Shauna believes that by sharing knowledge, not everyone has to learn everything the hard way!
Green Tips for Maintaining Your Septic Tank
I try to bring readers tips for living green that both preserve the environment and also save money. I'm big on "going green" in every sense of the word. On that note, I'd like to help you with your septic system. Believe me, these were hard lessons learned!
How to Use Yeast in a Septic Tank
- Yeast activates enzymes and promotes the "good" bacteria necessary for your septic to eat away what is being deposited in the tank.
- Dry yeast can be found in the baking section of your grocery store, in the flour aisle; usually found on the top shelf. One three-packet strip costs about $1.99. That gives you three months of treatment! So, for about $0.66 a month, you can keep your septic system operating the way it should, eliminating non-scheduled tank pumps.
- Once a month, perhaps on the same schedule as replacing your A/C filter, flush the contents of one 1/4 oz packet of active dry yeast down the toilet closest to your main line.
Pump the Tank Every 3 Years
It is recommended to have your tank pumped every three years. I learned this the hard way, never having lived in a home with a septic tank until I moved to Florida! Ignorance is definitely NOT bliss!
Use Vinegar and Hot Water to Keep Your Septic Mainline Clear
Another tip I'd like to share is how to keep your septic mainline clear. Although I use septic-safe toilet paper, my bathroom is closest to the mainline, and I'm a "wadder," not a "folder"! After paying my plumber $150 on a weeknight to clear my mainline after my toilet and shower backed up, he gave me this tip:
- Once a month (yes, our septic systems insist on our attention at least monthly!), fill a gallon jug with 50% scalding water and 50% white distilled vinegar.
- Before going to bed, pour the contents down the toilet closest to the mainline and flush.
- Flush again in the morning.
- The hot water and vinegar will break loose any blockage and "melt" any grease that may have made its way through the pipes.
A gallon jug of white distilled vinegar costs roughly $3.49, which is enough for two months of tender loving care for your mainline!
Don't Use a Garbage Disposal With a Septic System
By the way, if you are on septic, do not use your garbage disposal! Throw meat scraps in the garbage can and any vegetable scraps in your compost bin. And never, ever throw grease into the garbage disposal! It is not biodegradable and clogs up the main line!
Homemade Septic Treatments
Please take these tips to heart. I learned them the hard way after spending thousands of dollars on drain field rejuvenation (which doesn't work) and mainline replacement. Had I been educated, I could have saved a whole lot of money! I hope these tips prevent you from making the same mistakes as I did!
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
Questions & Answers
Question: I purchased a jar of yeast, not the packets. How much should I use in my septic tank?
Answer: I'm assuming you bought dry active yeast, which is what you want. One packet equals 1/4 ounces, which equates to approximately 2 1/4 teaspoons.
Question: What do you think about bleach in the laundry? I do about one bleach load every other week or less. Will the bleach kill the bacteria in the septic tank?
Answer: Bleach is not good for the septic tank; it kills the good bacteria. I use baking soda instead of bleach. Not only is it safe for the septic tank, but it doesn't yellow your clothes after prolonged use. Nor do your clothes become brittle and thread bare. Notice how the armpits and collars of white shirts become yellow after many bleached washings? That won't happen if you switch to baking soda.
Question: I am about to move to a home with a septic tank. I do love the natural ways. I have yeast and vinegar, but have always used Clorox chlorine tabs in my toilets as they do an awesome job. I usually use one tab about every 2-8 weeks. Will it be okay to use with my septic? The company assures me is okay.
Read More From Dengarden
Answer: I stopped using bleach altogether. I don't even use it in my laundry. I use baking soda instead. Bleach kills the good bacteria in the septic tank. You need to keep that bacteria alive so it will break down the solid waste in the tank.
Question: How much baking soda goes in laundry?
Answer: I just eye-ball it. However, I'd say I use about one cup for a large load of laundry. Make sure you add it as the water is running into the washer tub so it dissolves.
Question: How do I use yeast for the cleaning of a septic tank, and is there any material to mix it with?
Answer: I'm assuming you're asking if you should mix something with the dry yeast for maintaining your septic tank. The yeast doesn't "clean" the tank; rather it activates enzymes to process the waste in the tank. It's an eco-friendly alternative to using RidX, which is a chemical.
Question: I'm renting an old cottage by the lake with a "cesspool" and wanted to know if I use the same method, can I also use apple cider vinegar after I flush the brewer's yeast?
Answer: To be honest, I have no experience with cesspools. However, the green materials I mention in this article are active dry yeast and plain white vinegar, not brewers yeast or apple cider vinegar. I suggest you ask your landlord what measures you should take in order to maintain your cesspool. If it involves chemicals, perhaps Google eco-friendly alternatives.
Question: I’m a senior. The lady who helps me clean uses lots of bleach. Should I have her stop since I have a septic tank?
