If you own your own house that has a septic tank and leaching field then you you want to know proper ways to keep it from getting backed up. I have been using the majority of these methods on how to clean septic tank naturally for over 30 years and have had no issues.
In general, the best way to keep your septic tank cleaned naturally is: avoid rinsing grease down the drain, have it pumped ever 3-5 years, avoid flushing the wrong things down the toilet, the use of harsh drain cleaners, dumping excessive waste water and raw or cooked meat as well as cleaning the filter.
A little bit of preventative maintenance, and other DIY methods will keep your money from flowing out of your pockets and your septic flowing freely into your leaching field.
I have had my own private septic tank system and leaching field for over 27 years and have never had issues. I go over all these steps listed above and more that I have used plus extra tips you should be doing as well.
Avoid Rinsing Grease Down Your Drain
This is first and foremost the number 1 rule in our house, wipe those pots, pans and plates clean of extra grease.
Make sure to clean all of your plates pots and pans of heavy grease before washing your dishes and rinsing excess amounts down the drain. Grease will clog up your pipes and make it difficult for the water to flow through them.
Additionally, grease can build up within the septic tank keeping the effluent from flowing freely to the leaching field.
Have Your Septic Tank Pumped
So this is probably the most costly of all the methods we list but it needs to be done.
Why should I pump my septic tank?
Over time the solids introduced to the system fall to the bottom of the tank and form a layer of sludge. This can eventually lead to build up that can eventually make its way into the leach field and eventually block the flow and back up into the house.
How often should I pump my septic tank?
On average a homes septic tank should be pumped every 3-5 years. This will depend on the size of the tank, volume of wastewater generated with solids and overall household size. An inspection every 3 years by a septic service professional will help determine should it need pumping.
Do Not Flush The Wrong Things Down The Drain
Wet wipes such as baby wipes, sanitary items, and products that do not break down under the right conditions can plug up your septic tank.
If you have a lot of people in your household make it clear and teach them on what can happen if the wrong things are flushed down the toilet.
Avoid Over Use Of Harsh Drain Cleaners and Bleach
Using drain cleaners and bleach in an abundance often can irritate the pipes in your septic tank. Overuse of these chemicals will kill the bacteria inside the tank which will make it harder for new bacteria to grow properly.
Reduce Excess Wastewater From Entering The Septic Tank.
The septic tank is not a dumping ground for excessive amounts of waste water. This will eventually dilute the bacteria in the tank and cause it to fill up quicker than usual, requiring expensive repairs or pumping out of the system more often.
Methods for keeping good bacteria in the septic system:
- Use water conservation toilets and shower heads.
- Spread clothes washing throughout the week.
- Use liquid detergent, avoid dry powder laundry and dish detergent.
If you have a large family that use a lot of water, then it may be important to install a secondary tertiary system or dry well. This will give you peace of mind when it comes to having so many toilets flushing throughout the day.
With a dry well or secondary treatment system the excess waste water won’t go directly into the septic system and will help take care and maintain your septic.
The bottom line is keep your septic safe by not overloading it with excessive waste water which comes from washing clothes and long showers.
Install A Bidet and Avoid Overuse of Toilet Paper
With what it seems like toilet paper supplies can get scarce at times an option to save on not only you’re septic but also your wallet would be to install a bidet.
There are some models that are inexpensive that can be installed fairly easy like this model here available on amazon.
- GENTLER, FORWARD FACING SECOND NOZZLE, GREAT FOR FEMININE USE - Dual nozzles for rear and frontal wash. The feminine nozzle keeps you clean during monthly cycles and comes in handy for new or expecting mothers.
- HYGIENIC NOZZLE GUARD GATE – Shields the nozzle for your ultimate sanitary experience. The nozzle automatically retracts behind the guard gate after each wash to ensure it is protected until your next use.
- A LUXURIOUS LOOK AT AN EXCELLENT PRICE- With a sleek design and high-quality parts, our bidet attachment will give your bathroom a next-level look. Constructed with high-pressure valves with metal/ceramic cores and steel hoses instead of plastic.
