The Things That Can Cause a Septic Tank to Backup

One of the most common issues we confront on a weekly basis is backed up septic tanks. While people have the best of intentions, they frequently throw things down the drain that simply shouldn’t go down there; and in the more specific instances where we’re talking about a septic tank being on the receiving end of the drain, well – there are just a lot of things you can’t do.

And that’s what we’re here to do today. Here are the things that can cause your septic tank to back up and why you should never throw them down the drain. Let’s jump right in. 


The one thing you should never, ever, under ANY circumstances throw down your sink is grease. Period. Grease coagulates when it hits water, which means it starts to harden and form a firm substance inside your pipes. Eventually, it’ll clog your pipes completely and begin overflowing everything – from your sinks and toilets to even your shower.

We won’t go any further than that, because we think you get the picture. 

Certain chemicals

Part of what makes a septic tank work is that it builds up bacteria that breaks down waste. When you mess with that composition, it ceases to function properly. And that’s what many kinds of chemical substances are capable of doing. Bleach, antibacterial soaps and other cleaning agents will kill the living bacteria in your septic tank – and it’ll cause the tank to fill up more quickly and even potentially back up. Needless to say, you don’t want this. 

Things that shouldn’t be flushed down the toilet

Not to get too gross, but people toss non-toilet paper things down the drain all the time. Tampons, condoms, paper towels – are all things that are not meant to go down a drain and can cause more problems than they’re worth once they get into your septic tank. These are substances that also can’t get broken down by the bacteria in the tank, so once they’re in there, they don’t decompose and just end up taking up space. Be mindful that the only things that should go down a toilet are you know what and toilet paper. That’s it. 

Hopefully you found today’s blog helpful. This should give you a clear idea of what not to throw down the drain. If you need help with any issues pertaining to your septic tank, feel free to give us a call today. Until then, good luck!