Answer: Yes. I do not use bleach at all because I have a septic tank. Bleach kills the enzymes that work in the tank. A better alternative to bleach is plain white vinegar or warm water with fresh lemon juice. I also use baking soda, rather than bleach, when washing whites.. Not only is it better for the septic tank, but it's easier on your clothes. Bleach eventually renders fabric brittle and turns collar and armpit areas yellow.
Question: I have a bidet on each toilet and no paper goes in the toilet/septic. Any change as to maintaining?
Answer: I would still add the dry yeast to activate the enzymes that work on breaking down waste in the tank. You may be able to eliminate the vinegar treatment since you don't flush paper. However, it wouldn't hurt to do the vinegar treatment in order to keep your mainline free of anything else that may get in there and clog it up.
Question: Can you use block whole yeast instead of dry yeast?
Answer: Anonymous, my plumber recommended one package of active dry yeast flushed down the toilet nearest to the mainline once a month. He didn't say anything about block whole yeast. I'd stay with his recommendation.
© 2011 Shauna L Bowling
Shauna L Bowling (author) from Central Florida on August 13, 2020:
Stephanie, I've never heard of the sugar/cornmeal method. I'm sorry I can't provide you with an answer. I would suggest doing some in-depth research before trying it on your system.
Thanks for reading and posing your question.
Stephanie Casanova on August 12, 2020:
I was told to add a cup of sugar and flush down the toilet closest to the aerobic system, wait 30 minutes and then flush down a cup of cornmeal to help with the healthy bacteria for the aerobics septic system. Do you know if this works?
Shauna L Bowling (author) from Central Florida on September 28, 2019:
Lisa, I'd never even heard of septic systems before I bought my house. It was a true learning experience! I've learned the hard way, as we do with most things in life. Follow these tips and you'll save a lot of money.
Congratulations on becoming a homeowner!
Lisa H on September 28, 2019:
New to the septic world. I just bought my first home and it has a septic. My dad used to use relax at the cottage but I appreciate the natural methods to maintain my new septic system. Thank you for your advice.
Shauna L Bowling (author) from Central Florida on September 28, 2019:
Ufoh, let me know how it works out!
Thanks for stopping by in your busy day.
Ufoh Fidelis on September 28, 2019:
Wao, this is great. I am a pig farmer from Nigeria . Was searching the net on getting best treatment for the waste water from the pen sty into a septic tank. This might just be the solution . Gonna try it out
Shauna L Bowling (author) from Central Florida on April 24, 2019:
Thank you, Glynis. I'm sure there are many single girls with septic tanks out there.
glynis byrne on April 23, 2019:
I thought this was great ! A single girl with a septic : )
Shauna L Bowling (author) from Central Florida on April 19, 2019:
I have no idea, Dan. The tank is covered and underground. I've lived in my house since 1995 and have never seen flies around the septic tank or drain field. So, I guess the answer is "no".
Dan Munn on April 18, 2019:
does putting yeast into my septic promote septic or drain flies?
Shauna L Bowling (author) from Central Florida on October 31, 2018:
It's a main component of vinegar, Jason.
jason on October 30, 2018:
So acetic acid isn't a chemical?
Shauna L Bowling (author) from Central Florida on June 04, 2018:
Craig and Jo, I'm so happy you found this article helpful. I tried running my grey water outside of the house, but got popped and almost fined. Apparently, that's a no-no in my neck of the woods.
That sounds like an awful lot of yeast to start treatment with. How many gallons does your tank hold? On the flip side, kudos to your septic company for recommending yeast over RidX!
JoAnna and Craig Campbell from Praha , Texas on June 04, 2018:
We really like your blog , common sense info like we need . We live in rural Central Texas . We are still allowed to run a separate grey water line into a field . It dries up quite quickly . Grey water contains only bath water , sinks and dishwasher .
Anyway , thank you for the blog and handy information .We had our septic pumped last week after Eight years.It WAS time .It was as full of "stuff" as the government .
We were told to mix dry Bakers yeast (Fleischmann's) It comes in solid 2 pound blocks .It is sold on Amazon. .This first time we are to use water heated to 110 degrees. We putting 1 pound of yeast in water and stirring until completely suspended . Then flush down closest commode to septic . I expect to smell baking bread outside later in the day . (Or not )
We are going to use your idea of vinegar and hot water as dishwater and bath water must have a cumulative grease build up apparently that hardens in the pipes on the way out of house . Very good Idea , thank you . Craig and Jo
Shauna L Bowling (author) from Central Florida on May 28, 2018:
Joanna, I too have live oaks in my back yard. One thing you need to be very careful of is the root systems spreading into your drain field. Mine is shot because of the trees I refuse to remove from my property. The town in which I live is going sewer in the not-too-distant future, which is the only reason I'm not having my drain field replaced. With the hurricanes we've had and nowhere for the water to drain, I've had to have my septic tank pumped every four months since August 2017. At $285 per pump, it's much more cost effective than having a new drain field installed at $4,000+.
