Perhaps you’re beginning to notice some lingering odors coming from your septic tank. Or maybe you’re just wondering if it’s safe to use hydrogen peroxide for a quick clean-up job around your septic tank. But is hydrogen peroxide safe for septic tanks?
Well, in this article, I will provide all the information you need about using hydrogen peroxide in septic tanks. I’ll even examine the usefulness of hydrogen peroxide in other household cleaning chores so you’ll make the most out of the product.
Is Hydrogen Peroxide Safe For Septic Systems?
Yes, hydrogen peroxide is safe to use in septic systems. Hydrogen peroxide breaks down quickly into oxygen and water. Unlike other household chemicals like bleach, which can throw off the balance of bacteria and cause your septic system to malfunction, hydrogen peroxide is less likely to disrupt the delicate balance of bacteria found in your septic tank.
Before I proceed, it’s vital that we first understand what hydrogen peroxide exactly is. After all, understanding the product you’re using is essential to keeping your septic system in top shape.
So, what is hydrogen peroxide?
Well, hydrogen peroxide is a chemical compound that’s made up of hydrogen and oxygen. It’s extremely versatile, making it a popular choice for cleaning and sanitizing many surfaces.
In its liquid form, hydrogen peroxide is a powerful oxidizing agent. This means it’s great for killing bacteria and other microorganisms that can lead to illness or unpleasant odors.
And yes, it’s the odor-removal aspect that makes this common household product a favorite go-to product for most homeowners. But is the product composition safe when it comes to septic tanks?
Yes, hydrogen peroxide is a safe product to use in septic tanks. Its chemical composition is such that it quickly breaks down into oxygen and water, making it non-toxic to the delicate bacteria balance found in septic systems.
You see, your septic tank relies on aerobic bacteria to break down the organic material inside. These bacteria need oxygen to survive, and hydrogen peroxide helps increase its levels in your septic tank.
That’s contrary to chlorine bleach, which robs the tank of oxygen, making the death of the bacteria possible.
So, when it comes to using hydrogen peroxide in your septic tank, the answer is yes. The product is safe to use and won’t disrupt the delicate balance of microorganisms inside your septic system.
How Do Septic Systems Work?
Septic systems work by converting household waste into liquids and solids. The liquid is then sent to a leach field, where it is filtered and broken down by bacteria. This process helps ensure that no toxic waste is left behind and that your property remains safe.
Understanding how your septic system works will help you determine the best way to maintain it. And yes, it all begins when the solid and liquid wastes enter the tank.
The solid waste will collect at the bottom of the tank, while the lighter liquids will float on top. The solids will be broken down by anaerobic bacteria, while the aerobic bacteria found in the tank help break down the liquid waste.
This is why it’s so important to maintain the balance of bacteria in your septic tank. Without aerobic bacteria, the solids will remain undigested, leading to clogging and backup issues.
Is Hydrogen Peroxide Poisonous?
Yes, hydrogen peroxide is poisonous when inhaled or ingested. It may cause chest pain, breathing difficulty, stomach swelling, and sometimes even seizures. Once it gets to the eyes, the victim may suffer eye burns. But used correctly, hydrogen peroxide poses no threat to your health.
Pure hydrogen peroxide is way too strong to use in cleaning, so it’s usually mixed with water to make it safer. In fact, the concentrated version is too strong that household hydrogen peroxide only contains 3% of hydrogen peroxide, with the remaining 97% being water.
But then again, don’t underestimate the power of hydrogen peroxide to cause harm when mishandled. This product won’t get absorbed into the skin, but it still can be inhaled or swallowed, which makes it dangerous.
When introduced into the body in minor quantities, you can expect the product to trigger deleterious reactions. In larger amounts, on the other hand, will cause hydrogen peroxide poisoning, a condition whose side effects are more severe!
So, as always, be careful when using hydrogen peroxide and follow the safety measures listed on its label. As long as you use it correctly, hydrogen peroxide is safe to use in septic tanks and other cleaning chores.
Does Hydrogen Peroxide Expire?
Yes, hydrogen peroxide, like most household products, has a shelf life. In an unopened bottle, hydrogen peroxide can last up to 3 years before it expires. But once you break that seal, the lifespan reduces to about 6 months.
You see, once hydrogen peroxide is exposed to air, it quickly begins to break down into water. That means if the original concentration was 3%, it would slowly become even weaker until the product has eventually become nothing more than water.
That’s why it’s essential only to open a bottle of hydrogen peroxide when ready to use it. And once you’ve opened it, try as much as possible to use it within the 6 months before it eventually loses its effectiveness.
If you don’t use the product as much, buying smaller bottles might be the best way to go. It will save you the pain of throwing away a large container of expired hydrogen peroxide.
