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How Household Products Affect Your Septic System

Home septic systems, while designed to deal with treat your wastewater, can still be affected by home cleaning and sanitizing products that you might be using every day. It's important to understand the small changes you can make to maintain the long-term health of your septic system. Take a look at some of the household products/ingredients that you should try to avoid when washing dishes, laundry, and other chores.



  1. Ammonia and bleach Be extremely careful with the amounts of ammonia and bleach that you use! In small amounts, these chemicals won't harm your septic system. However, increased used in large amounts can kill off bacteria in your septic tank; the bacteria help break down the waste and manage the contents in your tank. Without the bacteria, waste will build up quicker and may be pushed out into the drain field.

  2. Phosphates in dishwasher detergent Most dishwasher detergents contain nonylphenol ethoxylate surfactants and phosphates. If possible, find a dishwashing detergent that does NOT contain phosphorous, as phosphates can also break down and kill bacteria much in the same way that ammonia and bleach will. This can also lead to a lack of healthy bacteria in your tank and a quicker overflow problem. By finding a phosphate-free cleaner, you'll be protecting your septic system AND you'll be protecting the environment from toxic phosphorous that can harm wildlife and plant life.

  3. Powdered detergents With so many options available now, this is an easy switch to make. These types of detergents don't break down the same way as liquid due to the presence of sodium and fillers. Avoiding the use of powdered dishwasher detergents can help prolong the smooth operation of your septic system, as powdered detergents can cause clogging and are difficult to remove. This type of clogging/back-up can require a professional to correct, which can be expensive.

  4. Drain cleaner Drain cleaner is again similar to bleach and ammonia - don't overuse! If this type of cleaner is used even as frequently as on a monthly basis, it can dangerously affect the bacteria levels in your tank. Make sure to only use drain cleaner sparingly; once every couple of months should be plenty. Any more, and you could be damaging your tank bacteria!



BARR Plastics provides superior septic and wastewater treatment systems from top manufacturers, including GRAF, Norwesco, and Snyder. We also custom manufacture Heated & Insulated Low Profile Septic Holding Tanks to suit any climate and fit your unique applications.

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