What Should You Do If You Accidentally Flush Harsh Household Cleaners Into Your Septic Tank?

Posted on: 13 September 2022

Keeping your home's septic system in good condition will reduce the risk of it clogging with solid waste, which can lead to waste coming back up through the drains in your home. One of the best ways to keep your septic system healthy is to avoid flushing any harsh chemicals down the drain. The antimicrobial cleaning products commonly used to clean sinks and toilets can do a substantial amount of harm to your home's septic tank. Read on to learn more about the damage that household cleaning products can cause and how you can fix your septic tank if you've accidentally flushed harsh chemicals down the drain.

How Can Household Cleaning Products Harm Your Septic System?

Many common household cleaning products will kill the bacteria in your septic tank, and your septic system relies on having a healthy bacteria population in order to quickly break down solid waste. Bleach, hydrogen peroxide, toilet bowl cleaner and ammonia are all capable of killing the bacteria in your septic tank, even if you only flush a small amount down the drains in your home.

Killing the bacteria in your septic tank will lead to it filling up faster. Bacteria break down the waste and toilet paper that you flush into the septic system, and it will flow out into the drain field once the bacteria break it down into a liquid. Solid waste can harm your septic system if too much of it accumulates in the tank. The solids can clog the outlet pipe in your septic tank that leads to the drain field. If that pipe becomes clogged, the waste you flush into your septic tank will start to come back up through the drains in your home.

What Should You Do When You Accidentally Flush Chemicals Into Your Septic Tank?

If you accidentally flush a large amount of an antimicrobial cleaning product into your septic tank, you'll need to call a septic system pumping service and have your tank cleaned out. Chemicals like bleach will linger in your septic tank, and you'll need to have all of the liquid in the tank pumped out before the bacteria in your tank will be able to thrive again. By pumping out your septic tank, you'll be able to avoid the risk of having waste back up into your home if it fills up with too many solids.

In the future, make sure all of the cleaning products you use in your home have a label that states they're safe for septic systems. You can also use natural cleaners like vinegar and baking soda to clean your plumbing fixtures instead of using bleach or ammonia. Vinegar and baking soda are good for cleaning porcelain surfaces, and they won't harm your septic system if you flush them down the sink or toilet.

Keeping the bacteria in your septic tank healthy and active will result in it filling up more slowly, since they'll be able to quickly break down any solid waste that you flush down the drain. If your home has a septic system, be careful about the cleaning products you use. If you accidentally flush chemicals down the drain, have your septic system pumped out in order to allow bacteria to survive and reproduce inside your septic tank again.