Fabric Softeners and your Septic System

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Crews Environmental

Fabric Softeners and your Septic System

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Dirty clothes basket with towels waiting for laundry with washing machine in backround

If you haven’t looked at our blog articles, you don’t know that we are extremely passionate about water quality and using the right products that help to best maintain the balance of your septic system. We’ve spoken about cleaning products before and avoiding unnecessary chemicals in your septic tank that could interfere with the natural biological process that helps your system break down the waste that goes through your pipes and into your system. But what products could you be using that could be impacting your septic system? Fabric softeners can have a negative effect on your septic system. Here’s what you need to know:

What’s in fabric softener?
Fabric softeners are intended to keep our clothes soft. This is done by the fabric softener coating our clothes in a small layer of slimy chemicals that are electrically charged. Here’s a short list of the harmful chemicals in your fabric softener:

      • Petroleum products
      • Silicone-based anti-foaming agents
      • Fragrances and colors (allergens)
      • Phthalates and synthetic musks (hormone disruptors)

How do fabric softeners impact your septic system?
In addition to the harmful chemicals in fabric softener, the product is also pretty harmful to your septic system. Fabric softeners include ammonium compounds that have antibacterial properties. While this is great for keeping your clothes clean, it can wreak havoc on the good bacteria that does all the work inside your septic tank, advanced treatment unit and soil dispersal system. Petroleum products can be potentially toxic to natural microbes in septic systems.

What can I use instead?
Eliminating chemical fabric softener from your laundry regimen doesn’t mean that you’ll never have soft clothes again. You can still get softer clothes and even lock in color by using a half cup of grain-derived white vinegar.

Keeping chemicals out of your home isn’t just good for your septic system, it’s also good for your family. Take time to learn about the ingredients inside your household products and choose natural or even DIY alternatives that are typically just as effective.

For more information about cleaning up your routine surrounding your septic system and water use, please visit our blog.  

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