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Does Hair Decompose in a Septic Tank?

Does Hair Decompose in a Septic Tank?

You’re doing general cleaning in your house. It’s so intense this time that you have to dispose of all sorts of debris in the end, including hair.

And for one reason or another, you don’t want to use the regular garbage can outside. Instead, you are thinking of flushing everything down the toilet. But then, you aren’t sure if it’s healthy for your septic, especially now that the debris also contains hair. So, does hair decompose in a septic tank?

Well, if that’s the question that brought you here, you’re in the right place. Here, we will discuss everything about hair and why it should (or shouldn’t) find its way into your septic tank. Let’s get started!

Does Hair Break Down in a Septic Tank?

Unfortunately, hair doesn’t break down in a septic tank. Hair contains strands of proteins that are too tough for the bacteria in your septic to handle. So, to be on the safe side, ensure that hair doesn’t get down there.

Before we proceed, let’s first understand what a septic tank is. A septic tank is a chamber used to treat wastewater before it’s released into the ground. It contains different compartments, and each one plays an essential role in the treatment process.

The septic tank connects to your home through a system of pipes. This is where all the wastewater from your home, including water from your toilets, sinks, and showers, enters the septic.

That means anything you flush down the toilet, including hair, goes into the septic. And to be honest with ourselves, we have to admit that we’ve all thought of our toilets as a liquid garbage can at some point.

But before you carry your debris into your toilet, think again! Flushing your hair down the toilet will attract all sorts of issues, not just for the pipes but also for your septic tank.

Of course, hair looks harmless to your septic. After all, it comes from the human body, and your septic is made to take human stuff.

But before you think in that line, know there’s a wide gap of difference between your hair and the human waste your septic is made to handle.

You see, hair is made up of tough strings of proteins as your fingernails, unlike human waste that comprises water, indigestible material, bacteria, inorganic substances, fats, and such. So, hair doesn’t offer the same level of assignment to the microorganisms down your toilet.

For regular human waste, the bacteria in the septic will take between 24 and 48 hours to break down. But that’s not the case with hair. In the case of hair, the process may need more time than we consider safe for your septic.

Is Hair Bad for Septic Systems?

Hair is bad for septic systems and can cause them a lot of trouble. Hair can clump in the septic inlets and even trap other objects, causing issues for your septic.

It doesn’t look like it, but human hair can stir up much trouble for your pocket once it gets down there. It may clump up within your pipes and bond with other materials when flushed. That can cause all sorts of trouble, ranging from slow drains to clogs and even problems for your septic.

You definitely don’t want to deal with any of these issues. And so, ensure that you don’t use your toilet to get rid of hair. It will save you a lot of hassle and money and ultimately do justice for your septic.

Can Hair Clog Your Drainage Pipes?

Yes, hair has everything it takes to clog your drainage pipes. It is stringy, tough, and can attach to other objects, causing severe clogs to your drainage pipes. So, to avoid that, try as much as possible to keep hair from going down your drain.

Clogs can be a great nuisance and emanate from various materials. And yes, hair is one of the most common objects that cause clogs to our drainage pipes.

Hair can come from different sources, including your head, pets, and even from the drains themselves. No matter where it comes from, one thing is for sure; hair can wreak havoc on your drainage pipes.

Hair is stringy and tough, making it the perfect candidate for clogging materials. Once it gets into your drains, it can quickly attach itself to other objects, such as soap scum, grease, and even paper. In no time, you will have a severe clog in your hands.

Clogged drains are a great nuisance and can be costly to fix. So, to save yourself the trouble, ensure that you keep hair from going down your drain.

Can Human Hair Be Composted?

Yes, hair is compostable and contains high nitrogen levels, making it a great source of nutrients for plants. However, it is best to chop up the hair into small pieces before adding it to your compost bin to speed up the decomposition process.

