What Not to Put in Septic Tanks

Woman wearing pink rubber gloves using a plunger to unclog a toilet
Are you concerned about your septic tank filling up, stinking, or backing up into your home? To avoid a major headache and potential health hazard, you need to pay close attention to what goes in your tank. Keep reading to learn about the things you should never put in your septic system.

Things You Shouldn’t Put in A Septic Tank

When trying to decide whether to flush something down the toilet or drain, remember that your septic tank relies on bacteria to break down solids. When in doubt, remember this rule of thumb: If it isn’t water, human waste, or toilet paper, it shouldn’t go in your septic tank.

Here is a short list of common household items that do not belong in your septic tank:

  • Cigarette butts
  • Cleaning wipes
  • Diapers
  • Feminine hygiene products
  • Food scraps
  • Latex products
  • Paper towels and tissues

Related Topic: How Do I Keep My Septic System Healthy?

FAQs About What Not to Put in Septic Tanks

Mr. Rooter Plumbing fields a lot of questions about things you can and can’t flush down a toilet or rinse down a sink drain. Here are some of the most common inquiries we receive about septic tanks:

Are flushable wipes safe for septic systems?

No. There’s no such thing as a flushable wipe. Whether you’re on a septic system or a municipal sewer system, baby wipes, face wipes, and cleaning wipes should never be flushed down the toilet. They are not biodegradable and will fill your septic tank faster than normal, which could create a potential problem.

Can you put chlorine in septic tanks?

No. Chlorine or chlorine bleach will kill the bacteria that are critical to the normal performance of the septic system. Therefore, neither chlorine product belongs in a septic tank.

Is putting yeast in septic tanks wise?

Yes. Adding dry active yeast (the same kind you use to make bread) to a septic tank can boost “good” bacteria growth and improve the processing of solids in the tank.

Can you put milk in a septic tank?

Yes, a small amount of milk or buttermilk can help a septic tank work better. The bacteria in spoiled milk can improve the efficiency of your septic tank when it comes to processing solid organic material.

What about putting dead animals in septic tanks?

It’s understandable to think that a rotting animal carcass covered with bacteria must be good for a septic tank’s bacterial population, but this is not so. The bacteria on the carcass are foreign to the septic biome and can kill the beneficial microbes vital to proper septic tank functions.

Can you put dog poop in a septic tank?

No. You should not put dog poop in a septic tank. Dog poop often contains substances that a septic system cannot break down well, such as hair, grass, and rawhide.

Is cat litter safe for septic systems?

No. Flushing cat waste and cat litter—even biodegradable cat litter—will fill the tank faster and require more frequent pump-outs.

Find Septic Services Near You

A healthy septic system doesn’t need additives; it just needs to be pumped out every few years (depending on size and usage) and scheduled maintenance to ensure it continues to work properly. To find out if your local Mr. Rooter Plumbing performs septic system repairs, service, and pumping, call us or request a job estimate online today.