Keep an eye on the efficiency of your drain field and the proximity of massive tree roots to your tank and drain field. Live oak roots are very strong and will infiltrate.
JoAnna and Craig Campbell from Praha , Texas on May 28, 2018:
We live on 21 acres of Live Oak trees on rural property so I am the water , sewer , telecommunications and electrical department . I restored our 120 year old house so I need all sorts of knowledge to be adding to my apperceptive basis constantly as technology is moving so fast in every area even in home maintenance ..
Shauna L Bowling (author) from Central Florida on April 15, 2018:
Saphena, I'm so happy this article brought you some answers. I have several what I call "Green Tips", not all of which are on this particular niche site - yet. Feel free to check out the article titles on my profile page to find the others.
Thank you so much for stopping by and taking the time to leave me your comment!
Saphena on April 15, 2018:
THANK YOU! I googled for safer, greener non chemical ways to flush a septic toilet and found your article. Now I am sure I'll spend the better part of the day reading what other topics you have tips for :) thanks a lot!
Shauna L Bowling (author) from Central Florida on March 10, 2018:
Susan, I love essential oils. However, they have to be pure or mixed with pure ingredients to make them skin-friendly. If they're pure, you shouldn't have a problem. Do the vinegar and hot water treatment once a month to break up any oil coagulation, just to be safe.
Susan on March 10, 2018:
I use essential oils in the bathtub wirh Epsom salt for pain relief and relaxation. Are essential oils bad for your septic?
Shauna L Bowling (author) from Central Florida on February 28, 2018:
Ben, it'll be hot enough to run through the pipes. Most of today's toilets don't have deep bowls. Less than a gallon of water sits in the bowl. The hot water and vinegar mixed together do the trick when flushed right away.
BEN on February 28, 2018:
AS SOON AS THAT SCALDING WATER MIXES WITH THE TOILET WATER IT WILL BE LUKE WARM AT BEST. HOPEFULLY THE VINEGAR WILL HELP.
Shauna L Bowling (author) from Central Florida on February 22, 2018:
My drain field is bad, too. It was going to cost me $2700 to have it replaced. However, my town is going city sewer at no cost to the residents by September 2019, so I'm saved! I expect to have to do a couple more pump-outs before then, but it'll be a lot cheaper than having a new drain field installed.
Do you have a lot of trees in your yard, Ben?
Ben K on February 21, 2018:
We were driven out of our house by bad smell, after sleeping elsewhere for 3 days and using very little water while home, the smell went down. We had the tank pumped out and they said my drain field is bad and I need a whole new system. Help!
Shauna L Bowling (author) from Central Florida on February 03, 2018:
Danny, the vinegar is to keep your pipes clear from the toilet to the mainline. I wouldn't add it to the drain field (if that's what you mean by "field line". All that will accomplish is to kill the grass and any other vegetation on top of it. BTW, vinegar is great for killing weeds and the grass that grows in concrete cracks. However, vinegar will kill anything else around the weeds, so be careful.
Danny Copeland. (Florida) on February 03, 2018:
So the vinegar is for the field line right, can I put it directly into the field line....thanks
Shauna L Bowling (author) from Central Florida on November 09, 2017:
Lois, I would ask your painter not to clean his brushes in the sink.
And you're right about powder laundry detergent. My mother had to have her septic pumped because she'd used powder detergent for years. It doesn't completely dissolve and gunks up the tank. I only use environmentally safe liquid laundry soap. I'm real careful about what I put in my drains.
Lois Halbert on November 09, 2017:
I'm starting your tips now. I just found out our painter is cleaning out his brushes in sink. Should he do that? Water based paint. I also have told not to use powder detergent. Is that a no no?
Shauna L Bowling (author) from Central Florida on October 02, 2017:
Star B., you're right about RidX. And yes, the cost savings is tremendous and yeast is much healthier for the tank and our environment.
Thanks for stopping by!
Star B. on October 01, 2017:
I want to thank you for confirming the information on yeast into the septic system. $.66 a month beats the heck out of $6.00. Ridex apparently is very bad for the septic. Thank you very much! :-D
Shauna L Bowling (author) from Central Florida on September 30, 2017:
MizB, I certainly understand how disruptive and annoying that must be. Have you considered purchasing a small apartment size fridge for hubby's yeast cultures?
Doris James MizBejabbers from Beautiful South on September 29, 2017:
All I know is that he acquires a start of some kind he needs, cultures it and keeps it alive. Maybe I can get him to tell me more. It's really annoying to me to have a fridge full of yeast cultures taking up room for my leftovers! LOL
Shauna L Bowling (author) from Central Florida on September 29, 2017:
MizB, I think it's totally awesome that your husband can grow yeast. Wow! Talk about green!
