5 Best Septic-Safe Toilet Cleaners (Avoid Expensive Fixes)
Last Updated on September 8, 2023 by toilethaven
What Cleaning Products Can I Use on a Septic Tank?
For anyone on a septic system, the need to use a septic-safe toilet cleaner cannot be overemphasized. There are so many products out in the market being advertised as “septic-safe,” but the truth of the matter is that most are far from it.
Septic systems depend on billions of bacteria in the septic tank to break down the waste, allowing the solid waste (sludge) to settle at the bottom and the effluent to flow out.
Choosing a septic-safe toilet cleaner is not always easy. You want to make sure that you buy a cleaner that will do what it is meant to do, which is cleaning the toilet thoroughly but at the same time not negatively affecting the working of your septic system.
So, what cleaning products can you use with a septic tank? And which ones should you not use? Let us start by looking at toilet cleaners that are safe to use on a septic system.
The 5 Best Septic-Safe Toilet Cleaners are:
- 1. Green Works Toilet Bowl Cleaner
- 2. Seventh Generation Toilet Bowl Cleaner
- 3. Eco-me Natural Toilet Bowl Cleaner
- 4. Better Life Natural Toilet Bowl Cleaner
- 5. Ecover Toilet Cleaner
|1. Green Works Toilet Bowl Cleaner||Unscented||24 Ounces|
|2. Seventh Generation Toilet Bowl Cleaner||Cypress and Fir||32 Ounces|
|3. Eco-me Natural Toilet Bowl Cleaner||Herbal mint||32 Ounces|
|4. Better Life Natural Toilet Bowl Cleaner||Tea tree and peppermint||24 Ounces|
|5. Ecover Toilet Cleaner||Pine||25 Ounces|
Why Does a Septic-Safe Toilet Cleaner Matter?
Choosing a septic-safe toilet cleaner has 2 main benefits. The first one will impact you on a personal level, while the other will affect the natural ecosystem.
Most toilets and other drain cleaners contain chemicals like bleach. While bleach provides an excellent way of stain removal, its presence in the septic tank spells danger to the useful bacteria there.
As a result, waste entering the septic tank will not be broken down as fast as it should, leading to clogging of drainpipes. If not fixed in time, the waste will start backing up in your toilet or any other fixture in the house, like tubs, showers, and sinks.
Another advantage of using a septic-safe toilet cleaner is that they are Eco-friendly. Septic tanks do not have a way of removing/treating any chemicals present in the waste.
These chemicals, therefore, flow out of the septic, mixed with the effluent, and seep down to the groundwater. The groundwater is linked to water bodies that support lots of aquatic life that will, as a result, be affected by the chemicals.
Characteristics of a Septic-Safe Toilet Cleaner
So, what makes a certain toilet bowl cleaner septic-safe and another one unsafe? Or rather, what would help you as a person on a septic system know which toilet cleaner is safe to use and which one is unsafe? The following are some of the things that you should look out for:
If something is biodegradable, it can be broken down into tiny pieces, in this case by the septic tank bacteria. Buying a biodegradable toilet cleaner means that it can safely undergo decomposition inside the septic tank without harming the bacteria.
Non-biodegradable toilet cleaners will either build up in the septic tank or simply flow out of the tank and penetrate through the ground, further poisoning the groundwater.
A good way of knowing whether a toilet bowl cleaner is biodegradable is by checking out its active ingredients. Plant-based formulas are organic and, therefore, biodegradable.
2. Certified by Environmental Bodies
There are many governmental and non-governmental organizations that champion the use of environmentally safe/sustainable products. One of the ways they do this is by certifying Eco-friendly products in a bid to sensitize consumers.
Most septic-safe toilet cleaners will most likely be certified by one of these bodies. Check out the description of each cleaner to see if there is anything to that effect prior to buying it. Don’t just listen to the manufacturer’s advertisement gimmicks.
Natural cleaning products are made of at least 95% natural ingredients without going through a process that significantly alters those ingredients. The natural ingredients are almost 100% plant-based.
