Is Bleach Safe for Your Septic SystemWe all love a clean, sparkling house. We also love septic systems that work and work well. If you own a septic system, you know how delicate the system can be.  You might be wondering, Can I still Use Bleach If I Have A Septic System? 

Chlorine does more than restoring your whites and getting out tough stains, it also acts as a sanitizer. Sanitizers are designed to eliminate bacteria and viruses — including in your septic tank.

Bacteria in your septic tank need to thrive in order for the system to operate correctly. But, misuse and overuse of Bleach may be killing them off.

Moderate use of bleach will not throw your septic system out of balance. Moderate use is the amount used in one normal size load of laundry (3/4 cup) or the amount used in an application of toilet bowl cleaner. Here are a few tips to keep your house clean and septic system safe.

Bleach and the Laundry

Bleach. It can take stained whites and have them look like new again, almost instantly. Using bleach comes at a cost—your septic system. Small amounts in a large load of laundry has less of an impact on your septic system. The bleach dilutes in a large amount of water, making it less potent.

Things to avoid when using bleach in the laundry are:

  • Running multiple white loads back to back.
  • Using more bleach than recommended.

Bleach used in your laundry, no matter how diluted, will accumulate so don’t over use.

Bleach and Bathrooms

No one enjoys cleaning the bathroom or toilets. It is one of the reasons the most popular cleaning accessories for bathrooms are clip-on discs that hug the side of the toilet bowl. They release a rush of chlorine into the bowl with every flush.

While they great for keeping the inside of the toilet sparkling clean, they can also harm your septic system. Depending on how often the toilet is flushed and the water capacity of the tank, that little rush of chlorine is killing off the bacteria—and fast.

When it comes to cleaning the shower, the easiest way to kill off mold and mildew is with a good scrubbing. But, don’t go straight for the gallon jug of high concentration bleach. Just wiping down the tiles or letting the shower “soak” in straight bleach can hurt your septic system. Yes, your grandma washed the house (even the sidewalks) with straight bleach, but times have changed. Your delicate septic system cannot stand up to a rush of straight bleach.

Look for the same product, minus the bleach or with low concentration levels. These alternate products will give you the same shine with little effort without the harmful effects on your septic system.

Chlorine and the Kitchen

When it comes to your countertops, cleanliness isn’t just for looks, it is for safety too. If you are cooking in your kitchen, it needs to be clean.

When trusting the safety of your food it can be hard to trust alternates for bleach. However large amounts are also bad for humans, meaning most kitchen cleaners containing bleach have a low concentration.

Start searching for cleaning products with more organic materials to reduce the impact on your septic system.

Bleach Alternatives For Homes With Septic Systems

What are these mystical alternate products we speak of? Some of them may surprise you—because you already own them. Bleach alternates include:

  • Hydrogen Peroxide. Don’t let the name fool you, hydrogen peroxide is a non-toxic disinfectant.
  • Baking Soda. Great for breaking down those pesky stains in the laundry or the mildew in your shower.
  • Vinegar. A natural sanitizer.
  • Lemon Juice.
  • Tea Tree Oil.

The best use? Easy to create mixtures that act the same way as name brand products.

Chlorine Bleach and Septic Systems Video


Bleach is used all over your household. But, your septic system does not approve. Limit the number of bleach products you use, how often you use them, and eliminate any highly concentrated products from your cleaning routine.