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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 had to pump our septic tank 1x in over 20 years, here’s our DIY Septic Tank Treatment that we use for keeping our system working without issues . . .

Natural Enzyme Action

Much like your stomach, 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.

These naturally occurring enzymes are proteins called Pectinase or pectinolytic enzymes. Pectinase is a group of enzymes that consist of lipase, hydrolyzes, lyase and it is able to naturally breakdown pectin and plant cell walls, helping to cause decomposition and recycling of waste plant materials.

DIY Septic Tank Treatment

Using a homemade septic tank treatment is simple and affordable. 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 of large rotten tomatoes in a bag (chances are they’re already in a bag in your fridge and starting to liquefy 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!

Rotten Tomato Septic Tank Treatment

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 liquefy before I discovered them. So at least they aren’t totally going to waste.

Toilet Paper No-No’s

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 absolute 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!

pump septic tank
“Fosse septique inspection trap” by Ian Haycox is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

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.

How to Clean Septic Tank Naturally

Yeast and sugar work very well to clean a septic tank naturally, here’s a simple way to use them.

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:

  • Always avoid adding Raw or Cooked meat to your septic via the toilet, the garbage disposal or any other method, Meat is NEVER a beneficial bacteria.
  • Always avoid adding 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
  • Avoid flushing anything besides waste and toilet paper 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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