When living in a home with a septic system, it's important to understand how sensitive this private sewage treatment plant is. The system actually can take a lot of abuse, but eventually, certain repeated actions from people in the house can lead to a backup or a need for repair work. Even the use of soap and related products can cause problems.
Many people don't think twice about using antibacterial liquid soap every time they wash their hands. However, the germ killers in those products kill friendly bacteria in the septic tank that are crucial for the system. The tank needs helpful microbes to break down waste.
Use these products infrequently if you feel there's a good reason to -- such as after changing the cat litter -- but avoid using them on a regular basis. Instead, buy regular liquid hand soap or bar soap for hand washing as well as for bathtub and shower use.
Disinfectants for General Cleaning
Especially in the realm of bathroom cleansers, disinfectants are prevalent. You'll see products that boast germ-killing capabilities for the toilet, bathtub, shower, sinks and floors. This may be reasonable in the toilet, but can be excessive in other areas. In addition, automatic toilet cleaners that you install in the toilet tank release chemicals with every flush, which overloads the system.
You also don't need antibacterial dish soap. Plain old-fashioned liquid dish soap works perfectly fine for cleaning dishes, pans and utensils, as well as for wiping down sinks and countertops.
Cleansers containing ammonia or chlorine bleach are harmful to the helpful bacteria in the tank. Think about how harsh those cleansers are. You're supposed to dilute them with water and only apply the diluted substance in very well-ventilated areas. In addition, instructions recommend wearing gloves.
As with household cleaners, avoid excessive use of bleach in the laundry. Another product to avoid is the liquid fabric softener, unless you buy one that isn't petroleum-based. Some "green" products can be used, but do so sparingly. Distilled white vinegar may be the best natural fabric softener -- and it gets any excess soap out of fabric as well.
Instead of overloading the septic tank with laundry soap by doing many loads in one afternoon or evening, space out the laundry tasks over several days.
By paying attention to the personal care items you use and the general cleaning products you buy, you can keep your septic tank working more effectively and avoid a need for repairs. For more information, contact a septic tank repair company in your area.