Using a natural septic toilet cleaner ensures that the performance of the septic tank will always be at peak levels and that the effluent is safe to be released back into the ground.
Best Septic-Safe Toilet Cleaner Reviews
If you would like to buy a septic-safe toilet cleaner, this is a detailed review of the 5 best ones in the market today.
1. Green Works Toilet Bowl Cleaner
Green Works toilet bowl cleaner is a bleach-free, naturally derived product, making it very safe for your septic system.
Now that we know that this toilet cleaner is septic-safe, the next question should obviously be, “does it actually do the real job”? Being septic-safe is one thing, and cleaning a toilet to expectation is another thing altogether. Let us start with a brief history.
The Green Works toilet bowl cleaner brand was started in 2008 by Maria Ochomogo, a Clorox scientist. She was inspired by her environmentally-conscious daughter to come up with a powerful but naturally derived toilet cleaner.
This toilet bowl cleaner works as advertised. It will remove tough stains, mineral deposits like calcium, and the notorious brown stains, which at times form a ring around the toilet bowl. Its nozzle is angled to make it easier to pour it out around the bowl rim.
I also like the fact it is not abrasive and will, therefore, not peel off the Sanagloss on your toilet (Cefiontect on Toto toilets, EverClean on American Standard toilets), which helps to prevent skid marks.
Green Works toilet bowl cleaner has a fresh smell, which is a great plus if you can’t stand strong smells like in some of the other cleaners. You can also use it to clean your other bathroom fixtures and not just the toilet.
This toilet bowl cleaner, being a plant-based product, is biodegradable and will, therefore, break down inside your septic tank without harming your good bacteria or the environment.
2. Seventh Generation Toilet Bowl Cleaner
The Seventh Generation toilet bowl cleaner is manufactured from a plant-based formula and will tackle all of your toilet’s stains in a flash. It contains no chlorine (bleach), synthetic fragrances, dyes, or even ammonia, making it safe for use by people in a septic system.
This toilet bowl cleaner, having been derived from natural sources, is easily biodegradable upon entering the septic tank. It is certified as such by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA.) You can, therefore, use it with the confidence that it will neither harm the environment nor your good bacteria in the septic tank.
They don’t use animals to test the Seventh Generation toilet bowl cleaner. As a result, it is certified by the Leaping Bunny Organization as cruelty-free.
The bottle’s nozzle is nicely curved to help you squirt it out around the bowl rim, where most stains tend to hide. After squirting, you should generally let the cleaner sit for a while before picking up the brush to scrub away the stains.
A good product to go with the Seventh Generation toilet bowl cleaner is the Seventh Generation toilet paper. It is a septic-safe toilet paper that breaks down easily, avoiding clogging the pipes and kind of bacteria too.
3. Eco-me Natural Toilet Bowl Cleaner
Eco-me natural toilet bowl cleaner is very effective in eliminating stubborn stains, rust, hard water spots, and mineral deposits, especially calcium. It is bleach-free and contains no ammonia or synthetic fragrance, making it very septic-safe.
Apart from being septic-free, Eco-me toilet bowl cleaner is also cruelty-free. You can use it with the confidence that the manufacturer does not test it using any animal. They have therefore employed a lot of research techniques to come up with this natural vegetable-derived cleaner without harming animals.
This being a thick liquid, it sticks on the bowl nicely, and you don’t need to use a lot of it since it foams relatively easily. Just squirt the soap on the bowl without forgetting under the rim and scrub with a toilet brush. Add the same as it may be needed.
I like this toilet bowl cleaner’s herbal mint smell. It deodorizes the room, leaving it smelling fresh, unlike other chemical-rich cleaners. Be careful, as gas can build up inside the bottle. Always face away while opening it, or make sure the bottle cap is facing away from you.
4. Better Life Natural Toilet Bowl Cleaner
Another fantastic and septic-safe toilet bowl cleaner is this plant-based natural product from Better Life. It is made thick so that it clings to the toilet bowl surface, eating away stains, mineral deposits, and the ugly toilet bowl rings that form around the bowl waterline.
