high-quality septic treatment product, Septic System Digester will bolster the bacteria levels in your tank, allowing bacteria to effectively break down waste and any type or brand of toilet paper you choose to use. For more information about Septic System Digester, please click here.
Another common household need is to keep your drains clear of debris. On occasion, you may even need to remove a clog from your lines. How do you do this without harming the bacteria in your tank? First off, we would strongly discourage you from using any sort of strong chemical, antibacterial, or disinfectant product. Caustic chemical products will quickly kill off the bacteria in your septic tank, leading to clogs and backups, which are no fun and can be expensive to repair!
Additionally, watch out for products that contain methylisothiazolinone. Methylisothiazolinone is an antimicrobial chemical used in many household cleaning products (including drain cleaners). It's often used as a preservative. Not only is this chemical caustic to you (it's a well-known allergen), but it will definitely kill the bacteria in your tank!
Instead of chemical treatments, some people choose to use baking soda, lemon juice, white vinegar, or salt to clean their drains. These can work. All the same, we recommend a product that will ultimately bolster the bacteria in your septic tank. For regular day-to-day drain cleaning, we recommend Septic Enhancing Drain Cleaner. This product will keep your drains clean and clear, while also boosting the levels of bacteria in your tank—a double benefit! If you are experiencing a clogged drain or slow-flowing drain, Unique Super Digest-It will quickly and easily unclog your home’s drain system. This product helps to clear your drains of debris and will not adversely affect the function of your septic tank. In fact, since this product uses bacteria, it should bolster the bacteria colonies in your tank.
We talked earlier about toilet paper, but what about toilet cleaners? It's obviously important to clean your toilet bowls, but since these lines lead directly to your septic tank, it’s extremely important (like we said before) that you not use chemical treatments! There are plenty of them out there, especially in this category. However, using a chemical treatment or an antibacterial product (even very occasionally) can and often will cause issues in your septic tank. It’s just not worth it in our opinion.
In the place of a chemical cleaner, many people choose to use natural items like white vinegar or baking soda. While these products can be effective and won’t harm the bacteria in your tank, we recommend a bacterial-enhancing toilet cleaning product. Like the other products we endorse, a product like Unique Safe Toilet Bowl Cleaner is also septic safe and will leave your toilet sparkling!
Now we come to the final and arguably most difficult area of septic-safe products: laundry detergents. As with the other categories of cleaning products, there is no shortage of harmful, chemically based products to choose from! Again, not to harp too much on this point, but we highly recommend that you refrain from chemical products! Especially since a load of laundry produces a significantly large amount of wastewater, a chemical laundry detergent can wreak havoc on your septic system.
When choosing a septic-safe laundry detergent, you should look for products that are plant-based. Also, be sure to check the ingredients list on your laundry detergent. You should be looking specifically for the following three harmful chemicals:
These chemicals will be very harmful to the bacteria in your tank, and it’s best that you avoid them. As far as specific septic-safe laundry detergents go, we have compiled a short list of some products that will not harm the bacteria in your tank:
While there are other septic-safe laundry detergent products out there, these are some of the best. If you use these products, they shouldn't harm the bacteria in your septic tank.
Finding products you trust that don’t harm your septic system can sometimes be a difficult task. But at the end of the day, you don’t want to be causing large problems down the road by settling for caustic chemicals. We believe products used in your home should be safe for you, your family, and your septic system. If we at Unique Drain & Septic fit into that picture, great! If not, then at the very least we hope this article has been informative and helpful.
If you have any further questions, concerns, or general comments, please don’t hesitate to reach out. We would love to help you! You may reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org.