Can You Use Drano If You Have a Septic Tank at Home?

Wise homeowners will pause before dumping certain items down the drain. A septic system is actually a complex system that utilizes healthy bacteria to break down organic household wastewater and releases the treated water through the soil. Thoughtless disposal of some items into your drains could cause extensive damage to your septic system, and harm the environment in the process.

The United States Environmental Protection Agency, (EPA), has some general guidelines about caring for your septic system that homeowners may find helpful. They can be accessed at the following link: How to Care for Your Septic System

Here are a few items specifically mentioned in the EPA article that you should avoid flushing or putting down the drain:

  • Cooking grease or oil
  • Non-flushable wipes, such as baby wipes or other wet wipes
  • Photographic solutions
  • Feminine hygiene products
  • Condoms
  • Dental floss
  • Diapers
  • Cigarette butts
  • Coffee grounds
  • Cat litter
  • Paper towels
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Household chemicals like gasoline, oil, pesticides, antifreeze, and paint or paint thinners

Grease should never be poured or flushed down residential drains. Period.

See my blog article…”What would cause a septic tank to back up?”

What about drain cleaners?

Drano and other similar cleaners operate on a simple principle:

Create a chemical reaction toxic enough to eat away whatever may be blocking the pipes…hair, grease, or grandma’s missing false teeth.

The good side of Chemicals:

This actually does work in some cases. The chemical reaction caused by the lye and sodium chloride, and the fine aluminum powder can actually eat through some pretty tough stuff.

The bad side of Chemicals:

The chemical reaction is powerful enough to have unintended side effects, leading to costly consequences, including but not limited to:

  • Damaged toilets
  • Damaged pipes
  • Glue eaten out of joints in piping

This toxic recipe, once it has drained into your septic tank, begins wreaking all kinds of havoc in the delicate ecosystem inside your septic system.

Remember I said, “Your septic system is actually a complex system which utilizes healthy bacteria to break down organic household wastewater, and releases the treated water through the soil.”

Introducing drain cleaning chemicals into your septic tank is like using bleach in your washing machine…or spraying gasoline on your yard for fertilizer…or used engine oil for icing on a chocolate cake…you get the picture, it’s a bad idea. A really bad idea.

Drain cleaners, bleach, salt, paint or paint thinner, gasoline, or other toxic liquids will kill the bacteria in your septic tank, and could even sterilize the bacteria in the leach field in extreme cases. This could result in an expensive rehabilitation project, or even leach field replacement in an extreme case.

While drain cleaners may seem like a great way to fix a clogged line, they likely will end up costing you money in the long run.

Call Shankster Bros. today for all of your water line cleaning needs!

About the Author

Simeon Shankster

Managing Partner (Shankster Bros., Strombeck Brothers, and BioWaste Processing) Simeon has been in the septic system business since 1997, when he started Shankster’s Backhoe and Septic at the ripe old age of 14. In 1999, Simeon and Steven merged their two businesses, creating Shankster Bros. Simeon had a keen interest in the science and regulations governing septic systems, and has served on the Board of Directors for the Indiana Onsite Wastewater Professionals Association, as well as serving on the Wastewater Task Force for the State of Indiana. Simeon has lived in Haiti with his wife and five kids since 2012, where he pastors a local church. In his spare time, he is still involved in management and marketing at Shankster Bros., working remotely from Haiti.

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