If you just moved into your first home with a septic tank, it is vital that you learn right away that you can't flush whatever you want down your toilet or wash it down your drains. Your septic system relies on a delicate eco-system in order to break down all the waste that flows into it; if you put the wrong items down your drains, you can cause serious issues with your septic tank. Here are the top three things you should never put down your drains when you have a septic tank.
Vegetable & Fruit Peels
Even if you have a garbage disposal, you should resist the urge to grind up all your vegetable and fruit peels. Although vegetable and fruit peels break down well when you add them to your compost, they do not break down very well inside of your septic tank. Most fruit and vegetable peels contain fiber, which can easily get caught and junk up your system and takes a long time to break down inside of your septic tank.
Instead of flushing these peels down your sink, keep a small container just for scraps like this that you can add to your compost. Your garden and your septic tank will thank you.
There are numerous cotton materials that seem like they should go down the toilet just fine because they are soft like toilet paper; however, that is not the case. Cotton-based products will not biodegrade inside of your septic tank. These items will just slowly accumulate in your septic tank and can result in damage to your septic tank and will most likely cause you to have to flush out your septic tank sooner.
Cotton based items you should keep out of your toilet include cotton swabs, q-tips, diapers, and sanitary napkins and tampons. It is best to just put these items in your trash can.
The only paper-based item you should put down your toilet is toilet paper. Toilet paper has been uniquely designed to break down inside of septic tanks. Other paper based items that you use every day in your home, such as paper napkins, towels and tissues, are not made to easily break down inside of your septic tank system. These paper-based products are designed to be more adsorbent; the absorbent factor causes these products to take a much longer time to break down.
Place all paper-based products that are not toilet paper in your trash can, not down your toilet.
When you have a septic tank, you should limit what goes down the drains in your home as much as you possibly can. Try to stick to only water, toilet paper, and natural human waste; all other items, no matter how harmless they may seem to you, can cause long-term damage and increase your septic maintenance costs.