8 Items to Skip with a Septic System


The septic system for your home is a complex mechanism of pipes and bacteria that is designed to handle water, human waste, and toilet paper. Using it for anything else is harmful to the system and in the long run, expensive.

The following is a list of what needs to be thrown out in the trash or taken to the compost:

  • Wet wipes - Yes it often feels more cleansing than regular toilet paper and if disposed of in the trash, wonderful. Even when it says ‘disposable’ they actually are not, as they do not dissolve. Wipes will build up with other waste, like congealed grease, and form masses or clogs.
  • Dryer sheets - Sheets used in the dryer have a coating on them and that coating along with the fibers of the dryer sheet will eventually cause problems.
  • Paper towels, or toilet paper not stating ‘septic safe’ – You want to avoid anything that complicates the job of your septic functioning.
  • Fruit and vegetable skins – These belong either in the trash or in the compost. These can become stuck at any point in the drain system. More so the stringy parts of skins can cause clumping issues.
  • Grease and oil from cooking – While these will slide down your drain while hot or warm, they will congeal when cooled. Better to wait until the grease or oil is cooled and wipe it out into the trash. The natural decay waste processes cannot occur with globs of grease and oil in the tank.
  • Paint and all other hazardous chemicals - These can permanently damage your septic tank. Paint and paint thinners, varnishes, etc. do not belong in your drains. Wash paintbrushes outside.
  • Cat litter - Again, even when the box says ‘septic safe’ it simply is not. Cat litter clumps and remains in clumps. Also, it is possible that cat feces carry diseases that do not need to be shared in your tank.