Americans across the country rely on septic systems for their household water and sewage needs—including their family’s weekly washing. Unfortunately, not all laundry detergents are alike, and some can clog and cause additional damage to your septic tank and line. Below are several reasons to choose safer options when operating your washing machine.

Steer Clear of Clogs

Inexpensive, powdered detergent and pods cause clogs in septic lines due to their high amounts of insoluble filler. As the buildup grows, it makes it harder for the system to process wastewater quickly and efficiently. Eventually, they will require professional assistance to clear out. Liquid detergent, on the other hand, helps your wastewater flow smoothly and doesn’t stop up drains.

Avoid Contaminated Groundwater

septicMost laundry detergents contain some levels of surfactants, which pull stains from fabric. For proper septic tank care, avoid petrochemical varieties that come from crude oil and are not easily broken down by the system. In high levels, these chemicals can eventually contaminate the groundwater and surface water around your property, causing health hazards for your family, pets, and neighbors.

Homeowners interested in properly maintaining their septic tank should look for oleochemical surfactants, as they are made from natural oils like those from palms or coconut trees. They are less harsh on the system and can be broken down, thereby helping your tank work at optimal capacity, while also cleaning your clothes.  

Extra Tip

Avoid doing more than a few loads of laundry each day. By spreading your loads out over the week, you’ll put less of a strain on your septic system. It will have time to process the wastewater pumping into it from the washer, helping you avoid major problems down the line.


Looking for the best septic company in your area? Turn to Great Bear Septic Service, which provides assistance to homeowners in New York's Westchester, Putnam, and Southern Dutchess counties. With over 31 years of experience and a reputation for quick and reliable service, they offer everything from grease trap cleaning to septic tank maintenance and pumping. Give their friendly and professional team a call today at (845) 621-0250 to schedule within-the-hour service. You can also visit the website for a full list of septic solutions and counties they service.