Waterloo, Illinois
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Waterloo, IL 62298
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How Drain Cleaning Chemicals Affect Your Septic Tank February 19, 2019

Waterloo, Monroe
How Drain Cleaning Chemicals Affect Your Septic Tank, Waterloo, Illinois

When properly maintained, septic systems do an excellent job of filtering waste away from your property. In addition to scheduling regular septic tank pumping, it’s important to watch what you put down the drain. The wrong item, such as a potent, chemical-based cleaner, can cause significant damage to the tank. Here’s what you need to know.

What Drain Cleaning Chemicals Do to the Septic Tank

Why Are Drain Cleaners Harmful?

septic tankThe problem with standard drain cleaning products is that they’re highly corrosive. After eradicating the blockage, the chemicals move into the septic tank. Once there, they can easily destroy the useful bacteria that breaks down sewage that flows inside and in the drain field. The substance can also cause sludge inside the tank to accumulate more quickly, leading to more frequent pumping and potential system backups. Additionally, it can eat away at the pipes and drains.

Which Chemicals Are Dangerous?

The primary component in most over-the-counter drain cleaners is lye, or sodium hydroxide. The products typically recommend using a significant amount—often an entire bottle—to clear the blockage. Most septic system professionals recommend using enzymatic or natural products instead.

What Alternative Options Are Available?

Septic systems respond far better to natural cleaners, which are free of chemicals and provide an environmentally friendly choice for homeowners. While they may not tackle the clog as quickly, they also won’t affect the condition of the septic tank or the life span of the system. An easy option is to sprinkle a few teaspoons of baking soda in the drain, then pour half a cup of vinegar over it. Wait for a few minutes, then follow with two cups of boiling water. It’s safe to try this method a couple of times, but if you don’t have success, it’s best to have a septic professional assess the problem.


Don’t allow damaging chemicals to reduce the life expectancy of your property’s septic system. Homeowners throughout Waterloo, IL, trust in the team at J & J Septic & Sewer Cleaning for septic tank pumping and installation. Whether your drains are slow or it’s time to clean the tank, you can count on the team to handle the work professionally and promptly. They also offer grease trap pumping and sewer cleaning services. Visit their website to find out more about these services, and call (618) 939-3001 to schedule an appointment.

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