The Best Septic Tank Treatments, Reviewed

Avoid a mess and keep your septic tank in top shape with regular maintenance.

Best Overall

The Best Septic Tank Treatment Option: Bio-Clean Drain Septic

Bio-Clean Drain Septic

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Runner-Up

The Best Septic Tank Treatment Option: Cabin Obsession Septic Tank Treatment

Cabin Obsession Septic Tank Treatment

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Best Bang for the Buck

The Best Septic Tank Treatment Option: Green Gobbler Septic Saver Pods

Green Gobbler Septic Saver Pods

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Septic tanks bring wastewater from the home into a tank, where active bacteria dissolves and consumes waste, effectively separating it into solids and liquids. The liquids drain through perforated pipes into a drain field where the water is cleaned through layers of rock and minerals and returned to the groundwater system.

A monthly septic tank treatment is essential to give the natural bacteria in the tank a boost to help it to continue effectively degrading the household waste that enters the tank. The products below represent some of the best septic tank treatments available in their respective categories.

  1. BEST OVERALL: Bio-Clean Drain Septic
  2. RUNNER-UP: Cabin Obsession Septic Tank Treatment
  3. BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Green Gobbler Septic Saver Pods 
  4. BEST FOR CLOGS: Instant Power Septic Shock
  5. BEST MONTHLY: Walex Bio-Active Eco-Friendly Septic Tank Treatment
  6. BEST BULK: GreenPig Live Septic Tank Treatment 
  7. BEST NATURAL: Organic Plumber Dual Formula Septic Tank Treatment
  8. ECO-FRIENDLY PICK: CCLS Septic Tank and Cesspool Treatment
Two hands lifting the ground cover off a septic tank
Photo: amazon.com

Before You Buy a Septic Tank Treatment

The right septic treatment is compatible with your tank’s size and needs while also breaking down human waste, oils, and grease. Selecting the best septic treatment options depend on type, format, tank compatibility, lifespan, and quantity provided per purchase.

How We Chose the Best Septic Tank Treatments

Years of experience covering home and garden products as well as extensive product research went into creating this guide. We explored more than 25 septic tank treatment options and weighed a number of practical considerations before making our recommendations.

  • Sustainability: We researched the products listed above by prioritizing eco-friendly biological additive and organic solvents to keep harsh chemicals out of consumers’ septic systems. Though these treatments are better for the environment, they are also effective at breaking down hard and liquid materials while preserving the condition of a 500 to 1,500-gallon septic tank.
  • Value: As many septic tanks require upkeep, many brands offer 6-month to 2-year supplies of treatments per purchase to keep a septic tank clear and healthy. We focused on products that offered excellent value, prioritizing those that would last for several months.
  • Reviews: Top-notch performance is essential when picking a septic tank treatment, so we only included products with excellent user reviews.

Our Top Picks

The following recommendations for the best septic tank treatments focus on varieties of biological additives, which septic tank professionals recommend over other options because they won’t damage the system or pollute soil or groundwater.

Best Overall

Bio-Clean Drain Septic

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Bio-Clean Drain Septic is a natural septic tank treatment designed to maintain and improve the health of septic systems. This product contains a blend of bacteria and enzymes that are specifically formulated to break down and digest organic matter, including grease, oils, fats, and paper, which can clog septic systems over time. It is safe for all plumbing, including toilets, sinks, garbage disposals, and showers.

For the initial treatment, mix the entire contents of the jar with 4 gallons of water and flush the mixture down the toilet. Follow up by flushing 1 cup of the powder monthly.

Product Specs 

  • Type: Biological additives
  • Tank compatibility: 1,000-gallon tanks
  • Lifespan: 1 month per cup

Pros

  • Highly effective in breaking down organic waste and maintaining the health of septic systems
  • Can be used in all types of plumbing, including septic tanks, grease traps, and drain lines
  • This treatment is environmentally friendly and safe for use around children and pets

Cons

  • This product can be more expensive than other septic tank treatments on the market

Get the Bio-Clean septic tank treatment at Amazon.

Runner-Up

Cabin Obsession Septic Tank Treatment

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Cabin Obsession septic tank treatment comes with 12 prepackaged monthly doses for use with a 1,000-gallon tank, totaling a full year of septic tank protection. The billions of bacteria in a single treatment pod breaks down the waste in the sludge and scum layers and replaces any dead bacteria within the tank.

