The Right Way To Do Laundry With A Septic System

Posted on: 11 June 2015

To avoid placing too much of a burden on your septic system, you should spread your laundry days out throughout the week rather than doing all of your laundry on one day. Using water excessively can damage the septic system by flooding the system and causes solids to be stirred up and flushed into the drain field. Ideally, you should only do two loads or fewer a day:

Choose the Right Detergents

Use laundry detergents that are ecologically friendly. When clothes are washed, fabric softener, stain remover and detergent is dumped into the septic system. The powder detergents have fillers in them that can clog the drain field. The worst powder detergents are the least expensive because they often contain a clay that can clog the drain field.

The best option is a liquid detergent. The only exception is with an aerated septic system, which needs powdered laundry detergent to prevent too much foam from forming in the aeration chamber.

Consider Making Your Own

If you do not want fillers in your detergent at all, one option is to make your laundry detergent from home. For example, with soap flakes, baking soda, borax and washing soda, you can make powdered detergent. If you need liquid detergent instead, you can use the same ingredients and combine them with water.

Avoid Phosphates and Surfactants

The laundry detergent should not have any phosphates and should have minimal surfactants. The phosphates encourage the growth of algae, which will cause the dissolved oxygen to become depleted. This will then kill the bacteria that plays a role in keeping your septic tank healthy.

Surfactants are an essential part of a detergent because they allow for oily stains to be separated from fabrics. While necessary, the detergent should use as few surfactants as possible and should also be made from natural ingredients.

Use the Right Amount of Detergent

Make sure that you only use the recommended amount of detergent. Even if you use detergent that is designed to be safe for a septic system, if you use too much of the detergent, you can still harm your septic system.

Avoid Laundry Interceptors

Some homeowners use a separate system for doing their laundry that is known as a laundry interceptor. However, the laundry interceptors often do not work because they rely on bacteria to break down dirt and laundry detergent, but the detergent does not create an environment that is conducive to bacterial growth. 

To learn more, contact a company like Southwest Environmental with any questions you have.