The yeast I use is Fleischmann's ActiveDry Yeast Original. Simple and oh-so cheap!
I'd love to see you post how to grow your own. Tell hubby he's on to something!
Doris James MizBejabbers from Beautiful South on September 29, 2017:
Shauna, I'm so glad I found your article! We have been spending a lot of money on commercial septic tank products from the big box stores, and I'm all for saving money. I'll tell hubby about your suggestions. He's a yeast freak, finding special yeasts for baking and brewing, and now he can grow his own yeast for the toilets, LOL. Thanks a million, milady.
Shauna L Bowling (author) from Central Florida on September 19, 2017:
You're welcome, Christina!
Christina Minnier on September 18, 2017:
Shauna L Bowling (author) from Central Florida on September 18, 2017:
Christina, I flush right away. It'll "bloom" when it hits the septic water. Then the good bacteria will gnaw away at the icky bacteria.
Shauna L Bowling (author) from Central Florida on September 18, 2017:
Mitzi, I would (and do) use baking soda to clean the sink drains. Just sprinkle some baking soda around and in the drain hole. Let it set for a bit, scrub the sink and rinse with hot water.
Christina Minnier on September 17, 2017:
I love your Blog! Thanks for the tips. My husband and I just recently purchased our home and for the first time since childhood we have a septic tank.
When you do your once a month yeast do you put the packet in the toilet to sit over night then flush in the morning or flush right away?
Thanks and sorry if this is a repeat question.
Mitzi T. on September 17, 2017:
Should we use the same water to vinegar ratio for kitchen drains? I have no clog just to clean and maintain.
Shauna L Bowling (author) from Central Florida on August 04, 2017:
Dick, I've not heard of using Dawn as a septic treatment, but it is what I use to wash dishes. The key to cutting down on grease is to never dump it down your drains. Put it in the garbage can or in a seal-able container, then discard in your outgoing trash. Never, never put grease in the drains when you're on septic.
Dick on August 04, 2017:
I heard that using dawn detergent will help cut down on the grease . but the didn't say how much to use, Any suggestions?
Shauna L Bowling (author) from Central Florida on March 28, 2017:
You can add them the same day, Dan. I usually do the yeast once a month and the vinegar/hot water just every so often.
Dan on March 28, 2017:
Do you add the yeast the same day as the vinegar?
Shauna L Bowling (author) from Central Florida on February 01, 2017:
Debbie, I've not heard of using Dawn, but it makes sense as it cuts grease, which can cause clogs. Vinegar is good for so many things. I don't know why people don't use it more.
I'm glad you found this helpful. Definitely do the yeast trick. It works and is completely non-toxic. Much better for the environment!
Debbie E on February 01, 2017:
Thank you for your tips; will try the yeast too! What I have been using is a gallon of vinegar and Walmarts brand of Dawn detergent. We use conditioner that I feel can make the system sluggish and although I do not add grease down into the system, it does come off my dishes and therfore over time found the liquids not draining into the drain field. When we had it pumped out found the sluge clogged it. Once I started using the vinegar and dawn, no more problems.
Shauna L Bowling (author) from Central Florida on October 30, 2016:
Thank you for adding value and validation to my article, HFC. Very refreshing!
HFC on October 30, 2016:
The link was added to support your claim that yeast is beneficial for decomposition. One of your responders implied that fungi serve no purpose as an additive to a septic system. A quick Google search on fungi and decomposition delivered a position article by Utah State University on fungi and it's role in natural decomposition. In the the beginning of the second paragraph, the authors stated "Fungi and bacteria are the major organisms decomposing dead leaves and other organic matter."
Also, the Farmer's Almanac supports your claim about yeast as well. (see http://farmersalmanac.com/home-garden/2015/03/23/m...
Hope this helps.
Shauna L Bowling (author) from Central Florida on October 29, 2016:
Can you expound on why you're including this link? Give us a bit of insight before sending us to a link.
HFC on October 29, 2016:
Info on fungi and decomposition:
Shauna L Bowling (author) from Central Florida on September 20, 2016:
Shaywess, I use bakers yeast and haven't had a problem with it. I put it in the toilet closest to the mainline, flush and don't use the toilet until the next morning. It doesn't cake up the tank and of course it dissolves. How else could you use it in baking if it didn't?
Could your drain field be the source the odor you smell?
Shauna L Bowling (author) from Central Florida on September 20, 2016:
Sandra, you're very welcome. I hope that by including the link in your comment you're not phishing for them.
shaywess on September 19, 2016:
Our septic guy recommended Brewers yeast ONLY. He said baking yeast will not dissolve and will cake up in the tank?? We are having an issue with a terrible smell coming from our system (or could be a neighbors) and we have just had the tank pumped and new (very expensive) sealed lids put on hoping to get rid of the smell but no go:( Our septic guy says it could be coming from our roof vent pipes and to try flushing a large amount of Brewers yeast and wait a week and see if that helps. brewers yeast is expensive too!
