How often do you think about the environment when doing your laundry?

If you are like most people, probably not very often. It’s one of those things that has become so ingrained in our daily routine that it doesn’t even cross our minds anymore.

But did you know that the chemicals in your favorite laundry detergent could be harming your septic systems which sometimes lead to polluted waterways and clogged pipes?

Thousands of Americans have been noticing strange changes to their local water sources over the last few decades, and some of these changes might be traced back to laundry detergents containing harmful chemicals.

In this blog post, we will discuss how harmful laundry detergents really are to septic systems and the environment as well as outline the best laundry detergent for septic systems.

What is a septic system?

A septic system is a water and sewage treatment system installed beneath a house, building, or isolated community. The wastewater from the house or building goes into a septic tank, which then transports it to an underground leach field, where it naturally decomposes.

A septic system is more than just flushing toilets, washing dishes, and cleaning laundry.

In fact, a proper septic system is vital to the safety and health of all those living on or around it because it prevents wastewater from polluting ground and surface water.

Damaged and neglected septic systems can lead to a slew of issues, ranging from clogged pipes to unclean environments.

One of the reasons why a septic system can become damaged is the use of commercial laundry detergents.

Why are laundry detergents not safe for septic systems?

Laundry soap or detergents are mainly used to clean clothes and remove stains. As with most commercial cleaning products, laundry detergents are made from harmful chemicals which can cause negative effects to septic systems and eventually, the environment.

The main issue with chemical-containing laundry detergents is that they might clog a septic system, causing problems with wastewater treatment. Powder laundry detergents, for example, are notorious for blocking water pipes since the chemicals in these products are difficult to break down into small particles. When they are released outside of water systems, they become caught up in the ground or surface water.

Many commercial detergents are also excessively alkaline. This simply means that they can harm the bacteria that break down waste in a septic system causing it to function less effectively or even fail altogether.

Additionally, the chemicals from these products also cause corrosion on metal surfaces like pipes, tanks, drain fields, and leach lines.

Laundry soap also lowers the pH levels in our drains and pipes which can eventually lead to an overflow situation where all of your wastewater flows right into a nearby water source. This leads to polluted waterways as well as clogs inside your home – not good!

How can you protect your septic system from being damaged by laundry detergents?

Using a septic-safe laundry detergent that does not contain any hazardous chemicals is one of the greatest ways to keep a septic system from being compromised. When buying, search for laundry detergents that do not contain the following ingredients, as they might cause septic tank damage.


This type of chemical found in laundry detergents and dishwashing liquids kills bacteria and other organisms that break down organic materials in septic tanks. It also reduces the water’s ability to allow for proper filtration and waste breakdown which contributes to algae growth and waterway pollution.

Sodium Hypochlorite

Sodium Hypochlorite, also known as bleach, is a toxic chemical that kills the bacteria in septic tanks and can cause them to fail. This is because bleach has the capacity to corrode metal surfaces and eventually damage the tank, leading to blockage, contamination, and overflow.

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS)

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (or SLS) is a surfactant that helps to create bubbles in laundry and dishwasher soaps. Unfortunately, this chemical can also cause damage to septic systems as it reduces the ability of water to be absorbed through soils which leads wastewater into nearby waterways when they are not cleaned properly.

Additionally, you should also ditch powdered laundry soaps and opt for liquid laundry detergent and pods. This is because powdered products tend to be more concentrated and therefore harder for your septic system to break down.

Liquid laundry detergents are less likely to cause damage since they contain smaller concentrations of chemicals. Meanwhile, detergent pods are specifically designed to dissolve in water and break down easily, making them a safer option.

Best Laundry Detergent For Septic Systems

Fortunately, there are plenty of safe laundry detergents out there that can keep your septic tank healthy and safe.

We’ve listed down 11 of the best laundry detergents for septic systems for you to check out:

Arm & Hammer Laundry Detergent

Arm & Hammer is one of the best septic tank-safe laundry detergents out there as it is made from natural and biodegradable ingredients. This detergent also contains an enzyme that helps to break down stains as well as dirt which works just as well with other brands. It also works to prevent the buildup of residue which can harm your septic tank.

Seventh Generation Natural Laundry Detergent

The Seventh generation detergent is free from harsh chemicals so it’s safe for your septic system. It has a triple enzyme formula that works to break down dirt, stains, and odors while being phosphate-free and hypoallergenic.

