Avoid the Backup Blues

How to Clean & Effectively Maintain a Septic Tank

With over 60 million people in the U.S. depending on septic systems to work properly (that’s 1 in 5 of us!), septic tank cleaning and septic tank problems are a stinky reality. Here are 6 tips for proper septic tank maintenance and treatment.


Every 3 to 5 years, everyone should have their septic tank inspected, with solid sludge professionally removed. Without regular septic system cleaning, you could see pools of water develop in your drainfield, along with stinky smells, sewage backup and other very, very unpleasant things.

TIP 2: Think before you sink

Pouring a vat of bacon grease down your sink, with a healthy combination of paint and cleaning solvents can really clog and/or reduce the efficiency of your septic tank. Check with local hardware stores or city programs on proper disposal methods.

Tip 3: Balance is key

A clean septic tank is an amazing ecosystem of bacteria all working in harmony to break down your waste (thanks, bacteria!). Avoid flushing household chemicals and antibacterial soaps for this reason. And when clearing hair, gunk and grease clogs in your home, use Liquid-Plumr® products.

Tip 4: Don’t degrade your tank

Waste that doesn’t degrade quickly — feminine products, paper towels and wipes, coffee grounds, diapers, etc. — can overload your septic tank or clog your pipes. Best to throw these things away or compost if possible.

Tip 5: Drainfield of dreams

Keep your septic drainfield clear of as much surface water possible, and avoid driving on it — it could result in a collapse. Look after your drainage field. It helps dispose of your wastewater properly without compromising your water supply.

Tip 6: Watch your water output

Fix any household leaks, and be smart with your water usage. That can mean spacing out laundry loads over time, and installing high-efficiency washing machines and showerheads. You don’t want to overwhelm your septic tank with too much water and sewage in a short amount of time.

Tip 7: Know local guidelines

It’s important to stay informed about septic system regulations in your area. Ask your local permitting authority about local maintenance guidelines and legal requirements.

Read more in Drains 101
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