Sandria Warne on July 20, 2016:
Amazing article!! We have just installed a septic tank at our home. We got it installed from http://robbyssepticservice.com/ now i wanted to know how to maintain the septic tank and how to keep it clean. I found your post very helpful thanks for posting!!
Shauna L Bowling (author) from Central Florida on June 01, 2016:
Wow, you've never had your tank pumped??? Good for you!
Try the yeast. It's way cheaper and much more environmentally friendly.
knameerf on May 31, 2016:
Been in our home out in the sticks since 1990, never have had the sewer tank pumped... think it to be a 1000 gallon system... washing machine water might be the key here as it does not feed the tank/system... bath water does... I've used ridX but not very faithfully and thought about using something less costly will pass as I think Yeast's!? may have something here... jokingly tease our city friends that are cautious about using one ply, and like coming to the house to play games and have to use our bathrooms it seems like a lot, and state how they love the two ply… thought about charging them for usage :-)… 10cents… anyway… it is just the wife and I now, so it’s not like the house if full of teens…
Shauna L Bowling (author) from Central Florida on May 02, 2016:
Patty, since the yeast should sit in the toilet overnight before flushing, I wouldn't do the two together. The yeast treatment is to keep the tank operating properly, while the vinegar/hot water is to keep the main line free of debris that may get hung up and cause a backup. Applying each treatment within a day of each other should be fine.
I'm glad you found this article useful. Congratulations on becoming a homeowner!
Patty Haber on April 30, 2016:
Hi! I just stumbled across thus article because I vaguely remember hearing about the yeast trick years ago, but just bought my first house and went looking for cheap and green. Sooo...thank you!! A question that might have been asked 100 times, but I didn't see it so here is 101. Can you do these 2 tricks at the same time or if not, how much time in between? Thanks again!
Shauna L Bowling (author) from Central Florida on March 16, 2016:
Blue, you've led an interesting life!
I'd never lived in a home with septic before I bought my house in 1995. I was totally ignorant to the entire concept and assumed we were on city sewer. I didn't know septic tanks need to be pumped periodically. It was about 10 years after moving in that I had to have it pumped. The tank was completely full and what was inside looked like dirt. Let's just say I became better educated after that (and several more septic problems).
Maintaining the system is crucial, but I don't like using the chemicals that are on the market. Yeast serves the same purpose, is kinder to the environment, and is super cheap. Flushing hot vinegar water down the toilet nearest to the tank periodically will keep the pipes clear as well.
I'm glad to hear the yeast trick worked for your bubbling bath problem. It could have gotten ugly. Literally!
Thanks for stopping by and sharing your story. And don't worry about typos. It happens to the best of us!
Blue on March 16, 2016:
Hmmm sorry there were a few typos in my previous post...our landlord for the place in Costa Rica was not easy to reach, didn't ever feel the need to try to teach her. Also the tip about the yeast for the septic system came from one of the locals. Thanks hope that makes sense now.
Blue on March 16, 2016:
Yeast absolutely works. I found this out a few years back while living in a jungle bungalow in Costa Rica. With a landlord who lived in the states and was usually not easy to teach and the lack of a reliable plumber nearby, we were given this tip by one of the our septic system became sluggish. I can't tell you how grateful we were a backed up septic system at 100 degrees in high rain forest humidity is not anyone's idea of fun. We lived in that bungalow for a year and a half after we found this out and used the yeast periodically and never had a problem after that first disturbing experience.
So now...I live in remote Idaho with a well and septic system and for the past couple of months I've been hearing this awful glug glug sound going through the pipes when we drained our bath tub. I didn't think it had always done this but I still started to wonder if we had made some serious mistake when we plumbed our little homestead a year ago. This morning I had an aha moment as I tried to think about any other vicarious plumbing situations we've faced. I dumped a couple tablespoons of yeast down the toilet and 8 hours later, sure enough, I just drained the tub and the glug sound is gone. Thanks for the tip on the septic safe tp will have to keep that in mind going forward as well.
Shauna L Bowling (author) from Central Florida on March 05, 2016:
Thank you kj. I know about the many uses for baking soda and vinegar. I wrote another green tip about that as well.
You have to be careful when using vinegar in the yard. I use it to kill grass and weeds that grow in the cracks of my driveway. Much better than using chemicals, but it will kill whatever it touches, so I wouldn't use it in plant beds.
kjforce from Florida on March 05, 2016:
bravewarrior...I forgot to add..my favororit trick..Put Baking Soda in your laundry wash loads ( remove s soap residue/odors ) also you can use white vinegar+ BS in bathroom and kitchen sinks..keeps drains open and removes soap scum that emits rotten egg smell.
white vinegar +h2o in a spray bottle removes odors from sports equipmemt ( football,Lacrosse, etc )
the vinegar smell fades when dry...you can also use it when working in the yard to repel bugs...
