5 Habits That Can Harm Your Septic System

Maintaining a septic system requires careful attention to daily habits. Many people unknowingly engage in practices that can lead to costly damage. Here are five common habits that can harm your septic system, with insights to help you avoid ruining a septic tank.

1. Flushing Non-Biodegradable Items

Flushing items like wipes, diapers, or sanitary products can cause severe blockages. These materials don’t break down in the septic tank, leading to clogs and potential overflows. According to WM Plumbing, even so-called “flushable” wipes can contribute to blockages. Instead, dispose of such items in the trash to prevent ruining a septic tank.

2. Overusing Chemical Cleaners

Household cleaners with harsh chemicals can disrupt the natural bacterial balance in your septic system. These bacteria are essential for breaking down waste. Overusing these cleaners can kill the bacteria, leading to system inefficiency. Opt for septic-safe or natural cleaning products to avoid destroying your septic tank. Limiting the use of bleach and antibacterial soaps is also beneficial.

3. Disposing of Grease Down the Drain

Pouring cooking grease and oils down the drain can create thick sludge in your septic tank. This sludge is difficult to break down and can cause blockages in the pipes. Instead, collect grease in a container and dispose of it with your regular trash. This simple change can prevent significant damage to your septic system.

4. Using Excessive Water

Excessive water usage can overload a septic system. Activities like long showers, frequent laundry loads, and running the dishwasher constantly can overwhelm the system. This can lead to untreated wastewater seeping into the drain field, causing environmental hazards. Spacing out water usage and installing water-saving fixtures can help maintain your septic system’s health.

5. Ignoring Regular Maintenance

Neglecting regular septic tank inspections and pumping can lead to major problems. Without routine maintenance, solids can build up and clog the system. If your septic tank is ruined due to neglect, the repairs can be costly. Regular inspections and timely pumping, as recommended by professionals like WM Plumbing, are crucial for the longevity of your system.

What Will Destroy a Septic Tank?

Several factors can contribute to the destruction of a septic tank. For example, planting trees too close to the system can cause root intrusion, damaging pipes and tanks. Additionally, driving or parking heavy vehicles over the septic area can compress the soil and break the system components. Understanding what will destroy a septic tank helps in taking preventive measures.

Preventive Measures

Taking preventive measures is key to maintaining a healthy septic system. These include:

  1. Flushing only toilet paper.
  2. Using septic-safe cleaning products.
  3. Avoiding grease disposal in sinks.
  4. Installing water-saving devices.
  5. Scheduling regular maintenance checks.

Following these steps can significantly reduce the risk of damaging your septic system and ensure its efficient operation.


Awareness of habits that can damage a septic system is crucial for its longevity. Simple changes in daily practices can prevent costly repairs and ensure the system runs smoothly. By avoiding flushing non-biodegradable items, reducing chemical cleaner use, disposing of grease properly, managing water usage, and maintaining regular inspections, homeowners can protect their septic systems from damage. According to WM Plumbing, these preventive measures are essential for a well-functioning septic system.

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