How Laundry Can Impact Your Septic Tank

Detergent being poured for laundry
detergent being poured for laundry

It’s laundry day again! Washing machines use a lot of water so it’s no surprise that this appliance can cause problems for septic tank owners. Without proper care and planning, a septic tank can flood or clog due to the washing machine. Learn how doing laundry can impact your septic tank and how to avoid damaging your system.

Too many loads of laundry

Septic tanks are designed to only handle so much water each day. Washing multiple loads in one day can overload the system. If too much wastewater goes into your septic tank in a short matter of time, the tank releases waste into the drainfield before it has been processed, causing flooding and damage. Try sticking to one load of laundry a day or space it out by doing a load in the morning and another in the evening.

Dirty lint filters

We’re all familiar with the lint filter found in dryers, but some may not know that your washer can have a lint filter as well. If your filter is filled, the excess fibers and lint will wash away into the septic tank, causing potential clogs. While you do not need to clean your washer filter as much as the dryer’s, it’s a good rule of thumb to check it once every few months to make sure there is no buildup.

Excess detergent

Pouring in extra detergent may seem harmless, but it can have a strong impact on how your septic system processes waste. A septic system relies on beneficial bacteria to break down debris. Many laundry detergents contain cleansing chemicals, such as phosphates and surfactants, which can destroy these vital bacteria and prevent the tank from doing its job. Using less detergent will allow the water to dilute it before it can affect bacteria.

What detergent should you use?

We’ve discussed the impact the amount of detergent can have on your septic tank, but it’s also important to consider the type of detergent you use.

  • Liquid
    • Liquid detergent is the best option for septic owners. Because of its form, this detergent won’t clog up pipes and septic tanks. It can be used effectively in any water condition. 
  • Powder
    • While powder detergent is inexpensive and easy to use, it is more likely to clog your pipes. The main issue with powder is the ingredients it uses. Many companies add fillers to maintain the texture of powder detergent. This makes it harder to dissolve and can lead to thick clumps and buildup in your tank. 
  • Pods
    • Many households have turned to using detergent pods because of how convenient they are. Most pods are okay to use if they are marked as “septic-safe.” Be aware that some pods may be damaging for your septic tank if they have elements that don’t fully break down, produce too many suds or have high levels of surfactants.

Septic Problems? Call Supeck Septic Services

If your laundry has created problems for your septic system, we’re here to help! Supeck Septic Services has been providing exceptional customer care for more than 52 years. Learn more about our cleaning services and give us a call at (888) 725-0209.