Your Septic System Drain: What You Can & Cannot Flush

Black text reads "your septic system drain: what you can & cannot flush" over a yellow triangle with an image of a septic system getting drained

Living a comfortable distance outside of town offers a unique charm, trading bustling cityscapes for the peace and quiet of nature. But with this peaceful seclusion comes the responsibility of maintaining your own septic system – the unsung hero quietly handling your household waste. While these trusty tanks are built tough, keeping them happy and healthy requires some know-how. Forget about plumbing mysteries; here’s your comprehensive guide to what your septic system drain can and cannot handle.

Septic System Drain Dos

Think of your septic system as a tiny, hardworking community of beneficial bacteria diligently processing the waste flowing through your septic system. Keeping these microscopic heroes healthy enough to do their job properly ensures your system works properly without any unpleasant (and expensive) surprises down the line. 


  • Boost Your Label Literacy: Become a toilet paper expert by reading the packaging carefully. Look for brands proudly displaying the “septic-safe” label. These champions of biodegradability dissolve quickly, requiring less water and keeping your tank flowing smoothly.
  • Waste Not, Want Not: Think twice before giving your toilet a double duty as a disposal unit. Besides the “big three” (human waste, toilet paper, and wastewater), anything else is a potential party crasher for your septic system’s delicate ecosystem. Kitty litter, feminine hygiene products, diapers, and coffee grounds can cause clogs and lead to expensive pump-outs. 
  • Be Mindful of Water-Using Appliances: Dishwashers and washing machines are water guzzlers, and half-filled cycles mean you’re wasting water and energy while putting unnecessary strain on your septic tank. Pack those machines to the brim (without overloading, of course) for optimal efficiency and a happier septic system.
  • Keep it Clean, But Safely: Harsh chemicals might make your home sparkle, but they can wreak havoc on the good bacteria keeping your septic system balanced. Skip automatic toilet bowl cleaners that release a constant barrage of bacteria-killing chemicals; opt for gentler, more natural cleaning solutions instead. Remember, a healthy ecosystem is a happy ecosystem!
  • Get Ahead of the Problem: Regular maintenance is your septic system’s best friend. Schedule regular inspections and pump-outs to keep things running smoothly and avoid nasty surprises (and hefty repair bills) down the line. Think of it as preventative healthcare for your home’s plumbing system!

Septic System Drain Don’ts

Like any well-functioning society, your septic system has its share of troublemakers. These saboteurs come in many forms, from harsh cleaning chemicals to stubborn cooking grease. By understanding why these things cause trouble, you can avoid the damage they can do to your septic system. Remember not to do these things so you can prevent blockages, backups, and repairs; a little awareness goes a long way!


  • Give in to Chemical Chaos: Remember, “out of sight, out of mind” doesn’t apply to your septic system. Harsh cleaners aren’t the only thing that can harm your vital septic tank ecosystem. Hazardous chemicals like gasoline, motor oil, and paint thinners are toxic to the good bacteria essential for your tank’s proper functioning, too. Not only do they disrupt the delicate balance, but they can also pollute groundwater, harming your entire neighborhood. 
  • Give Grease a Chance: Food grease might seem harmless, but it’s your septic system’s arch-nemesis. It coats pipes, preventing the soil in your drain field from absorbing liquids, leading to backups and potential overflows. Dispose of grease properly – scrape it into a container for composting or disposal in the garbage can, but never pour it down the drain.
  • Overwork Your Garbage Disposal: While convenient, garbage disposals can become unwitting accomplices in clogging your septic system. Avoid grinding potato peels, coffee grounds, and fibrous produce – they take forever to break down and can contribute to blockages. 

By following these simple dos and don’ts, you can become a septic system pro, keeping your essential waste management system happy and healthy for years to come. And if you ever need a helping hand, don’t hesitate to contact local experts at Sunset Septic. They offer comprehensive maintenance plans, fast and reliable repairs, and friendly advice to ensure your septic system runs smoothly and efficiently. After all, a well-maintained septic system means a peaceful and worry-free life away from the hustle and bustle of town.

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