Shauna L Bowling (author) from Central Florida on March 04, 2016:
A live fish? What does fish do for the tank?
Mary Ann on March 03, 2016:
My husband always threw a fish in the septic tank. Been here over 30 years, never had a problem.
Shauna L Bowling (author) from Central Florida on August 31, 2015:
Theresa, sometimes I forget to drop the yeast in the toilet each month. It's better for the tank to treat it monthly, but a miss here and there won't hurt. The dry yeast goes in the toilet tank, not the septic tank. Well, it does by way of toilet. Flying solo shouldn't get in the way of opening a packet of dry yeast and flushing it down the toilet.
I'm glad you found this useful. Thanks for commenting!
Theresa on August 30, 2015:
TY Bravewarrior for your blogs, I will definitely be back! I purchased a log home on 8 heavily wooded acres in the middle of nowheres-ville TN. Which is on a septic, I have been using the chemicals monthly packets which were recommended to me. But I'm going your way. Although I am flying solo 3 weeks out of the month, my question is can I do this every 2-3 months instead of every month? Thanks again....
Shauna L Bowling (author) from Central Florida on August 23, 2015:
Ryan I use dry yeast without the brown sugar. I simply pour the packet in the toilet and flush.
Ryan Harris on August 23, 2015:
Best recipe iVe read Is: 1 of the small packets of baking yeast, 2 cups brown sugar, pour this into 1 quart very warm water stir until disolved. Mix before retiring to bed pour into toilet and flush. Way cheaper than Rid-X that is $10 a box now.
By the way a civil engineer once said that our poo is all the bacteria that Our septic tank needs, just have a pro come and pump it out at regular intervals (about every five years at least) and it'll be running great for a long time. I hope this helps. (:
Shauna L Bowling (author) from Central Florida on May 01, 2015:
Mac, I'm not sure I follow you. Are you saying you put cheddar cheese in your septic tank? Is a cesspit the same thing? How is the cheddar cheese supposed to help the tank do its job? I'd love to know. (Apparently, the "h" on your keyboard is missing or stuck).
Shauna L Bowling (author) from Central Florida on April 30, 2015:
Hawkdriver, yeast is a natural substance. When activated it helps the enzymes in the tank break down the waste. I only have to have my tank pumped once every three years. It was my septic guy who told me to use dry yeast rather than RidX, which is a chemical.
I also don't use bleach in my laundry or for cleaning either, as it kills the good bacteria in the tank. I use baking soda instead.
Hawkdriver on April 30, 2015:
The septic service that is here trying to repair my drain field said not put anything in your septic system. Additives cause the "cake" that floats on top of the water in your tank to rain down particles through the clear water level which end up flowing out into your drain field. He recommended that since I have a small tank to have it pumped once a year, but otherwise leave it alone.
Shauna L Bowling (author) from Central Florida on January 08, 2015:
Ted, if you need to install a new tank, you have more of a problem than backups and proper maintenance.
Shauna L Bowling (author) from Central Florida on December 12, 2014:
Sergio, yeast expands when activated with liquid. And it's cheap. Much cheaper than calling in a plumber to take care of backups!
Shauna L Bowling (author) from Central Florida on December 12, 2014:
Jbabeabbott, you'll still have to have your tank pumped every three years or so, but the methods I mentioned here will keep it working properly.
jbabeabbott from New Orleans, Louisiana on September 08, 2014:
I am tired of having to use a plumber to fix problems with my septic tank. Plumbers can be costly, so I have been searching for new ways to clean my septic tank myself. I am glad you have found an easy way to do it with items around the house. This was of great help to me. http://www.schlegelmilchwelldrilling.com/services
Shauna L Bowling (author) from Central Florida on April 09, 2014:
Kj, thanx for your comment. Yes, baking soda/vinegar and lemon are great for removing odors. I also use vinegar to kill weeds rather than use chemicals.
And yes, septic safe TP is so important. If it's not stated so on the packaging, I don't buy it.
Thanx for 'being in the neighborhood' and backing me up on this one!
kjforce from Florida on April 08, 2014:
bravewarrior...I just happened to be in the neighborhood and thought I'd stop by. You are so right regarding Rx drugs/chemicals and septic systems. Has anyone looked in the toilet bowl to see the results after just a couple days ? The effect of chemicals on the septic is astounding, it eats all the bacteria that breaks down the solids. You also have to take into consideration the TP you use...not all are septic safe.
I have lived in the country all my life both in the US and abroad and have never experienced any issues with the septic...just like solid garbage, we need to separate and recycle, to save this planet and insure there is a future...
I commend you bravewarrior for standing up for your convictions...and taking the time to share this info with the world. voted up ...want to remove an odor from your drains ?
baking soda/vinegar/lemon..cuts the soap residue also.
