If you've just moved to a home with a septic tank, you may be wondering if you need to revise any of your flushing practices. As a general rule of thumb, you should only flush items that are biodegradable, organic or liquid, but there are some exceptions. In particular, here are five items you should not flush.
1. Feminine Hygiene Products
Ideally, the women in your home should not flush feminine hygiene products, such as tampons or pads. These products are typically made of cotton, so many people think they are biodegradable. However, they often have bleach or other toxins added that can disturb the chemical balance in your septic field. Additionally, these products can easily clog the pipes of older homes even before they reach the septic tank.
2. Baby Wipes
Baby wipes are made of a mixture of cotton, polyester and other fabrics. As you may know, polyester is a synthetic material that doesn't break down easily. Baby wipes also contain a mixture of chemicals and additives that keep them wet in the box, and those additives can throw off the balance of chemicals in your septic tank. Always throw these items in the rubbish bin.
3. Cat Litter
It may seem like if you can throw human waste in the toilet, you can put cat waste in your toilet as well. If you just throw in bits of cat poop, that may be true. That said, you shouldn't empty kitty litter into your toilet. Always, throw this waste out with your rubbish. Most kitty litter contains clays that grow and clump together under moisture. This can create clumps in your plumbing or clogs in other parts of your septic system.
Old medications may break down in your septic system, but those chemicals may seep out of the septic tank and get into nearby waterways. To avoid that risk, also throw old medications in the landfill or return them to your pharmacy through the RUM (Return Unused Medications) program.
5. Drain Cleaners
Drain cleaners can be too powerful for your septic tank, and you may want to avoid them. These cleaners have harsh chemicals that break down clogs — to avoid them, you may need to hire a plumber to snake your plumbing in the case of clogging. That said, most commercial toilet cleaners are fine to use.
To learn more about septic tanks and what they can handle, contact a septic tank expert in your area.