Almost a quarter of US households use septic systems to dispose of wastewater and sewage. Laundry contributes to a lot of a septic system’s waste supply, so it’s important to know which detergents are safe to use—considering they will eventually infiltrate the tank. If you’ve been stumped in the laundry aisle, Tri County Systems of Rochester, NY, can help.

Here, they offer a list of tips for choosing a detergent that won’t harm your septic system.

The Detergent You Can Use Depends on Your Septic System

If you have a traditional, gravity-powered system, liquid laundry detergent is recommended. If you own an aerated system, choose a powdered detergent to limit foam in the aeration chamber. However, avoid inexpensive powders, which often contain fillers that form clogs. Whichever product you choose, make sure it is labeled safe for septic tanks.

Surfactants Are Bad for Septic Tanks

Detergents that are safe for septic systems have low levels of surfactants, which disperse dirt that doesn’t easily dissolve. They are found in most laundry soaps because they “lift” stains and keep them from settling back into the fabric. While convenient for removing stains, surfactants will contaminate ground and surface water if your septic system doesn’t process them properly. Natural or oleochemical surfactants are made from plant oils and produce less suds than petrochemical surfactants made from crude oil.

Other Points to Consider

septicYour detergent should also carry the label “biodegradable,” which means it provides nutrients for microorganisms and naturally decomposes. If you’re an avid DIY-er, homemade laundry soap may be safe for your septic system—as long as it does not contain a filler that forms clogs. These recipes typically contain natural ingredients like baking soda and do not produce many suds. Septic-safe commercial laundry detergents often cost more than others, but they will go a long way in helping your septic tank operate smoothly.

Regardless of which laundry soap you use, it’s crucial to maintain your septic system by pumping out the tank on a regular basis. When your septic tank needs maintenance, trust Rochester’s leading specialists at Tri County Systems. Schedule an appointment today by calling (585) 467-2550 or visit their website for more information.