Call us today! (973) 887-1334
Same Day Service

Top 7 Things That Will Damage Your Septic System

toilet not trash can

Whether you have a sewer or septic system, it’s important to know what not to send down your drains.
Flushing items that aren’t biodegradable down your drain has the potential to damage your septic system, but there are seven types of items that are particularly harmful to your septic system:

Drain Cleaners & Other Chemicals

While household drain cleaners might boast powerful cleaning capabilities, they often cause more harm than good, so it’s better to just call for professional drain cleaning.
Antibacterial cleaners can work against your septic tank, which uses good bacteria to break down waste and keep your system running smoothly.

In addition to liquid drain cleaners, homeowners should avoid flushing other heavy chemicals, such as:

  • Household cleaners
  • Gasoline
  • Insect or weed killers

Sending any harsh chemicals or cleaners down your drain won’t just harm your septic system. It can also contaminate your soil and water supply. Dispose of these chemicals safely and use eco-friendly products whenever possible.

Flushable Wipes

Even though the label reads “flushable,” you should never send cotton wipes down your drains. Wipes are not biodegradable and will build up over time, clogging your septic system and causing severe plumbing problems.

Avoid putting other cotton-based products down your drains for the same reason, including:

  • Tampons and sanitary napkins
  • Cotton balls and swabs
  • Diapers
  • Paper towels

Grease, Fat & Oil

Grease and oil don’t break down like water and waste. Pouring grease down the drain will only end in a clog, making it difficult for anything to pass through safely. You could also risk a sewer line clog resulting in sewage backup that wreaks havoc on your system.

Instead of sending grease, fats, and oils down your drain, pour these materials into a can where they can safely solidify and be thrown in the garbage. You can also wipe your pans clean with a paper towel to ensure they are free of any greasy debris that could clog your drains.

Cat Litter

If you have a cat at home, don’t make the costly mistake of flushing litter down the drain. Most cat litter expands in liquid, making it extremely dangerous to flush down the drain.

You shouldn’t even flush biodegradable and flushable kitty litter. It’s not worth the risk to your septic system!


You shouldn’t flush pills, capsules, or liquid medication down your drains either.

These materials won’t just clog your drains and pipes but can also corrode your system over time. Dispose of medications properly by throwing them away in the trash.

Food Waste

Sending food items down your drains is never a good idea. If your home relies on a septic tank, even using a garbage disposal can end up causing problems for your system. While any food waste is risky, the following items are particularly hazardous:

  • Coffee grounds
  • Starchy foods, such as rice, potatoes, etc.
  • Fibrous foods, such as broccoli, celery, etc.
  • Eggshells


Anything you’d typically throw in the garbage should not be flushed down your drains. This includes anything from cigarette butts to dental floss and contact lenses.

When in doubt, opt for the trash can instead of your drain pipes. Your septic system will thank you!

When To Contact a Plumber for Septic System Repair or Maintenance

Mistakes happen, and avoiding sending dangerous materials down your drain isn’t always possible.

If you have pesky drain clogs, don’t try to clear them yourself. When you notice signs of multiple drain clogs or sewage backups in your home, it’s time to contact a professional for septic system repair or maintenance.

At Russo Bros. & Co., our plumbers have the skills and experience to resolve even the toughest septic system service requests.

Request hydro jetting or septic system repair or maintenance for your home by contacting our team at (973) 887-1334 today!

24-Hour Live Operators

(973) 887-1334
  • Mike was extremely courteous, took the time needed and thought through every possible solution to solve our problem. Thanks Mike!

    - Deborah W.
  • As always, Russo Bros responds promptly. Their technicians are thorough & efficient. It's a pleasure to do business with them.

    - Jeff G.
  • We have always been satisfied, as well as, impressed by the responsive, competent, and courteous service by Russo Brothers and…

    - Paul T.


Basic Safety Check-Up

Expires 03/31/2023

Indoor Air Quality Special

Remi Halo air purifier, Only $1,119 (savings of $300)

Expires 03/31/2023

$250 OFF

Any service over $1,000

Expires 03/31/2023

$50 OFF

Any plumbing or HVAC service

Expires 03/31/2023

Save $30

on Drain Maid featuring BioSmart 62oz liquid or 2lb powder

Expires 03/31/2023

$79 AC

AC Tune- Up

Expires 03/31/2023
Recent Articles
Is March the Best Time for an AC Tune-Up?

March may come in like a lion and out like a lamb but complete your HVAC tune-up this month, and you’re smart as a fox! March can be one of the best...

Read More