- HAVE FUN DOING IT YOURSELF - Includes ALL PARTS AND TOOLS to get your bidet up and running in minutes. Easily attaches to and detaches from any standard two-piece toilet. Cold Water Hose : Braided stainless steel – 15 in. length with 1/2″ and 1/4″ ends
- NO KIDDING 18-MONTH WARRANTY – We are always here to make sure you are 100% satisfied, so anytime you have problems or concerns about the products, we are just one call away. Register your bidet online and get an extended warranty.
Can you use a garbage disposal with a septic system?
As a general rule, you can use a garbage disposal if you have a septic system but disposing of excessive solid waste could eventually lead to Biomat build up eventually clogging the drain field or require your tank pumped more often. Time is needed for bacteria and enzymes to break down solids on the bottom of the tank.
Avoid putting too much Raw or Cooked Meat Into Garbage disposal.
Raw scrap meat or cooked meat can kill the bacteria in your tank which is needed for breaking down waste to effluent. Get in the habit of scraping your plates in the garbage or compost bin before washing dishes.
If you ever run into a problem or are concerned about build up in your leach or drain field you will want to try and remedy this right away.
The first option and least expensive is using a biodegradable leach field opener like this highly rated one here available on Amazon.
- TREATS CLOGS AND BUILDUP: Roebic K-570 Leach and Drain Field Opener helps to rapidly break up clogged or sluggish drain fields the primary reason for septic system failure,and restore proper drainage
- ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY AND BIODEGRADABLE: Safe for the environment, the all-natural biodegradable formulation contains aerobic spore-bearing bacteria resistant to soaps and detergents
- PATENTED BACTERIA: Powerful Roetech enzyme-producing bacteria degrade protein, starches, and other food-related organic debris to increase flow
- PROFESSIONAL STRENGTH: Same specialized bacteria used in our professional formulations and used in municipal wastewater treatment facilities throughout the country
- ECONOMICAL: Concentrated, easy-to-use formula can treat a large 1500-gallon septic tank for up to 1 year.
TIP: Limit the amount of cooked or uncooked meat you put into your garbage disposal. They contain fats and grease which are the enemy of your septic tank.
Clean Your Septic System Filter
Another way to keep your septic system flowing freely and keeping your septic tank from backing up into your home is to clean your septic system filter approximately once a year.
What you need:
- Rubber Gloves
- Small shovel or something to scrape and clean with
- Screwdriver to open your cover
How to clean your septic filter:
1) Locate and remove septic tank cover. Most septic tanks have a lid that needs to be removed to access the filter near the outlet where it drains to your leaching field.
2) Remove the filter located within the baffle. Wear rubber gloves and a mask to protect yourself from possible splashing.
3) Spray down the filter until it is clean and no longer full of particles.
4) Replace the filter making sure any seals are in place and nothing looks damaged.
5) Replace the septic tank cover making sure it is secure.
Do all septic tanks have filters?
As a general rule a septic tank may or may not use a filter and is dependent upon soil tests and local county regulations at the time of installation. Typically older systems use baffles on the inlet and outlets and newer systems often require a filter on the discharge end inside the baffle.
Copper Sulfate Septic Treatments
Having a healthy leeching field is important to keep your septic tank free from tree roots that can clog it up, so make sure you’re keeping an eye on the surrounding area and any trees near or growing into your leeching fields.
Keep Your Leaching Field Free From Tree Growth
If you notice new growth in the area cut down those trees. If you feel the roots may have entered your septic system use Copper Sulphate to break down tree roots before they plug it up.
Copper sulphate like this one from Amazon Roebic K-77 destroys roots fast and will not harm your plumbing or septic. You can flush it through your toilet or dump it straight into your distribution box located underground just before your septic lines.
