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  Cleaning Toilets With A Septic Tank
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Just bought a new house with a septic tank and need advice. The internet tells you everything and nothing. Can I use bleach? Can I use powdered laundry detergent and what about liquid fabric softener? House cost ne 2 arms and 2 legs, so I want to take care of the septic!
Posts: 503 | Location: Cape Cod  | Registered: Oct 24, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Septic systems are not some delicate thing. In most cases everything goes into a tank where the bacteria eats things and decomposes it so it can flow out. So you have to be concerned that you do not kill the bacteria. And it takes a LOT to kill it because every time you add sh** ,it increases.

Studies have shown that you have to add gallons and gallons of bleach, or any cleaner, to cause the decomposition to stop. And even then it recovers after a short time when the bathroom is used.

So if you treat it as a sewer you will be fine. No paper towels, no grease, just as usual.

Hope this eases your mind.
Posts: 7288 | Location: North MN & Northern AR | Registered: Oct 01, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Picture of conrad
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I am wondering if there are some differences if you have a septic tank, leach fields or a lagoon? If this is an existing home, the prior owners should have gotten the bacteria working well, new system, it might be more touchy. I do know friends who have their own systems also use single ply bath tissue, to aid the breakdown. There may also be some helpful neighbors who can offer advice. You might also talk to a septic treatment/cleaning company located near you. They should be able to offer the best advice for your situation.

We are currently in a NO FLUSH zone in CO, due to the massive flooding/road damage in Sept. County is still repairing some temporary sewer lines as quick as possible, and will be for months yet. Frown At least we send down gray water, as it goes directly down the stream, and has been approved temporarily.

Bleach certainly seems to depend on concentration, as they firmly stress to NOT add any bleach when dumping at the town lift station nor the neighborhood por-to-lets where we can currently get rid of any camper toilet contents or buckets of waste. It messes up the treatment there.
But as metwo stated, the smaller amounts used in toilet cleaning products or laundry use should not be a big issue...unless you really dump in a LOT!

btw: I will never again take flush toilets for granted!Wink

This message has been edited. Last edited by: conrad,
Posts: 9678 | Location: Plains & Mountains | Registered: Jun 08, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Picture of Becky56
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We have a septic tank, in fact I've never owned a home on city sewage. I don't do anything differently. I use bathroom cleanser with bleach with no problems. The only thing I don't do is use that thick Charmin toilet paper that feels more like paper towels than toilet paper. Never had a problem. You might expect periodically to need to have it pumped, some systems will need this, some not. Ours is 16 years old and we've done it twice. At our old house it ever needed it.
Posts: 3273 | Location: Bama G.R.I.T.S. | Registered: Jun 08, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Picture of KeepYouInStitches
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I have lived in a house with a septic system for the majority of my life. Each has had a leach field. Our current home was 2 years old when we bought it. It handled the waste water fine, unless we had company then it got slow. We talked to the guy who installed the system...when he mentioned 'gravel-less' field line, my heart sunk. We have 2-6 feet of sand, then it hits red clay. There ain't no such thing as a "gravel-less" field line. So we T-d into the discharge line and added another hundred or so feet. (We have 10 acres of land.)

My current home...everything dumps into one system. There should be one for the bathrooms and a separate system (grease trap) for the kitchen...stupid men.

Toilet Cleaning: I use any regular toilet bowl cleaner.
Check your TP to make certain it is septic system safe. If your favorite TP does not have that wording, put a couple of cups of water in a jar with 2-3 sheets of toilet paper. Seal. Shake 5 seconds. If the paper falls should be safe to use.

Do not toss Kleenex in the toilet. Same as mentioned above, no paper towels, disposable diapers, etc.

Now let's talk sanitary products. Some are advertised as flushable. However, it is not recommended to do so on a septic system. I always kept the newspaper in the bathroom to wrap sanitary products in...the slick advertising pages work well. Don't have to worry about that any more. Big Grin (A plumber visited a friend's home in town twice to unstop her line...second time he gave her that advice because the strings on the tampon was hanging up and stopping up the line. He told her to stop flushing them. She was mortified.)

Laundry: Use any detergent and fabric softener you want.
I bleach one load of clothes about every other week (I made certain DH has a couple of weeks' worth of tidy whities so that a couple of loads a months will do.) I do the bleach load first, then run another load through the washer.