Shauna L Bowling (author) from Central Florida on April 08, 2014:
Yeast?, I have recommended what you state via your multiple comments in my post. I agree with most of what you say. However, human waste is full of toxic material. I'm one of few people over the age of 55 who is not on any kind of medication. Everything we humans ingest, runs out the other end. Our waste can and does add toxins to the Earth, whether it be via throw up or urine or poop. At $0.19 per packet of yeast and $2.49 per gallon bottle of vinegar, taking the extra precautions benefit the Earth and our drinking water in the long run.
I really don't understand why you're fighting me. Read the post again. I talk about grease and the use of garbage disposals. That's one fix. Another is negating the toxins we ingest into our bodies that get expelled in pure form.
Yeast. Vinegar. Easy, natural, inexpensive combatants. Tell me. What's wrong with that?
Yeast!? on April 08, 2014:
My suggestions are as natural as they come, use as little chemicals as necessary in the home, don't send grease or fats down the sink, don't use a garbage disposal, spread water usage out when doing laundry, be aware of what you are sending down the pipe and what affect it may have on the bacteria in your tank, and don't add anything to the tank. The bacteria is already present inside our bodies, and when we defecate - that is all that is needed in order for the tank to function properly. Yeast &/or vinegar do not benefit the tank's function at all, it's merely just another way to waste your money. Save your money and use it to have the tank pumped regularly in order to remove the matter that the bacteria will not break down, as that's what fills the tank up over time even when the tank is functioning properly. The tanks are not designed to never be pumped, they are designed to hold particulates in storage while allowing waste water to seep back into the ground; therefore every so often the tank needs to be pumped. If you've been careful of how you take care of your tank then this ill costs you $100-$150 every 5+ years depending on it's size and how many people live in the household. Rid-X costs much more than that, and although yeast & vinegar are cheap, they don't prevent the tank from needing to be pumped.
I am fortunate enough to live in an area where I can divert my larger waste water like washing machine water & bathwater away from my septic tank and leech field, but I know most places will not allow this. This makes the inline filter even more important when you want your septic tank to function longer and you want to avoid paying thousands on repairing the leech field.
Shauna L Bowling (author) from Central Florida on April 07, 2014:
Yeast, the guy who told me about yeast is the plumber who used to work for the septic company. His advice was outside of what his previous employer recommends. They had a solution to sell and/or recommended RidX. My plumber gave me natural alternatives in order to save me money and extend the life of the tank between pumps. Frankly, I don't see how something natural can affect the functionality of the tank.
My ex-husband tried diverting the gray water to run outside the house rather than thru the lines to the septic tank. The city I live in came by and fined me, as that's a no-no where I live. I have had no problems with my septic system since the last pump. Yeast activates enzymes which set the good bacteria in motion to break down the solids, much as the good bacteria in compost breaks down the matter in order to create a beneficial soil amendment.
If you don't feel yeast is a viable alternative to chemicals, what do you suggest?
Yeast!? on April 07, 2014:
With all due respect, who do you call when your system fails? The septic guys have everything to gain by spreading misinformation. Myths about how to maintain septic tanks are common nationwide, and you'll probably get a different answer from every dozen people you ask. Do your research and you'll find that I'm not misleading you. My father-in-law is a septic guy, and I know most of the tricks. He doesn't charge me to pump my tank, and he does not like pumping tanks for free, so he wants my tank to work right for a very long time. I also live in a very low area so his suggestions on how to handle the washing machine water is so he doesn't need to aerate my soil or pump my tank again any time soon.
Also, septic tanks installed before 1992 are much more likely to cause problems as the earlier tanks did not contain baffles which block surface debris from getting into your field line.
Just like in every other profession there are good people and those whom are not so good and I do believe your septic guy falls into the latter of the two groups, as the advice he's given you benefits nobody but himself, draining your wallet in the process.
There are some good reference sites online that can really be relied on; and I'm not talking comments posted on some site that is designed to let the general public answer questions; I'm talking good people who specialize in septic systems and whom have nothing to lose by giving you good solid info. Sun Plumbing for instance is a good source for good solid info; and no , I'm not affiliated with them in any way, but I know the info posted on their site is 100% accurate.
Hopefully you'll take time to do the research so your readers can be 100% sure that you're not just another link in the misinformation chain that continues to plague this topic. It's not rocket science, it's just basic science and a little common sense.
Shauna L Bowling (author) from Central Florida on April 06, 2014:
Yeast?, my septic guy told me to use yeast once a month to keep everything moving and breaking down. I do like your suggestion regarding a supplemental filter for the washing machine. Thanx for your input!
