Is Bleach Harmful to My Septic System?
Bleach is one of the most commonly used household cleaning products. Known for its ability to kill germs, mold, bacteria and remove stains, it can be very useful and versatile. But is it safe to put down your drains?
Should you use bleach?
If you have a septic system, such as a septic tank, then you will find that all recommended maintenance involves avoiding the use of a range of chemical substances, including bleach. Septic tank users are generally recommended to avoid any practices that could be harmful to the environment, such as monitoring how much water you use, avoiding using too much soap, and knowing which chemicals are dangerous. From both the maintenance and environmental standpoint, using bleach is not recommended.
Why is bleach harmful to my septic system?
Septic systems rely on a natural biome to help break down all manner of matters that get flushed out with your wastewater. This includes a host of bacteria that help break down things like organic waste, soap, and a range of contaminants. The reason that bleach is so harmful to your septic system is also why it’s so frequently used in cleaning the home. Bleach eradicates bacteria with great efficiency. While this can sometimes be a benefit, it can also severely undermine the effectiveness of your septic system. For that reason, it’s one of the chemicals you should make sure that you never flush down your drains.
Disrupting the balance of bacteria in your tank does more than making it less efficient. If your tank isn’t as good at breaking down the waste that it is supposed to, then the waste is going to build up, and there are going to be more solids in the tank. This can lead to major problems down the line, such as the tank clogging, ruptures leading to groundwater contamination, and more. Furthermore, having chemicals in your septic tank can result in these chemicals leaching out into surrounding groundwater, which can affect the health of local wildlife.
What should you use to clean your drains instead?
In most cases, you might consider flushing bleach down your drain in order to clean the system out. However, that’s a no-go. But what should you use to clean them instead? Commercial drain cleaners can be safe in very small quantities. However, they are known to have corrosive effects on septic systems, and can also be a risk to the bacterial balance in your tank. If you are looking to clean your pipes, then it is recommended that you rely on instead on natural cleaning agents such as lemon juice and vinegar mix.
You should be aware of how dangerous it can be to avoid flushing down your septic system. In fact, your septic system might be more sensitive to common household ingredients than you think, including ammonia, detergents, oils, and even drain cleaners. If your septic system is having issues, these substances can be a cause, and you might a professional to help you get to the bottom of it.