This moderately priced eco-friendly treatment contains zero chemical additives, making it safe for the environment. The scientifically selected bacteria cultures also have odor-control qualities to keep your home smelling great. Households with four or more occupied bedrooms or with tanks exceeding 1,000 gallons should use two pods per month instead of just one.

Product Specs 

  • Type: Biological additives
  • Tank compatibility: 1,000-gallon tanks
  • Lifespan: 1 month per pod

Pros

  • Each purchase includes a full year of treatments for convenience
  • In addition to treating the septic tank, this product also provides odor control
  • Since the product contains no chemical additives, it’s safe for the environment

Cons

  • Larger septic tanks may require more than 1 pod per treatment
  • This product has a shorter lifespan than comparable products, requiring a monthly treatment

Get the Cabin Obsession septic tank treatment at Amazon.

Best Bang for the Buck

Green Gobbler Septic Saver Pods

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Promising 6 months of ongoing septic system treatment, the affordable Green Gobbler Septic Saver pods use biodegradable content to ensure it’s safe for the environment. The powerful bacteria and enzyme mixture comes in pod form and is used for breaking down oils, grease, fats, paper, and other clog-producing compounds.

At a fraction of the cost of other septic tank treatments, it is surprising that the Green Gobbler septic tank treatment also has odor-elimination properties and anticorrosive additives to help protect drains, pipes, and the interior of the tank.

Product Specs 

  • Type: Biological additives
  • Tank compatibility: 1,500-gallon tanks
  • Lifespan: 1 month per pod

Pros

  • Affordable product provides odor control and anticorrosive capabilities
  • Protects drains and pipes as well as septic tanks
  • This package includes a 6-month supply of septic tank treatments

Cons

  • This treatment does not break down or clear hair from the septic tank

Get the Green Gobbler septic tank treatment at Amazon.

Best for Clogs

Instant Power Septic Shock

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Clogs are inconvenient, but this product was designed to banish them quickly and easily. Keep in mind that this powerful product should not be used as a regular septic tank maintenance treatment, as it is specifically engineered for clogs, and its contents may overpower a healthy septic system.

To use, simply dump the entire contents of the bottle into the toilet and flush it down into the septic pipes. It begins to work instantly, and its odor-eliminating enzymes help prevent undesirable smells from permeating the home. Instant Power septic tank treatment is eco-friendly, using lipase, protease, cellulose, alpha-amylase, and other powerful enzymes to digest grease, soap, paper, and fats at an affordable price.

Product Specs 

  • Type: Organic solvent
  • Tank compatibility: 1,500-gallon tanks
  • Lifespan: As needed

Pros

  • Dissolves grease, soap, paper, human waste, and fats
  • Possesses odor-eliminating properties in addition to clearing clogs
  • This organic solvent can eliminate clogs with eco-friendly ingredients

Cons

  • This product does not replace regular septic tank treatments

Get the Instant Power septic tank treatment at Amazon or The Home Depot.

Best Monthly

Walex Bio-Active Eco-Friendly Septic Tank Treatment

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Walex Bio-Active septic tank treatment comes with 12 moderately priced monthly doses, capable of effectively treating a 1,500-gallon tank with ease. The premeasured pods contain billions of good bacteria to replace bacteria in the tank that may have been killed by harmful cleaning products disposed of down sinks or toilets.

The eco-friendly pods also use septic tank-specific enzymes to target paper, fats, proteins, and other frequently occurring solid wastes that the bacteria within the tank cannot digest. This product can leave a residue on the toilet interior after use, so consider using it prior to cleaning the toilet to avoid repeatedly scrubbing the bowl.

Product Specs 

  • Type: Bacteria additives
  • Tank compatibility: 1,500-gallon tanks
  • Lifespan: 1 month per pod

Pros

  • Each purchase contains a full year’s worth of premeasured treatments
  • Works to dissolve solids in the septic tank to keep the system running smoothly
  • This product is safe to use in all plumbing systems

Cons

  • Some residue will be left behind after use and may require cleaning

Get the Walex septic tank treatment at Amazon or The Home Depot.

Best Bulk

GreenPig Live Septic Tank Treatment

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The premeasured pods that come in this bulk treatment option should be used once every 3 months. With eight pods included, this purchase covers a septic tank for 2 years of treatment. GreenPig septic tank treatment is for use on tanks up to 1,500-gallons in size; smaller tanks can use the same pod, but less frequently.

