The Dos and Don’ts of Septic-Safe Flushables
What can and can’t you put in a septic tank? If you’re not sure what is safe to flush, take a look at the dos and don’ts of home septic tank use.
Do Use Single-Ply Toilet Paper
Even though thick, quilted, multiple-ply paper may seem like the most comfortable option, your septic tank won’t agree. Your tank needs paper that breaks down quickly — and double-ply options won’t. The thicker the paper, the longer it lingers in your home’s system.
Along with single-ply, choose a paper labeled as septic-safe or biodegradable. But make sure the so-called septic-safe brand isn’t thick and textured. Even though the manufacturer may claim it’s safe, it still won’t break down as quickly as the thinner version.
Don’t Flush Wipes
Like thick toilet paper that’s labeled septic-safe, wipes are not an acceptable alternative for your tank. Don’t let the description of flushable fool you into using bathroom wipes. Not only can these clog your tank, but they can also cause backups at other points in your home’s plumbing system. Wipe-related clogs can happen inside the toilet or in the drain pipe.
Do Use the Right Cleaning Products
Keep your toilet clean with a septic-safe product. Before you flush your favorite store-bought or homemade cleanser down the drain, make sure it won’t damage your septic system. Some harsh products that aren’t biodegradable can cause plumbing problems.
Never use a cleaner that contains petroleum-based solvents with a septic tank. Your system can’t filter these products correctly. Along with petroleum-based solvents, avoid excessive disinfectant use. These products can destroy the useful bacteria in the system and throw it off balance.
Even though disinfectant products can keep your bathroom clean, your septic tank’s health may require a milder cleaner. Green cleaners and those that don’t contain ammonia, antibacterial agents, or chlorine (which are all disinfectants) are safer alternatives for your system.
Don’t Flush Bulky Items
Wipes and thick, multi-ply toilet paper aren’t the only products you shouldn’t flush if you have a septic tank. Never flush feminine hygiene items, paper towels, diapers, tissues, or anything made from cloth. Along with these non-flushable, dental floss, cotton swabs, cotton balls, cigarettes, and anything solid shouldn’t go down the toilet’s drain.
Do Keep Lotions and Creams Away
Greasy or oily items should never go down your toilet bowl’s drain and into the septic system. Even though it’s not likely you’ll accidentally spill olive oil or butter down this type of drain, some cosmetic products could end up in the toilet bowl.
Like cooking oils, some body or shower products have a greasy consistency. Keep all lotions, creams, body and bath oils, hair conditioners, and facial products away from the toilet. The same goes for shaving products.
Don’t Use the Toilet as a Trash Can
Are you tempted to flush your trash? If you don’t have a garbage can in the bathroom, or don’t always use it, solid pieces of trash could end up in the toilet bowl. Whether you toss the plastic wrap from a cosmetic product into the toilet, fill the bowl with a paper toothpaste box, or throw anything else away, these types of trash will clog your plumbing.
Do Monitor Appropriate Flushing
Does your child flush mountains of toilet paper, bags of cotton balls, or their toys? While you might know small stuffed toys and play plastic food don’t belong in the toilet bowl, it’s possible your child doesn’t understand. You may need to monitor their flushing habits until your child is better able to keep your septic system safe.
Does your septic tank need a repair or another service? Contact Rob’s Septic Tanks, Inc., for more information.