As part of their commitment to environmental conservation, Better Life “throne tidying” toilet bowl cleaner is packaged in a 100% recyclable container. It is also cruelty-free as it is never tested on animals.
Not only does this toilet cleaner smell fresh (tea tree & peppermint scent), but it also does what it is meant to do. If you have hard water, you then very well know how hard it is to clean a toilet, as minerals are always deposited in the bowl.
Better Life natural toilet bowl cleaner cuts through the hard water stains, leaving your toilet as white as new. What’s better is that you don’t need to clean your toilet daily with it. Once or twice a week will suffice.
It might be pricier compared to other toilet bowl cleaners, especially those not too keen on the environment and septic systems. Considering how important taking care of your septic system is, I would say that the extra cost is a very small price to pay in the long run.
5. Ecover Toilet Cleaner
When a toilet bowl cleaner’s motto is “Get nature on your side,” then you know it is septic-safe. It is made of biodegradable plant-based ingredients, meaning it will quickly break down inside your septic tank without harming the bacteria or aquatic life later on.
The one thing that I, however, noticed about this product is that its original pine scent has disappeared over the last few years and now smells almost like Lysol. If you don’t like strong smells, perhaps you might want to wait and see if they revert to their original nice smell.
This is a complaint I have also heard from several folks, so I would imagine they have improved since I have not used it in a few months. Other than that, it cleans toilets as you would expect.
As part of its adherence to environmental sustainability, Ecover toilet cleaner has passed 2 tests by the Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD). These are:
• Minimum impact on aquatic life (OECD-test 201&202)
• Fast and complete biodegradability. (OECD-test 301F)
Ecover’s bottle, label, and cap are all made of recyclable materials, which further limits the amount of toxic waste in the environment.
Septic-Safe Toilet Tank Drop-Ins
Toilet tank tablets are small tablets that are dropped inside the toilet tank with the aim of softening water. Hard water is responsible for most of all toilet stains, and therefore, softening it before it enters the toilet bowl seems like a good option for most people.
Should you however use toilet tank drop-ins if you are on a septic system? Are toilet tank tablets septic-safe? What are toilet tank tablets made of?
To start with, water softeners should not be used by anyone who is on septic systems. The active ingredient in water softeners and the one in bleach are the same. That is why they almost smell the same.
As we have already seen, bleach is harmful to the good bacteria in your septic tank and should never be used to clean the toilet.
Most toilet tank tablets contain bleach as their active ingredient. Apart from being harmful to the bacteria in the septic tank, they eat away the rubber parts of your tank, like the toilet flapper. After a while, your toilet tank will start to leak, leading to more expensive repairs.
With a septic system, there are some toilet bowl drop-in tablets that you can use to improve the overall working of your septic tank. They dissolve quickly in water, so you just flush them down.
Inside a septic tank, there are 3 sections. The bottom part is where the sludge is deposited, awaiting being pumped out. The middle section is the effluent, while the top part contains the scam.
The scam is basically anything you don’t want inside a septic tank. Oils, grease, fats, non-biodegradable wipes, sanitary towels, etc. Some of these substances, especially oils and grease, are also found in the drainpipes and could potentially cause a clog or, even worse, a backup.
Septic-safe toilet drop-ins can be used to take care of most of this waste. They are inexpensive and can save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars in septic tank repairs. Here are some of the best septic-safe toilet drop-in tablets:
1. Green Gobbler Septic Saver
The Green Gobbler septic saver drop-in tablets contain powerful bacteria and enzymes that digest clog-causing waste, preventing expensive backups. It also takes care of bad odors by accelerating the breakdown of organic waste in the septic tank.
Each bag contains 6 tablets, and you only need to use one tablet a month. Just drop it in the bowl and flush the toilet. They are inexpensive and work like a charm.
You can buy the Green Bobble septic saver on Amazon here
2. CustomBio Septic Fizzytabs
The CustomBio septic Fizzytabs will help keep your septic tank trouble-free in between pumpings. Each package contains 12 tablets, which are enough to last you for a year.
