Septic tank maintenance

Do laundry detergents or soaps harm drain fields?

When you have a functional septic system, you must be taking care of your septic tank and drain field very well. Do laundry detergents or soaps harm drain fields is the topic of this article. There are the two main components of the septic system that you need to focus on so that you may be able to enjoy your home for the longest time. It is not surprising for you to be curious if certain chemical compounds that you use could harm your drain field, especially when you are always a homeowner who wants to maintain an efficient septic system.

As you know, you cannot live in a home without cleaning. You should clean all the time to make sure that your entire household is healthy. This includes doing your laundry. It is already a given that you use laundry detergents or soaps but since you have decided to purchase a washer and dryer and not go to the Laundromat anymore, this issue has been bugging you for weeks already. Do laundry detergents harm drain fields?

Any septic expert could tell you that technically, laundry detergents or soaps do not harm the drain fields because by the time they reach that area of the septic system they area already very dilute. They won’t affect the bacterial population that degrade the solid wastes in the tank and purify the effluent in the drain field. However, the phosphates and surfactants that are present in these laundry soaps do harm the surrounding bodies of water. We will try to answer the old question of do laundry detergents or soaps harm drain fields? To be on the safe side, there are some soaps or detergents that are safe to use in your home that are very friendly to the septic system and to your environment:

1. Mild detergents and soaps

This type of soap/detergent is said to be the best one to use when you have septic tanks and drain fields. The mild soaps/detergents are very friendly to the bacterial population in the system and will not kill them at all. Antibacterial soaps are the most harmful to the septic system because these products stop the decomposition done by the bacterial population and impair the degradation of the solid wastes, leading to the failure of the drain field. 

2. Liquid detergent for laundry

Dry detergent have more fillers or extenders that clog the drain field than liquid detergents. With this, it is better to use the liquid type of laundry detergents. The cheaper dry laundry soaps contain montmorillonite clay as a form of filler. This clogs the drain field because this is primarily used as a sealant. Sodium and other extenders are also added to the dry laundry soaps that could definitely clog the drain field.

3. Non-toxic cleaners

You should make it a habit to search for non-toxic cleaners to use in your home. When you do use them, do so minimally. You should limit the use of household cleansers because functionally, they are made to degrade grease, eliminate dirt, and destroy pathogens. If the cleaning agent is more toxic, then it could do more damage to the drain field and to the entire system. Make sure that before you purchase household cleansers, read the labels carefully to assess their toxicity. There are polishing agents and disinfectants that are very poisonous to the bacteria found in the septic tank. Search for the least toxic of all household cleansers before going on impulse and purchasing the harshest by mistake.

If you are determined to use a washing machine with your drain field, then you should make sure that there is a dry well installed beside it. This is like a tank that collects all the runoff from the washing machine. If you are concerned about the detergents damaging the environment, a dry well is the best thing that you could have with your septic system. There will be times when non-toxic detergents will be out of stock for some reason. A dry well will be helpful to prevent the harsh detergents that you could use from harming the bacteria and clogging the drain field. We hope that we answered the question of do laundry detergents or soaps harm a drain field.

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