In addition, avoid transferring hydrogen peroxide into a clear bottle. As much as clear bottles are cute and allow us to monitor how much of the product is left, they also accelerate the breakdown process of hydrogen peroxide due to their transparency.
The effects of light on hydrogen peroxide are just as severe as those of exposure to air. That’s why the manufacturer always encloses it in a dark bottle to prevent light from getting inside and breaking down the hydrogen peroxide.
Ideally, store-bought hydrogen peroxide should always be stored in a cool, dark place for the best shelf life.
If you aren’t sure if the hydrogen peroxide is still good, you can always confirm its potency. Just pour a little of it on a sink and see the reaction. If you notice bubbles, the product is still in good condition and is safe to use. If there’s no fizzling, the product has expired.
Does Hydrogen Peroxide Remove Stains?
Yes, hydrogen peroxide is effective at removing tough stains. The product’s oxidizing properties break down and dissolve the proteins that form stubborn stains, like those from food or red wine.
In fact, it’s even more gentle than chlorine bleach on clothes, making it an excellent choice for getting rid of those tough spots without risking damage or discoloration.
But then again, even when using hydrogen peroxide, it’s always best to test the product on a small portion of the fabric to ensure it won’t cause any damage. And also, avoid using hydrogen peroxide on delicate fabrics as it may cause more fading.
For stain removal, cover the stain with hydrogen peroxide and let it sit for a few minutes. Then, scrub the area with a damp cloth or brush and rinse off with cold water. And that’s it – the stain should be gone!
Can Hydrogen Peroxide Be Used As Hand Sanitizer?
Yes, you can use hydrogen peroxide as hand sanitizer, but it’s not the best option. After applying on the skin, hydrogen peroxide takes about 6 to 8 minutes to carry out the antiviral activity, which is a lot of time to remain on the skin.
You see, as much as it doesn’t penetrate through the skin, hydrogen peroxide isn’t entirely harmless. When left on the skin for a few minutes, it may cause irritation and, sometimes, bleaching and burning of the skin.
Of course, we don’t want that. So, it’s best to go for a hand sanitizer that contains 70% alcohol as it can kill most germs within 15 to 30 seconds. Just keep your hydrogen peroxide for stain removal and other cleaning uses.
What Cleaners Are Safe For Septic Systems?
Apart from hydrogen peroxide, we’ve got a plethora of other cleaners that interact well with septic systems. Ideally, go for all-natural products. These options are less likely to cause bacterial imbalance in your septic tank.
Examples of all-natural cleaners include:
- White vinegar
- Baking soda
- Lemon juice
Each of these cleaners is powerful enough to tackle respective cleaning jobs and won’t affect the balance of your septic system. Additionally, they’re also quite pocket-friendly compared to commercially produced products.
But then, that’s not to say that you shouldn’t use commercial cleaners altogether. There are some that are septic-safe and effective, but the problem comes in when it’s time to cherry-pick them from the pool.
But don’t worry! As long as you know what to look for, you’ll be able to find the right product for your septic system.
Generally, a store-bought cleaner for your septic should indicate either of these phrases on its label:
- Safe for septic tanks
- Environmentally friendly
If you see any of the phrases above, you can be sure the cleaner is safe for your septic system.
How Can You Restore Bacterial Balance In Septic Systems?
To increase the bacterial activity in your septic system and restore its balance, you can use yeast! Just flush 1/4 ounce of yeast down your toilet every month. Yeast is an excellent food source for the beneficial bacteria in your septic system and will help promote their growth.
Alternatively, you can work with rotten tomatoes. Here, you’ll only need to work with 3 to 4 tomatoes every 4 months, so it won’t bring much loss to the kitchen. Just force them down the garbage disposal to restore the bacterial balance in your septic system.
If you want to go for store-bought solutions, you can try enzyme-based septic tank treatments or bacterial digestion enhancers. These products contain beneficial bacteria that help in the breakdown of organic matter and restore the balance in the septic tank.
Finally, don’t forget about preventative maintenance. Just ensure that you avoid any product that might affect the balance of your septic system, and you’ll be good to go. That includes chlorine bleach, antibacterial soaps, and other corrosive chemicals.
In summary, hydrogen peroxide is a safe cleaner for septic tanks. It helps in removing stains, is non-corrosive, and doesn’t expire easily. But if you’re looking for a hand sanitizer, it’s best to go for an alcohol-based one as it works faster.
Remember, you can also restore bacterial balance in your septic system using yeast, tomatoes, enzyme-based treatments, or bacterial digestion enhancers. Finally, be sure to avoid corrosive chemicals and harsh soaps.