Things You Should Never Put in a Septic Tank

While you might not be a plumber, you surely understand the importance of a healthy and functioning septic tank. And although there’s little do-it-yourself potential when it comes to fixing it, there are still steps you can take to maintain a healthy septic tank.

Having preventative maintenance performed by professionals is a great way to ensure that your septic tank works and continues to function properly. But you can perform a small bit of preventative maintenance yourself by understanding and knowing what you should never put in a septic tank.

“Flushable” wipes

Regardless of what the packaging says, most flushable wipes aren’t very flushable at all. If you repeatedly use flushable wipes and flush them down the toilet, you run the risk of clogging your pipes or harming your septic system. This is because these wipes don’t break down very quickly—if they do at all.

Food scraps

Putting large amounts of solid food waste down your drain on a consistent basis can be detrimental to your septic system. This is because the food solids can’t be broken down and the accompanying grease and oils from the food can alter the bacterial balance in your septic system. Use a drain screen in your kitchen sink to catch food particles, and put food waste in the garbage.


Another thing that can throw off the bacterial balance of your septic system is medications. Because of how some medications are designed, they are meant to break down slowly over time, which, as you can imagine, is not what you want in your septic system. Flushing medications also risks potentially contaminating the surrounding groundwater which would be a disaster and could lead to you being fined.

Drain cleaners and other chemicals

If you have a pipe that’s clogged, you might be tempted to use some drain cleaner on it. You should resist the urge to do this and call a professional instead. This is because the chemicals in drain cleaners can kill all the bacteria they encounter. This spells doom for your septic tank because it uses good bacteria to treat the sewage and waste that it holds. You should avoid dumping other chemicals down the drain too, such as bleach, disinfectants, pesticides and solvents.


You should avoid putting paint down any of your drains for a few reasons. The first reason is that, like drain cleaners and other chemicals, some of the solvents in the paint can kill the good bacteria in your septic tank. The second reason is that paint is designed not to break down and it can form a layer of sludge in your septic tank that can hamper its function. The third reason not to put paint down your drain is that it could contaminate the local groundwater, compromising it for all those who need it.

Call for your septic service today

Hopefully, this article has underscored how vital it is to maintain a healthy septic tank. A large part of that is knowing what items and substances should never be put in a septic tank. If you do find yourself with septic tank problems, give us a call at Gullett Sanitation Services, Inc. We have more than 70 years of experience maintaining and repairing septic tanks, and we’d be happy to assist you with any septic tank issues that you may have.