Yeast!? on April 05, 2014:
Yeast is a fungi, not bacteria. Bacteria is what makes the septic system/septic tank work. It's the same bacteria that works in the human stomach & intestine. You don't need to add anything to your septic tank to make it work. Chemicals & grease can damage the bacteria that already live there, so be aware of what you're putting down your drain and don't overdo with bleach, grease, or other household chemicals. If your tank doesn't need to be pumped any sooner than 5 years then it's working perfectly. The less chemicals & grease you put down the drain the longer your tank can go without needing to be pumped.
Also, waste water from the washing machine can & will cause problems in your field line due to the amount of unnatural materials found in modern clothes. These minute fibers are so small they don't sink to the bottom of the tank, they float. Fibers from polyester or nylon for instance will clog up the perforated holes in your field lines and plug up the pores in your drain soil, which in turn will cause your system to back up over time. Even doing many loads of laundry all at once, rather than doing a single load each day, can cause major problems in your septic system - by putting too much water in the tank at a high rate of speed the solids don't get to settle like they are supposed to, which flushes them out into the drain field. A good measure to take is installing a supplemental lint filter on the washing machine, which only takes a few minutes and does not cost a fortune.
Adding yeast to the tank does absolutely nothing to improve tank performance. Big companies like Rid-X love to make people believe they need to add things to the tank for them to work properly, and they've made billions selling these bogus products to the many sheeple in this world. The truth is, you are wasting your time & money to buy these products or to buy yeast for your tank.
Shauna L Bowling (author) from Central Florida on December 27, 2013:
Awesome, Karlena. You only need to do each treatment once a month. The vinegar and water doesn't really need to be done monthly unless you experience backups. Also be sure to use septic safe toilet paper. Angel Soft is septic safe. Be sure to read the labels. A lot of off-brands are also septic safe and will state such on the packaging.
I'm so pleased I was able to help you with this post!
Karlena on December 27, 2013:
Thanks for posting this! We live out in the country with a well and septic and I've been wondering what to use for our septic. I've made our household a GREEN household, so this is perfect.
I'm doing the H2O & Vinegar tonight and the yeast tomorrow!
Thanks again :)
Shauna L Bowling (author) from Central Florida on November 12, 2013:
Use the yeast packets, Crafty. You'll save money - trust me - I learned the hard way! Do the vinegar trick, too. It works!
CraftytotheCore on November 12, 2013:
This makes total sense. We have a septic system too and it's a pain to dig it up. It's expensive to have someone come out to clean it out. I would have never thought such an easy and inexpensive ingredient would keep everything good. Amazing!
Shauna L Bowling (author) from Central Florida on July 04, 2013:
If your toilets and sinks drain to a septic system, it'll work. It's safer than using chemicals.
caryl on July 04, 2013:
Is this for RV's too
Shauna L Bowling (author) from Central Florida on April 23, 2013:
Thank you Carrie. I'll check out the link you included in your comment.
Shauna L Bowling (author) from Central Florida on March 19, 2013:
Kj, thank you for bringing HubLife back to this piece. I appreciate your comment and agree with you regarding living green everywhere we can incorporate the lifestyle!
kjforce from Florida on March 19, 2013:
bravewarrior..very good advice/well written, especially to those of us who strive to live " green "..Also people sometimes don't realize chemicals can sit in the pipes and cause fumes which back up into the air we breathe and that causes health risks.. I am an advocate for all natural whenever possible not just cleaning, but ingesting ,wearing and applying to the body.. Thank you for addressing this issue...
Shauna L Bowling (author) from Central Florida on February 23, 2013:
Your so welcome, Annie. So many simple household items (most found in the kitchen) can replace expensive chemicals and cleaners.
wabash annie from Colorado Front Range on February 23, 2013:
Thanks so much for your suggestions. We also have a septic system and have had one since 1964. I buy white vinegar and also yeast in quantities but have not used them as you recommended. I will bookmark this hub so that I can refer to it. Again, thanks for sharing these ideas ... Annie
Shauna L Bowling (author) from Central Florida on January 18, 2013:
Shiela, I'm so glad you found this useful. Septic problems can be quite costly!
Sheila Brown from Southern Oklahoma on January 18, 2013:
This is so good to know! Living in the country, we havea septic tank too. It has not had any problems yet, but it is always better to maintain something rather than wait for the problem. I will be buying vinegar and yeast at the store tomorrow! Thanks for the great tip! Voted up, useful and pinning! Have a wonderful day! :)
Shauna L Bowling (author) from Central Florida on January 08, 2013:
Lastheart, septic tanks are such a pain - and an expense! I'm glad this helped and thanx for sharing!
Maria Magdalena Ruiz O'Farrill from Borikén the great land of the valiant and noble Lord on January 08, 2013:
bravewarrior living in Puerto Rico I guess you ought to know that many of us become slaves of our septic tanks. Thanks I am sharing this in facebook.
Shauna L Bowling (author) from Central Florida on December 30, 2012:
Love to hear it, Grandmapearl! So many of our household items can be used for purposes other than the obvious.