In order to best take care of your septic system, there are certain chemicals and waste that you should not let go down your drains. Many often wonder how their dishwasher detergent can affect their septic system and want to know which detergent they should use to protect their system.

Certain chemicals in dishwashing detergents can be harmful to the bacteria in your septic system. But there are ways to avoid using these chemicals, which could keep your septic tank and system running as it should. Here are few tips on how you can do so.

Detergent Chemicals: What Not to Use

Like bleach, some chemicals in dishwasher detergents can be harmful to the helpful bacteria that reside in your drainfield. Without these bacteria, your wastewater won’t be filtered efficiently, which can cause issues later on down the road.

Chemicals such as phosphates and surfactants should be avoided when washing your dishes. Both of these chemicals can cut off the oxygen supply for the helpful bacteria, essentially suffocating them so that they cannot filter your wastewater.

Phosphates encourage the excessive growth of algae, which is what consumes the oxygen in your tank. Surfactants simply have the ability to prevent organisms from absorbing the oxygen in water, due to their chemical makeup. These chemicals are found in your dishwashing detergent because they are able to remove food particles from your dishes (which can also be harmful to your septic system). Surfactant can also be found in laundry detergent, so be careful when choosing a soap for your clothes washing.

Alternatives to Traditional Detergents

Finding a dishwashing detergent without these chemicals can be difficult, but there are a few alternatives you can use. Additionally, powdered detergents can cause clogs in your drains and pipes, so you should use a liquid detergent instead to avoid such an issue.

“Green” detergents are biodegradable and contain the lowest levels of phosphates and surfactants. However, take caution when buying these green detergents by ensuring that the levels of chemicals are, in fact, low or nonexistent.

If you don’t want to go to the trouble of finding a green detergent, you can always make your own at home. It’s super easy, cost effective and it works! Mix together: 1 cup of Borax, 1 cup of washing soda, half a cup of citric acid and half a cup of kosher salt. While this does make a powdered mixture, these specific ingredients dissolve and won’t clog your drain.

With this homemade mixture, you can protect the bacteria in your septic system from harm. Also, you will be cutting back on the number of chemicals you use in-house, which is always healthy for your family and the environment.

Though it is great you are taking extra precautions to protect your septic system from damage, you should still have regular inspections and maintenance performed. If you are interested in learning more about how you can protect your septic system from damage, contact us today or visit our website.