Septic tanks treat wastewater from household plumbing produced by bathrooms, kitchens, washing machines and drains.

If you fail to maintain your septic tank properly, it will lead to problems like unpleasant sewage odor, overflowing toilets or sewage backup.

Given below are some tips to maintain a healthy septic tank.

  1. Avoid Overloading The Septic Tank

Septic tanks have limited capacity and using a lot of water at once could overload the septic system and flood your drain field.

  • Having full washing machine loads will ensure that you are not wasting water for washing only a couple of clothes. If you don’t have a lot of clothes to wash but they need to be washed, adjust the water level according to the size of the load. Setting your washing machine to the maximum load when you don’t have many clothes to wash is just wasteful and puts strain on your septic tank.
  • Just like you should maximize washing machine loads, dishwasher loads should also be maximized. Don’t run the dishwasher for a few dirty plates. Use it only if it is filled to full capacity.
  1. Stop Treating Your Kitchen Sink Like A Trash Can

Not every food item is meant to be dumped in the kitchen sink.

Items like coffee beans, egg shells, tough meat pieces, dry pulses and fibrous foods should not be dumped in the sink since they can clog your septic tank.

Never pour hot grease or oils down the drain because they can harden and stick to the inner lining of your plumbing pipes.

  1. Never Flush Items Which Are Not Biodegradable Down The Toilet

Only flushable toilet paper and body waste are meant to be flushed down the toilet.

Many people flush items like sanitary pads, hair, dental floss and diapers which will clog and damage your septic system since they are broken down with great difficulty.

You should also avoid pouring harmful chemicals like bleach down your toilet.

  1. Conserve Water Whenever Possible

It is said that the average person wastes up to 30 gallons of water per day. All this wasted water is troublesome for the septic tank and can put stress on your local drain fields.

  • While washing dishes, avoid running water continuously. Water should only be turned on for the initial rinse and then turned off while you lather your dishes with soap. After this, you can turn it back on for rinsing.
  • Stop running the tap while brushing your teeth. Turn it on only after you finish brushing to rinse your mouth.
  • Stop taking very long showers. You waste gallons of water when you run the shower unnecessarily for a long period of time.
  1. Use Efficient Toilet Models

Efficient toilets help conserve water by using a dual flush feature.

Some efficient models use less than 1.7 gallons of water per flush compared to the 3.5-5 gallons by standard toilets.

Reducing the amount of water used per flush will put less stress on your septic system and reduce the possibility of having to perform future repairs.

  1. Pump Out Your Septic Tank

Ideally, the household septic system should be pumped every 3-5 years.

If routine pumping isn’t carried out, your system can get clogged with excessive amounts of sludge and scum. This will affect its operational capacity and you will risk having problems which will require expensive repairs.

Pumping costs an average of $300-$600 but it is much better to invest in pumping rather than having to replace your entire tank for thousands of dollars.

  1. Avoid Using Harsh Chemical Cleaners

Many cleaning products contain harsh chemicals which can harm your septic system.

If you experience drain clogs, stay away from harsh chemical drain cleaners and try natural methods instead.

Try to use plant based and natural soaps and cleaning products which are environment friendly and safe for septic systems.

  1. Maintain Your Drain Fields

Improper maintenance of drain fields can lead to a lot of problems for your septic system.

  • Stop parking vehicles on top of the drain field.
  • Direct rainwater runoff away from the drain field.
  • Keep trees at least 100 feet away from the drain field.
  • Don’t drain chemicals like varnish, grease, paint, bleach etc down the drains.


It is recommended to have your septic tank inspected annually to check whether it is functioning properly. This will also help in identifying potential problems which can be treated immediately to prevent them from escalating to bigger problems.