Plumbers 911 - Vermont
12 Sep

Laundry disinfectants can damage your Vermont septic system

In the era of COVID, many people are turning to laundry disinfectants designed to kill pathogens on impact. They believe these detergents provide enhanced sanitation to prevent disease and stem the spread of the virus.

Unfortunately, numerous studies have revealed these detergents offer little to no added protection when preventing the spread of COVID-19 or other diseases. Worse, these disinfectants can harm the bacteria in your septic system and cause expensive and disgusting problems down the line.

While laundry disinfectants will ruin your septic system, there are safer, eco-friendly alternatives that will not only clean your items but not damage your system.

Suppose you have problems with your septic tank. In that case, call Plumbers 911 Vermont and receive a referral to a licensed plumber who can inspect your system and restore the proper bacterial balance.

What are laundry disinfectants?

Laundry disinfectants kill illness-causing bacteria and viruses and are found in certain detergents and pre-treatments. These commercial products can come with or without bleach and claim to kill 99.9 percent of bacteria.

However, numerous studies prove laundry disinfectants do little to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the flu, the cold or other common viruses.

The good news is your laundry’s wash cycle can be highly effective at neutralizing these viruses and preventing the spread of sickness.

How laundry disinfectants can impact a septic system

Overall, laundry disinfectants can be highly effective at killing various bacteria, creating a problem with your septic system. 

Various active bacteria live inside your septic tank and work to break down the solid waste and eliminate pathogens in your wastewater. Laundry disinfectants, however, kill this good bacteria, resulting in serious clogs, backup and wastewater overflow. 

The dangers of bleach on a septic system

Like laundry disinfectants, bleach can also kill the beneficial bacteria in your septic system. Bleach can safely be used in small amounts on a large load of laundry every once in a while. Still, too much bleach can accumulate in your septic system and cause problems, no matter how diluted it becomes. Bleach is not a chemical you should pour down your septic system regularly. 

One powerful, yet safe alternative to bleach, is Borax.

Avoid QUATS in household cleaning products

Ammonium quaternary compounds (QUATs) are in many cleaning products, such as toilet bowl cleaners. They can irritate your skin and lungs and cause severe damage to your septic system. The EPA has registered QUATS as a pesticide. You will often find them listed as active ingredients on various cleaning products.

There are over a dozen QUATS, but a few to look out for include: 

  • Didecyldimethylammonium chloride
  • Ammonium chloride
  • Tetraethylammonium bromide

Safe cleaning alternatives

Suppose you want to increase your laundry’s cleanliness without harming your septic system. Simply washing your clothes in hot water is effective at minimizing the spread of germs and bacteria. You can also use the sanitize cycle on your washing machine, eliminating 99 percent of the bacteria in clothes.

Septic system problems? Call Plumbers 911 Vermont

If you have septic system problems, perhaps caused by the overuse of laundry disinfectants, call Plumbers 911 Vermont. A Vermont plumbing contractor can assess the situation and restore the bacterial balance to ensure your septic system is in top-performing condition. 

All our Vermont Licensed Plumbers are highly trained and vetted. They are drug tested, insured and bonded. Call Plumbers 911 Vermont for a trusted Licensed Plumber today!

To all our friends and customers regarding COVID-19

We will get through this together To say we are living in “unprecedented” challenging times would be an understatement. We hope this finds you and your family safe and healthy. We would like to list a few pieces of information and websites that we think will be helpful for you during this time.

  • To get the most current information on the COVID-19 virus, please check the CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention) website at:
  • icon showing hand under faucet with large water droplets falling on hand Please wash your hands frequently. Washing with soap and water for twenty seconds is the preferred method, however when water is not available, please use an alcohol based hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol.
  • icon of person covering mouth while coughing and a border separating from displeased person close by Practice social distancing by staying at least six feet away from another person.
  • For those of you with children that are looking for something fun to do, there are virtual field trips you can take with your kids that are fun and educational. Here is a link:

Plumbers are considered essential workers during this time and we will continue to work as our number one priority is to “protect the health of the nation.” Stay well, stay safe and we will get through this together.

Your Friends at Plumbers 911

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