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List Of Things Not To Add In A Septic Tank: Septic Tank Do’s And Don’ts

When it comes to maintaining a septic tank, there are certain septic tank dos and don’ts that every homeowner should be aware of. A septic tank is an underground storage system for sewage and wastewater from your household.

It uses natural processes to break down the waste and filter out harmful components before releasing the treated water into the ground.

While septic tanks are designed to handle human waste and other biodegradable materials, some things should never be added to them. It includes grease, plastic bags, diapers, milk, and household chemicals, which could disrupt the bacterial balance or clog.  

Therefore, adhering to specific septic tank rules is necessary to ensure your septic tank works efficiently. 

In brief, let’s learn what will ruin a septic tank. 

What Not To Put In A Septic Tank?

what not to put in a septic tank


▪️ Grease, Oils, and Fats: These substances can clog the pipes and cause major blockages in your septic system. They also hinder the natural decomposition process of waste in the tank.

▪️ Chemicals: Harsh chemicals like bleach, drain cleaners, and pesticides can kill off the beneficial bacteria that break down waste in your septic tank. This can lead to a build-up of solid waste and result in costly repairs.

▪️ Coffee Grounds: While they may seem harmless, they do not decompose quickly and can accumulate over time, causing blockages in your septic tank's inlet or outlet pipes.

▪️ Cat litter: Many cat litter are made from non-biodegradable materials such as clay or silica, which can clog your septic system. Disposing cat litter in the trash is better than flushing it down the toilet.

▪️ Medication: Flushing unused medicines down the toilet may seem easy to get rid of, but these medications can harm the bacteria in your septic tank and potentially contaminate groundwater.

▪️ Feminine Hygiene Products: Though biodegradable, Tampons, pads, and other feminine hygiene products do not break down easily and can cause significant blockages in your septic system. It's essential to dispose of these items correctly in the trash.

▪️ Paper Towels and Wipes: These products are designed to be durable and do not break down quickly, like toilet paper. Flushing these items can lead to clogs and backups in your septic system. 

▪️Paints and Solvents: These chemicals can harm your plumbing system and the environment if flushed down the toilet or poured down the drain. Properly dispose of these items according to local regulations.

▪️Household Cleaners: While using household cleaners is essential for maintaining a clean home, flushing excess amounts down the toilet can harm bacteria in your septic tank. 

Is Putting Milk In A Septic Tank Bacterial Friendly? 

The short answer is no. While milk does contain bacteria, it's not the type that helps break down waste in a septic tank. Adding milk to your septic tank can cause harm by disrupting the balance of bacteria in the tank.

Additionally, milk can also cause clogs and buildup within the septic system. The fats and proteins in milk can create a layer of scum on top of the water in your tank, which can trap solids and prevent them from settling correctly. 

This can lead to clogs and backups in your septic lines, causing potential damage and costly repairs.

List Of Cleaning Products Safe For Septic Systems

List Of Cleaning Products Safe For Septic Systems

Some septic tank cleaning products can harm the bacteria in your septic tank and lead to clogs or backups. However, some cleaning products are safe to use and won't cause any issues with your septic system. 

Here is a list of cleaning products safe for septic systems:

▪️Natural or Biodegradable Cleaning Products: These products are made with natural ingredients that break down easily in the environment and are safe for septic systems.

▪️ Vinegar: Vinegar is a natural and effective cleaner that can be used in various areas of your home. It is safe for septic systems and can help remove stains. It can be used as a scrubbing agent or mixed with water to create a paste for tougher stains.

▪️ Lemon Juice: Lemon juice is a great natural cleaner and leaves a fresh scent. It can be used to clean countertops, cutting boards, and other surfaces without causing any harm to your septic system.

▪️ Castile Soap: Castile soap is a gentle and biodegradable soap safe for septic systems. It can be used for washing dishes, laundry, or hand soap.

▪️ Hydrogen Peroxide: Hydrogen peroxide is a powerful cleaner that can disinfect surfaces in your home. It is safe for septic systems and can be an effective alternative to bleach.

▪️Natural Enzyme Cleaners: Enzyme cleaners are specifically designed to break down organic matter and can be used for various cleaning tasks. They are safe for septic systems and can help maintain a healthy balance of bacteria in your septic tank.

▪️ Baking Soda: Another common household item, baking soda, is a mild abrasive that can be used as a scrubbing agent for tough stains. It also helps absorb odors.

▪️Toilet Cleaners Safe for Septic Systems: Look for toilet cleaners labeled as septic-safe. These products are formulated to be effective without containing harsh drain chemicals that can harm the bacterial balance.

Excessive cleaning products can still harm your septic system even if they are septic-safe. Using the right cleaning products and practicing proper maintenance can keep your septic system running smoothly for years.

Is Vinegar Safe For Septic Systems? 

Yes, it is safe to put yeast in a septic tank. Septic systems rely on bacteria to break down solid waste; harsh chemicals can disrupt this balance. 

However, vinegar is a natural, acidic substance that does not harm the necessary bacteria in your septic tank. It also helps eliminate septic system smell without affecting the bacterial balance. 

How Could Professional Septic Tank Services Help In Effective Septic Cleaning? 

How Could Professional Septic Tank Services Help In Effective Septic Cleaning?

One of the main benefits of hiring professional septic tank services is their knowledge and experience. They understand how septic systems work and can identify potential issues before they become significant problems. 

This saves you time and money in the long run and prevents unpleasant surprises such as backups or overflowing tanks.

Moreover, professional septic tank services use specialized tools and techniques to clean your tank thoroughly. This includes pumping out all the solid waste using appropriate septic tank sludge dissolver to get rid of sludge accumulated over time, and ensuring the tank is adequately disinfected. 

What Should Be Put In The Septic Tank to Break Down Solids?

The most effective way to break down solids in a septic tank is by using bacteria. These bacteria can be introduced into the tank through various means, such as adding commercially available septic tank treatments, flushing down natural enzymes like yeast or vinegar, or even using sure toilet paper that promotes bacterial growth.

Regularly using these methods can help break down solids and keep your septic system running smoothly. 

However, it is essential to consult a professional before introducing any substances into your septic tank to ensure they are safe and effective for your specific system.


While various methods exist to break down solids in a septic tank, using bacteria is the most effective and natural solution. In addition, using septic-safe bathroom cleaners is the best thing to put in the septic tank. Taking proper care of your septic system by regularly introducing bacteria can help avoid unpleasant backups and costly repairs. 

Always consult a professional before making any changes or additions to your septic tank maintenance routine. 

For more detailed guidance or specific queries about your septic system, don't hesitate to reach Barnes Sewer & Septic

Contact us at (765) 584-7295 for any septic system concerns or questions. Let us help you keep your septic system running smoothly and efficiently.

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