It works by releasing millions of beneficial bacteria in your septic tank, which helps to replenish those lost by antimicrobial soaps and other toxic substances released in the septic tank. Just drop a tablet in the bowl, allow it to dissolve, and then flush the toilet.
For just a small amount, you can rest assured that your septic tank is well taken care of for an entire year.
You can buy it here on Amazon
Septic-Safe Household Toilet Cleaners
If you do not wish to buy commercial toilet cleaners, you can use some everyday household products that are septic-safe and achieve the same results as the said cleaners. Some of these products include:
- White vinegar
- Baking soda
- Lemon juice
If you are in Europe, you cannot use borax since it is a banned substance by the European Union. It is however used without restrictions in the United States. You should use borax if you have very tough stains since it is stronger than baking soda.
Let us see how you can clean a toilet bowl using baking soda and vinegar. Since baking soda is alkaline and vinegar is a mild acid, the 2 of them will neutralize, forming a septic-safe solution.
- Pour about 1 cup of vinegar inside the toilet bowl. If you also need to clean the trapway, mop up the little water at the bottom of the bowl using a sponge. Replace it with vinegar.
- Slowly add a cup of baking soda to the bowl. Please expect a fizzing reaction between the baking soda and the vinegar, hence the need to add the baking soda slowly.
- Use a toilet brush to swish the solution around the bowl without forgetting the rim.
- Let it sit for about 30 minutes. Swish the solution after every 10 minutes to make sure that the bowl remains wet.
- After 30 minutes, use the toilet brush and scrub all over the bowl, focusing more on any spots with stains.
Baking soda and vinegar are inexpensive but thorough toilet cleaners that are septic-safe, and what is even more interesting is that they do not have an awful smell. Do this at least once a week. Don’t wait for stains to accumulate.
Another product you can use to clean your toilet, especially when you have a nasty toilet ring, is a pumice stone. The best thing about a pumice stone is that nothing is flushed down the toilet. Just erase the toilet ring and put the pumie away.
To prevent scratching the surface of the bowl. Drop the pumice stone in water for 15 minutes to soften. Start by gently scrubbing off a single point on the bowl (preferably the one facing the wall.)
If you notice any marks being left, stop immediately. You do not want to have ugly scratch marks all over your bowl.
If you would like to learn how to take care of your septic system properly, watch the video below.
1. Is Lysol toilet bowl cleaner safe for septic systems?
No. The active ingredient in Lysol toilet bowl cleaner is hydrochloric acid. An acid such as hydrochloric acid is not something you want inside your septic tank as it will kill all the good bacteria.
2. Is Toilet Duck toilet bowl cleaner safe for septic tanks?
According to its manufacturer, SC Johnson, Toilet Duck is safe for use on septic systems. It does not contain bleach or any harsh chemicals.
3. Is vinegar safe for septic systems?
Although vinegar is acidic, it is a mild acid and will not affect how your septic system works by using it to clean the toilet bowl. It is safer than most commercially produced toilet bowl cleaners. For better results, mix vinegar with baking soda. Apart from being a great cleaning agent, baking soda will neutralize the vinegar.
4. What drain cleaners are safe for septic systems?
Unfortunately, most toilet drain cleaners are toxic and are, as such, not recommended for use by people on septic systems. One thing you can do is pour a bucket of hot water inside the toilet bowl every once in a while.
Hot water will dissolve and wash away most of the mineral deposits and other waste down to the septic tank. The water should not be too hot. Otherwise, it will crack the toilet bowl.
If you have a toilet clog, use a toilet auger to try and dislodge it. You should always unclog a toilet on a septic system as soon as possible to avoid backups.
5. Are Clorox toilet tablets toilet tablets safe for septic systems?
No. Clorox toilet tablet’s active ingredient is bleach, which is harmful to the bacteria inside your septic tank. Apart from that, bleach causes deterioration of the rubber parts of a toilet tank, causing leaks. Vinegar is a better alternative.
6. Is bleach safe for a septic system?
Most studies show that household bleach does not have an adverse effect on your septic system. However, there is no study which shows how much bleach is too much to flush down your toilet. If you can avoid using bleach or toilet cleaners with bleach, then do.