Doing laundry is a constant drag. It always needs to be done before you expect, and it always seems to take longer than it should. But, there are ways to make it more rewarding, right? How about a product that makes clothes softer, and better smelling? That’s the idea behind fabric softener, but it comes with an unexpected danger for those who own septic systems. Do you know if your favorite fabric softener is harming your septic system?
Is Your Fabric Softener Damaging your Septic System?
Fabric softener doesn’t work its magic gently, even if it makes clothes feel softer. The chemicals involved in making fabric softener can be quite toxic to humans, and some can even bleach your clothes with too much concentration. Even if you get the amount right, and keep your softener stored safely out of the reach of little hands, your septic system will probably disagree with your washing machine’s drainage.
pH adjusters, formaldehyde, and diethylester dimethyl ammonium chloride—the main ingredient in many fabric softeners—can all damage or destroy the bacterial ecosystem that processes solid waste. With that ecosystem compromised, waste builds up and your septic tank fills up faster, threatening you with slow drains at best and sewage backup at worst.
What Fabric Softeners are Septic Safe?
If you still want to use fabric softener, do diligent research about what is available. Read ingredient lists, and search for reviews from other septic owners. Neighbors who also own septic systems might have some helpful insights.
Consider adding a half-cup of distilled vinegar to your washer to help keep clothes fresh. The smell won’t transfer into your clothes, as the rinse cycle washes it all away. Don’t add too much, or the acidity of the water draining out of your machine could be damaging to your septic system too.