We are often asked if doing laundry can harm a septic system. The answer is yes and no. Normal washing machine use will not damage your septic system, but it is possible to do damage by committing common mistakes. Luckily, by following 5 simple tips, you can be sure you are taking care of your septic system and avoiding costly mistakes.
Tips to Keep Laundry From Affecting Your Septic System
1. Do Not Save All of Your Loads For One Day
Try to spread washing machine use throughout the week. Doing all household laundry in one day might seem like a time-saver; but it can harm your septic system, not allow your septic tank enough time to treat waste, and could flood your drainfield.
2. Use Liquid Detergent
Inexpensive powdered detergents may contain excessive amounts of filler that can form clogs in a septic system and reduce the processing speed. Some of the fillers can be montmorillonite clay that is used to actually seal soils. The best solution is to use a liquid laundry detergent or a single dose detergent pod without fillers that may harm a septic system.
3. Limit Use of Bleach and Detergent
Normal amounts of bleaches and detergents can be used without harming the bacterial action in the septic tank. However, using excessive amounts of soap or detergent containing nonylphenol ethoxylate surfactants that can be serious contaminants of groundwater and surface water in the environment if not handled properly in a septic system.
4. Install a Lint Filter
Install a lint filter on the washing machine’s discharging water line to catch excess lint and prevent it from getting in your septic system. Excess Lint will bind and solids and not break down in a septic system. Lint is a common cause of major clogs and back-ups.
5. Avoid Excess Dirt and Mud
Normally soiled clothes are fine. However, excessively muddy clothes should be shaken off outside before putting them into the washing machine. You never want large amounts of excess dirt entering your septic system. It can create clogs within your system and damage the absorption ability of your drainfield.
At West Coast Sanitation, we know that you don’t have time to deal with septic problems. If you think that your system has reached capacity, please give us a call at (951) 780-5922 right away. We have professionals ready to answer your questions and get your system working properly again.