Ecos Laundry Detergent

If you’re looking for a toxin-free but effective laundry detergent with a built-in fabric softener, then Ecos is the one to go with. This plant-based and vegan detergent can get rid of tough stains while being gentle on your clothes as well as our planet.

Ecos is also packed with ingredients that fight foul odors, keeping your clothes smelling fresh and clean throughout the day.

Charlie’s Soap Laundry

Charlie’s Soap is a plant-based and phosphate-free laundry detergent that works to break down dirt, grease, oil and more. It is also free from scents, dyes, and artificial additives so it’s kind to sensitive skin as well as Mother Earth.

Dropps Laundry Detergent Pods

Dropps Laundry Detergent Pods are pre-measured, easy to use, and straightforward. They’re also made with plant-based and naturally derived ingredients so they’re safe for your septic system.

This product has been recommended by plumbers and homeowners alike because of its ability to get rid of tough stains while being safe for septic systems.

Dropps Laundry Detergent Pods are also free from dyes, perfumes, enzymes as well as formaldehyde which means they won’t irritate your skin.

Dr. Bronner’s Pure-Castile Liquid Soap

Dr. Bronner’s Pure-Castile Liquid Soap is made from organic and fair trade ingredients that are good for you and your septic tank.

This product is versatile and can be used as a body wash, shampoo, dish soap, laundry detergent, or even to clean your home.

This gentle soap also comes in different scents including peppermint, lavender, and rose so it can keep clothes smelling great while being gentle on sensitive skin types.

Mrs. Meyers Liquid Laundry Detergent

Mrs. Meyers Liquid Laundry Detergent is a septic-safe laundry detergent that works great for all kinds of fabrics including your delicates! It’s also made with natural ingredients and essential oils so it smells great while being nontoxic to the planet.

This product is also biodegradable and phosphate-free which means it won’t damage your septic tank. Mrs. Meyers is also free from harsh chemicals such as chlorine bleach which makes it an ideal brand for all skin types, especially those that have sensitive skin!

Biokleen Laundry Detergent

Biokleen Laundry Detergent doesn’t contain sodium laureth sulfate, dyes or artificial fragrances.

It’s made with plant-based enzymes so it breaks down dirt and stains on your clothes while also being safe for the environment.

Just like other brands mentioned in this post, this product is free from toxic chemicals such as chlorine bleach making it one of the best septic safe laundry detergents for septic systems.

Grandma’s Non-Detergent Laundry Soap

Grandma’s Non-Detergent Laundry Soap is a great laundry detergent for sensitive skin types because it is made from all-natural ingredients. In fact, this detergent is ideal for babies, kids, and those that are suffering from skin irritations because of its gentle formulation.

Ingredients Matter Laundry Detergent Soap Powder – Most Recommended

Last but not the least, the Ingredients Matter Laundry Detergent Soap Powder!

Among the brands in this list, this one is our favorite! Ingredients Matter Laundry Detergent is a concentrated laundry detergent that works to get rid of tough stains while being gentle on the environment and the septic system. It contains zero synthetic ingredients and is made from plant-based ingredients and essential oils so it smells great!

It is hypoallergenic and contains no dyes, perfumes, or harsh chemicals which means it won’t trigger skin irritations and allergies. Plus, it is kind to the environment!

The soap’s powerful and natural formula breaks down dirt as well as other stubborn stains including grease, dirt, and oil making it a powerful stain remover for all types of clothes.

Plus, it works just as well as other commercial liquid detergents that have toxic chemicals!

Ingredients Matter Laundry Detergent Soap Powder is biodegradable, phosphate-free, and can be used on all kinds of fabrics.


Using laundry detergents with harmful chemicals can cause damage to your septic system. There are numerous septic tank-safe laundry detergents out there that work just as well as their commercial counterparts.

With that being said, it’s best to opt for a plant-based formula or one made with natural ingredients like Ingredients Matter products so they’re kinder to the environment as well as you!

We hope this blog post helped you understand just how dangerous using conventional laundry detergents are not just in the environment but as well as the pipes and clogs in our home.

If there are other tips you’d like to know on how to keep your septic system clean while also keeping the environment green and safe, please let us know in the comments section below!