In basic terms, “compost” refers to the decomposition of organic matter, such as leaves, grass, and food scraps. This process is accelerated by the presence of microorganisms, which break down the organic matter into simpler forms that plants can use as nutrients.

Hair is considered an organic material and, as such, can be composted. In fact, hair is an excellent source of nitrogen and will slowly release nitrogen into the soil as it decomposes.

However, hair can take a long time to break down, so it is best to chop it up into small pieces before adding it to your compost bin. This will speed up the decomposition process and help keep your compost bin aerated.

Is Human Hair Biodegradable?

Of course, hair is biodegradable. In fact, all organic materials are biodegradable. This means that microorganisms can break them down into simpler forms used by plants as nutrients.

Perhaps you think biodegradability and compostability are interchangeable. But that’s not the case. The two terms different, although all compostable items are biodegradeable.

Compostability refers to the ability of a material to break down into compost, a nutrient-rich soil amendment. On the other hand, biodegradability is the ability of a material to break down into simpler forms that plants can use as nutrients.

That said, hair is biodegradable and will slowly release nitrogen into the soil as it decomposes.

How Long Does it Take Hair to Decompose in The Drain?

Hair can take months or even years to decompose entirely once you send it down your drain. The decomposition period depends on the moisture level, water quality, and the present elements in the drain.

It is important to note that hair does not decompose like other organic materials, such as leaves and grass. This is because hair is made up of a protein called keratin, resistant to decomposition.

In addition, hair can quickly attach itself to other objects in the drain, such as soap scum, grease, and even paper. That can further slow down the decomposition process.

Even so, hair will usually take several months to years to decompose completely. If you want to speed up the process, you can chop up the hair into small pieces before adding it to your

What are the Signs That Your Septic Tank is Full?

Signs that your septic tank is full include pooling water, odors, and slow drains, to mention a few. Take the proper measures to have it emptied as soon as possible to avoid overflowing.

With time, your septic tank will get filled up and require emptying. So, as a responsible homeowner, you should be in a position to tell when it’s time you empty your septic. And yes, one surefire way to do that is to look out for the signs.

They include;

  • Bad smells
  • Drains taking forever
  • Gurgling sounds in the pipes
  • Pooling water
  • Sewage backup
  • Trouble flushing

If you notice any of these signs, taking action pronto is essential. The last thing you want is for your septic tank to overflow.

One of the best ways to avoid this is to have your septic tank emptied regularly. Depending on the size of your tank and the amount of waste it’s receiving, you may need to have it emptied every three to five years.

As long as you’re proactive, you shouldn’t have any problems with your septic tank. Just remember to keep an eye out for these signs, and you’ll be fine.

How Do I Clean My Septic Tank Naturally?

When cleaning your septic tank naturally, you can use a mixture of lemon, baking soda, and vinegar. This concoction will break down the grime and dirt in your septic system without causing any damage to your septic tank.

When cleaning your septic system, the critical thing is to avoid using bleach. Bleach will kill the bacteria in your septic tank responsible for breaking down the solid waste. This can lead to a build-up of debris and eventually an overflowing septic tank.

Instead, use lemon, baking soda, and vinegar to clean your septic tank naturally.


  1. Mix a 1/4 cup of baking soda with 1/2 cup of vinegar.
  2. Pour the mixture into your toilet
  3. Add two tablespoons of lemon juice
  4. Flush down the toilet

As this mixture travels down the pipes, it will break down the grime and dirt, keeping your entire septic system clean. This is a gentle way to clean your septic tank without causing any damage.

Remember not to use bleach, as it will kill the helpful bacteria in your septic tank. And in case you already have, you can restore the bacteria by flushing yeast down the toilet.

Final Verdict

A septic tank is an essential part of every home; however, very few people know how to take care of it. One way to keep your septic tank healthy is by not flushing unusual items like hair down the toilet.

Also, avoid using harsh chemicals like bleach, as that may throw off the delicate balance in your septic system. For cleaning, go for natural ones like lemon, baking soda, and vinegar.