- KILLS ROOTS IN SEWER AND SEPTIC PIPES: Roebic K-77 Root Killer clears existing roots and stops new growth fast from sewer and septic pipes, keeping lines free from clogging tree and shrub roots
- PREVENTS RE-GROWTH: The K-77 copper formula chemically kills roots at the point of entry into pipes to prevent re-growth, improving drainage and flow
- SAFE FOR ALL PLUMBING: Root Killer is non-corrosive and safe for all types of plumbing and will not harm surrounding trees, ground cover, or the natural bacteria content in septic tanks and cesspools
- EASY TO USE: Use every 6 to 12 months
- REAL RESULTS: Use K-77 Root Killer to maintain your system and help avoid the inconveniences that result from root clogs such as back-ups and surface break outs
Foaming Root Killer
Another option for killing roots in sanitary sewers is Roebics foaming root killer here. It is supposed to foam up to reach the inside tops of the leaching field drainage system where the roots first appear.
- KILLS ROOTS IN SANITARY SEWERS: Roebic FRK-1LB Foaming Root Killer kills roots in sanitary sewers and is recommended for severe recurring root problems
- FOAMS ON CONTACT: Exclusive Roebic Root Killer formula, which does not contain copper, foams on contact with water to fill the entire pipeline with the root killing agent dichlobenil to inhibit new root growth
- SAFE FOR ALL PLUMBING: Foaming Root Killer is safe for all types of plumbing and will not harm surrounding trees
- EASY TO USE: The granular contrate has multiple application methods, including residential sewer lines, and between tree roots and sewer lines
- REAL RESULTS: Use Foaming Root Killer to maintain your system and help avoid the inconveniences that result from root clogs such as back-ups and surface break outs
Is Vinegar and baking soda safe for Septic Systems?
Vinegar and baking soda are a natural and safe alternative to use for cleaning household sinks and toilets that enter your septic tank. They do not affect the healthy bacteria in your septic tank that are needed to break down solids.
How to make a natural cleaner with vinegar and baking soda.
To make a natural cleaner with vinegar and baking soda:
- Mix half a cup of white distilled vinegar to two cups of water.
- Add four tablespoons of baking soda.
- For a fresh scent add a couple tablespoons of lemon
Mix together until the powder has dissolved in the water then pour into an empty spray bottle and used for general cleaning.
If you want something stronger but still safe use for aggressive toilet cleaning mix a half cup of baking soda to 1-2 cups of white vinegar instead. This works great for your toilet bowl, and is safe keeping your septic tank and bacteria in check.
Does Putting Yeast In Septic Tank Help?
You need to have a living organism (bacteria) in the tank so that it can digest material. Over all of the years I have had a septic tank I have never tried this method, but will it help?
Yeast helps feed and increase bacteria naturally in septic tanks which in turn helps promote the breakdown of solids or other organic matter with its enzymes. All you need to do is buy bakers yeast at your local grocery store or online and flush 1/2 cup down the toilet for the first time. Proceed to flush 1/4 cup of instant yeast thereafter.
There are many debates on this and the noted information above is from the farmers almanac. (source). There are all sorts of other yeast recipes and yet others that say it is not proven to help at all.
Personally, I have never done this, nor do I feel it is necessary if you follow all of the other natural ways to clean your septic listed above. If I used yeast in my septic and received the same results I might say it works too, but I never have.
Will it hurt to put yeast in your septic tank?
Putting yeast or yeast mixed with sugar or corn meal will not hurt your septic tank. However, why waste time or money unless it is proven to help.
To Sum It Up
Ok I have always lived in a home with a septic tank, now almost 30 years in my own home with the same septic system I had installed new when moving in.
I was always warned and taught when I was growing up everything listed within this post. A new septic tank and or leaching field can be costly to replace, or repair or. Using these methods how to clean septic tank naturally work real well.
I have used the majority of these methods that apply to the type of septic tank system I have with the exclusion of a couple including the yeast and tomatoes.
I hope you have found this information beneficial and will help you keep your septic system clean, naturally!