Things to Avoid Putting in Your Septic Tank #2 – Some Laundry Products

A large part of the volume in your septic system may come from your laundry. Most of the laundry detergents that you find at your local grocery store probably contain some environmental contaminant. Thankfully nutrient polluters such as phosphates and nitrates are finally being eliminated from the detergents we use as they promote the growth of choking algae and weeds in our ponds, lakes, streams, and rivers.

Say NO to:

Surfactants – these are foaming agents and are in all soaps and detergents. They reduce the surface tension of fluids allowing them fluid to flow more easily between solids, freeing dirt from surfaces. They unfortunately affect cell membranes and microorganisms and will damage the bacteria colony in your septic system. Luckily, they degrade quickly and don’t pose a severe threat to ground water.

Chlorine bleach – bleach is highly toxic and should be avoided or used in limited amounts when needed, unfortunately chlorine bleach is used in many cleaners and disinfectants.

Say YES to:

Oxygen based bleaches – for laundering

White vinegar – for disinfecting

Baking soda – brightens colors and whites, softens fabrics, eliminates odors

Seek out concentrated laundry detergents with labels that say:

  • Biodegradable
  • Low Suds
  • No Phosphorous
  • No Nitrogen
  • Chlorine Free