Simple Do It Yourself Septic Tank Treatments to keep your system working well and reduce chances of backups or issues

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  • DIY Septic Tank Treatment

    Septic tank systems can be pretty finicky and quite expensive when they back-up. We've only have to pump our septic tank 1x in over 20 years, here's our for keeping our system working without issues . . .

    First of all, septic tanks need good bacteria and enzymes to break down the solids that pass through it. These beneficial bacteria and enzymes can come from several sources, but our favorite is actually Rotten Tomatoes.

    Every 3 months or so we "feed" our Septic tank 3-4 Rotten tomatoes via our garbage disposal. The key is to ensure that you break the tomato up and pass only 1/2 a
    tomato or so at a time with the water running to ensure it flushes through completely.

    If you don't happen to have a garbage disposal, you can place a couple large rotten tomatoes in a bag (chances are they're already in a bag in your fridge and starting to liquify anyway!) Gently smoosh the bag to break the tomatoes up, palpating the bag to create very small chunks. Dump them into a toilet (no bleach!) and flush. Keep in mind the hole in the base of the toilet isn't very big, so make sure the chunks are small enough so they won't get stuck!

    Normally having rotten tomatoes every few months isn't a problem, between the garden overproducing in the spring, summer and fall, there are always inevitably a few extras available, but then again, during the winter months, tomatoes have gotten pushed in the back of the fridge and started to liquify before I discovered them. So at least they
    aren't totally going to waste.

    The one time in 20+ years that we DID have our septic system pumped we were told that it absolutely didn't need it, the system was running very well and looked great. The fellow told us several Horror stories of systems he's seen in his work where the families used "Fluffy" toilet paper. You know the one.. they have cute little bears in their commercials who are proud of themselves for not having lint left behind.. or the ones that could double as a bedspread made by grandma because the quilted pattern is the same!

    He asked me specifically what brand we use, it's Scott Tissue. It breaks down quickly and doesn't "glop" into a line plugging mess.

    Alternatively, if you don't happen to have rotten tomatoes around, you can also use bakers or brewers yeast to add beneficial bacteria to your tank.

    Septic Tank Cleaner
    2 cups brown sugar
    5 cups warm water
    3 T's baker's yeast

    Dissolve sugar and yeast in water.

    Pour mix into a toilet
    (not containing bleach!) and flush. This is best done at night, so the yeast can work overnight, do not flush for at least 3 hours.

    Additional Tips:


    • Do not EVER add Raw or Cooked meat to your septic via the toilet, the garbage disposal or any other method, Meat is NEVER a beneficial bacteria.
    • Do Not add oils, grease or fat in any form, (solid or liquid) to your tank, this includes, but is not limited to: cooking oils, bacon grease, meat grease from draining ground beef/turkey, etc
    • Don't flush anything besides waste & TP in your tank, meaning, leave the feminine products in the rubbish, the baby diapers and wipes, paper towels in the trashcan only, etc. Just because those personal wipes claim to be safe for the septic, they take a very long time to break down.


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    Comments 9 Comments
    1. maddelena's Avatar
      maddelena -
      Definitely do not flush wipes down the toilet into a septic tank. The last time our tank was emptied, the cleaners almost did not do it because of the wipes. The facility they take the waste will not accept any deliveries with wipes anymore because they take too long to break down. Be careful what goes into a septic tank.
    1. kwyatt50's Avatar
      kwyatt50 -
      Good to know. Just moved into a house with septic tank and needed the info.:
    1. 240817's Avatar
      240817 -
      This is great info. Moved into home with septic. Never had one before. Was wondering what to "feed" the tank. Thanks so much!
    1. maddelena's Avatar
      maddelena -
      Just be careful what you put into the septic tank from the kitchen. The faster you you fill the tank the more it has to be pumped. It averages us for 3 people living here about $250 to pump the tank and that includes the transport and emptying the truck.
      It you are careful you might be able to get away with pumping the tank about every 2 - 5 years.
      Make sure the access top(s) pf the tank are accessible. My husband had to dig down the first time to uncover the top and the septic people put in extension tops that reached the surface of the surrounding ground. These tops now just have to be unscrewed and not dug up every time.
    1. BigDodgeMan's Avatar
      BigDodgeMan -
      Quote Originally Posted by maddelena View Post
      Just be careful what you put into the septic tank from the kitchen. The faster you you fill the tank the more it has to be pumped. It averages us for 3 people living here about $250 to pump the tank and that includes the transport and emptying the truck.
      It you are careful you might be able to get away with pumping the tank about every 2 - 5 years.
      Make sure the access top(s) pf the tank are accessible. My husband had to dig down the first time to uncover the top and the septic people put in extension tops that reached the surface of the surrounding ground. These tops now just have to be unscrewed and not dug up every time.
      We've had ours pumped twice in 35 years and it didn't "need" it either time. If you don't put junk down into it (tampons/crappy brands of "quilted" toilet paper, grease, etc) it will keep itself in perfect working order. That's the point of a septic tank. It's NOT a Holding tank, that's an entirely different issue. A True Septic should NOT need to be pumped but once every 15-20 years. Of COURSE Septic companies will tell you otherwise, kind of hard to maintain a business when a homeowner only needs you once every 15 years vs every 5. LOL
    1. zoeknitsinco's Avatar
      zoeknitsinco -
      The ABSOLUTE BEST thing you can do to maintain a good working Septic system is NOT use a garbage disposal. You want stuff... that is already digested, not raw. Compost or trash your scraps. Of course as others have said No oils. Ditch the chemicals and go for homemade green cleaning products. Chemicals are not good for Septic systems. You are trying to keep bacterial processes not kill them.
    1. dct9000's Avatar
      dct9000 -
      Do not put coffee grinds down the septic either.
    1. 2Blessing's Avatar
      2Blessing -
      excellent info here- I don't have a septic tank, but as we are hoping to buy, this info has reduced my fear of septic tanks
    1. Unregistered's Avatar
      Unregistered -
      Ive lived n same place since 1999 and have an ariator with 200 ft of graveless leachi am yet to have it pumped..cig.butts tampins paper towles have stoped it up bfore but with a snake i got it clean...but im afraid im going to need it pumped soon...but ive got almost 19 years of service outvof it....and its even in clay soil.I have been very fortunite ....
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