Kitchen: I sop up residual grease left in skillets with a paper towel or two and throw away in the trash.
Posts: 17376 | Location: Daingerfield, TX | Registered: Feb 07, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Picture of cocok
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I also have a septic system. I use any and all cleaning products with no problem. The only thing I watch out for is my garbage disposal. I don't put big amounts of food in there to get rid of it. I dispose of food scraps in the garbage, and only run little bits of dish washing leftovers through the garbage disposal. And as others have said, the only paper product that goes down the toilet is toilet paper.
Posts: 7275 | Registered: Apr 08, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Picture of ga.karen
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I also have a septic system and have had most of the time during my life...or the old out-house when I was a kid! Big Grin
The only time I've had to have one pumped was at a rental and it turned out to be a homemade septic tank made from bricks & other leftover materials from the guy's construction business. Tree roots had filled the entire tank except for a circle about 3' about a mess!!! Those roots all had to be chopped out of there before the system would work properly again! Sooo, take note...DO NOT PLANT ANYTHING WITH A BIG ROOT SYSTEM NEAR YOUR SEPTIC OR THE DRAIN FIELD!!!
And just so you know, most trees will have feeder roots that can extend to 3 (THREE) times their height or more! Some have been known to have feeder roots that went beyond 5 times the height of the tree...depends on available nutrients in the soils...natural nutrients NOT chemical fertilizers!
And one other little hint about soil nutrients...get a soil test, check with your local county extension office...they will either do them or know where to get them done. Most are not expensive...mine costs $6 per test. The extension office can also instruct you on how to take your samples...and it can save you money by not adding things that your soils don't need or help you get the right things into your soils for a nice yard & other plants.

This message has been edited. Last edited by: ga.karen,

"The soil is the source of life, creativity, culture and real independence." David Ben-Gurion
Posts: 5120 | Location: SW Ga. 8b | Registered: Apr 21, 2011Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Picture of M-ma
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Thank you!
I have tried for years on this board to get people to realize that a cup of bleach going into a 1500 gallon septic tank won't hurt it one whit!

If concerned about bacteria in the tank, drop a couple of yeast cakes in the toilet tank. Don't buy septic products at box stores. I actually talked a couple out of spending over $15 on said products at Lowe's not too long ago. Employee was standing right there. I asked my husband who came along (shopping elsewhere) and he said the same as I.
It was a rental property the people had just bought and had renters. They wanted to be certain the septic was functioning properly.
The best septic tank bacteria is human. And that comes from a professional tank cleaner person.
Posts: 5967 | Location: western PA | Registered: Sep 20, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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We've had septic system for 19 yrs. Have never had any problems. Never do anything special but we don't flush odd things like cleaning wipes etc.
Posts: 662 | Registered: May 11, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Picture of Froo Froo
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FYI, no problems with ours tho we bought this house new in 1988. We do have a a township code that requires us to have it pumped every 2-3 years which really is not fair since there are only 2 adults in the household. Better to be safe then sorry. I was surprised to read how seldom others here have had their's pumped.

As far as products, the advice received is correct. I have never flushed sanitary products, use a garbage disposal ( tho our sink came with one initially) and use septic safe wipes in our bathrooms.
Posts: 18779 | Location: Right here, duh! ;) | Registered: Nov 03, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Picture of Florida Farm Girl
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Looks like its all been covered. I'd just reiterate that the ONLY things to be flushed are waste and toilet paper. Also, be certain to not drive heavy equipment over the drain lines and septic tank itself.

Life isn't about how to survive the storm, but how to dance in the rain.
Posts: 6824 | Location: north Georgia mountains  | Registered: Dec 12, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Picture of JoW
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Originally posted by M-ma:.....
If concerned about bacteria in the tank, drop a couple of yeast cakes in the toilet tank.....

Don't waste your money. Yeast won't germinate in a septic tank.
Other than that M-ma's post is right. It would take gallons and gallons of bleach to kill all the microbes in a properly-operating septic tank. The septic tank products sold at home improvement stores are useless.

Don't flush anything that won't rot and don't worry about it.

My septic tank hasn't been pumped in the 18 years I've lived here. Its always been only 1 or 2 people here.

This message has been edited. Last edited by: JoW,
Posts: 8617 | Location: Omaha, Nebraska, USA | Registered: Oct 13, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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