How to Break Down Solids in a Septic Tank: 5 Easy Options

If you are a homeowner, one of the most unpleasant issues may be the septic tank issue for you. Who can stay happy when the septic system creates a bad odor or clogged drain? But wait, it’s not the system responsible for these conditions. It’s you who are ignoring the issues for a long time, making the system unable to do its job. The only way to reverse the condition is to break the sludge and clean the tank. Let’s discuss how to break down solids in a septic tank to keep it feasible.

There are several options for you to follow for the septic tank treatment. It is wise to know about all the possible solutions and choose the best one for your septic system.

How to Break Down Solids in a Septic Tank

5 Easy Ways to Break Down the Solid Waste of a Septic Tank

The reason for breaking down the ground layer of sludge is to make sure the system works the way it should. Here I will share five simple ways to keep your septic system in an optimum stage by breaking down the solid wastes:

1. Home Remedies

You can use some home remedies to break down the waste materials of the septic tank. It is a cheaper option and at the same time effective, too. You will just need to flush ¼-½ cup of baking yeast down to your toilet.

The yeast will help to loosen the sludge and eat away the wastes. Avoid using any dishwasher or shower immediately after using the remedy, otherwise, the solution won’t do the job properly, it will wash away.

2. Septic Stirring

This method will work well for minor waste build-up. The process is simple– breaking the solid waste using a long tool or stick. If you want to try this method, you will need to do it more frequently than other methods. It will prevent the sludge from settling to the bottom.

3. Backflushing

The process of sucking the wastewater out of the septic tank using a wet vacuum and then spraying it back again is known as the backflushing method. The purpose of following the trick is to break down some of the waste solid with the help of the water force.

You will need the necessary equipment for doing the task, or you can make a schedule for the professionals.

4. Store-Bought Remedies

You can use store-bought additives to break down the sludge and clean the tank. It is wise to flush these products after consultation with professionals as some additives may harm your tank. They will help you to choose the right one for the tank.

Here are some of the options that you can choose for your septic system:

  • Hydrogen Peroxide: It was a popular product for septic system treatment. But, recent studies have shown that it compromises the viability of the drain field and degrades the soil content.

However, if it is properly diluted, it does not do any harm to the bacteria present in the tank. It is not recommended to use hydrogen peroxide as a long-term treatment.

  • Organic Solvents: Organic solvents like methylene chloride,  chlorinated hydrocarbons, trichloroethylene, etc are used to degrade grease and oils. You can use these solvents in your septic tank treatment to break down the grease, fats, oils, and other materials present at the bottom.

The downside is, they may also break down the bacterial ecosystem of the tank.

  • Inorganic acid and alkali: This option is considered harmful for the septic system because acid and alkali are powerful compounds.

Although inorganic acids like sulfuric acid can create holes through any clog, they can decrease the anaerobic digestion of solid wastes by killing the bacteria.

  • Biological Additives: Extracellular enzymes, bacteria are biological additives. They are considered as the only acceptable products for promoting the breakdown of solid waste. It also helps to grow a healthy bacterial ecosystem and does not create any plumbing issue.

However, you should avoid flushing extra-strong enzymes to your septic tank, it may be harmful for the existing bacterial action.

These are the products that are commonly used for septic tank treatment. Some additives are banned in some areas for their harmful effects, that’s why you should always do some research before flushing any additives to the septic system.

5. Periodic Pumping

No matter how much you try to keep your septic tank in a good condition, the tank will still be filled with sludge over time. And that’s when you need to pump the tank to remove the excess solid build up. This is the most effective way to extend the lifespan of the tank.

These are the five ways you can follow to break down the solid build up of the septic tank. It is better to keep the septic tank full of not more than 25%. When 50% of the tank is full, you should look for professionals to pump your septic tank.

How to maximize the lifespan of a septic tank?

There are some easy stepping you can follow to extend the life of the tank, such as—

  • Limit the usage of wastewater when it is not necessary,
  • Follow a proper schedule to pump the tank
  • Avoid flushing any inorganic materials like diapers, to prevent clogging.

How the sludge is removed from the septic system?

During wastewater treatment, some sewage is received by the plants. The digested or break down solids pass through the dewatering step. And, dried solids are discarded. That’s how the sludge is removed.

Can I use vinegar for the septic system?

Yes, you can, but it won’t work as well as the other methods. Vinegar will help to control the growth of mold. It is a natural and mild ingredient, and safe foe the septic system.

Read More: Is Ridex Good for Septic Tanks


You should not ignore the septic system issues as the minor issues can create serious problems. We all know how important it is to keep the septic tank in good condition, but sometimes we can not understand what to put in septic tank to break down solids. I hope this article will help to cure your queries.

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