The eco-friendly pods contain billions of bacteria and septic-specific enzymes for digesting grease, paper, sludge, and other organic waste. This concentrated formula is available at an inexpensive cost and contains odor-eliminating enzymes to keep foul smells at bay. However, this septic tank treatment doesn’t work well for households that use excessive amounts of toilet paper, so it may not be best for large families with young children.

Product Specs 

  • Type: Bacteria additives
  • Tank compatibility: 500 to 1,500-gallon tanks
  • Lifespan: 3 months

Pros

  • Package includes a full 2-year supply of treatments, providing good value
  • It effectively dissolves grease, paper, sludge, and human waste
  • Keeps unpleasant odors out of the home in addition to breaking down waste

Cons

  • Not suitable for homes with high toilet paper consumption

Get the GreenPig septic tank treatment at Amazon.

Best Natural

Organic Plumber Dual Formula Septic Tank Treatment

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The Organic Plumber septic tank treatment is a natural and eco-friendly solution for maintaining and improving the health of a septic system. This product is made up of natural enzymes and bacteria that are specifically formulated to break down and digest organic waste, including grease, oils, fats, and paper. It helps to prevent clogs and backups in a septic system and can also reduce unpleasant odors. Due to its natural makeup, this product is safe to use in RVs and boats.

Since this treatment comes in tablet form, it’s easy to use, simply requiring users to flush a tablet or two down the toilet each month, depending on the size of their home.

Product Specs 

  • Type: Bacteria additives
  • Tank compatibility: N/A
  • Lifespan: 1 to 2 tablets per month

Pros

  • Formula is made from natural ingredients and is safe for the environment
  • Comes in tablet form for convenience and ease of use
  • Safe for boats and RVs; won’t contaminate groundwater, sewer lines, or waterways

Cons

  • This product isn’t readily available from many major retailers

Get the Organic Plumber septic tank treatment at Amazon.

Eco-Friendly Pick

CCLS Septic Tank and Cesspool Treatment

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CCLS septic tank treatment is a powerful and natural solution for maintaining the health of a septic system. It’s formulated with a blend of natural enzymes and bacteria that effectively break down organic waste. The formula is completely safe and environmentally friendly. It contains no harsh chemicals or toxins, making it safe to use in homes with children and pets. Additionally, the noncorrosive formula means it will not damage plumbing or the septic system.

To use this product for septic tanks and cesspools, for each person using the system, pour ½ cup down any drain each month. If the septic system is older or overtaxed, it may require you to use more of the product.

Product Specs 

  • Type: Bacteria additives
  • Tank compatibility: N/A
  • Lifespan: ½ cup per person per month

Pros

  • The natural enzymes and bacteria in the product are effective in breaking down organic waste, reducing the risk of septic tank backups and clogs
  • It’s environmentally friendly, as it contains no harmful chemicals or toxins
  • The product is nontoxic, nonhazardous, and noncorrosive, making it safe for use in homes with children and pets

Cons

  • May require frequent use depending on the age and condition of the septic system

Get the CCLS septic tank treatment at Amazon (for a 4-pack).

Or, DIY Your Own Septic Tank Treatment

While many commercially available septic tank treatments are on the market, some homeowners prefer to take a DIY approach to maintaining their septic system. Making a DIY septic tank treatment is simple and can be done with just a few common household items.

One of the easiest and most effective DIY septic tank treatments is using baking soda and vinegar. Baking soda helps to regulate the pH levels in the septic system, while vinegar introduces beneficial bacteria that help to break down organic waste.

To make this DIY septic tank treatment, simply pour 1 cup of baking soda down the drain, followed by 1 cup of vinegar. Let the mixture sit for at least 1 hour before flushing with hot water. Repeat this process once a month to maintain the health of your septic system.

It’s important to note that while DIY septic tank treatments can be effective, they should not be relied on as the sole means of septic system maintenance.

Jump to Our Top Picks

What to Consider When Choosing a Septic Tank Treatment

Keep the following in mind to help you make a more informed purchase of septic tank treatment.

Types of Septic Tank Treatments

There are several types of septic tank treatments, including inorganic acids or alkalis, hydrogen peroxide, organic solvents, and biological additives. However, some of these treatment types have been shown to be damaging to septic systems and may even be banned by your local government due to the potential pollution of nearby groundwater or degradation of soil content. Because of these potential hazards, it is important to understand the differences between the treatment types.

Inorganic Acids or Alkalis 

Inorganic acids or alkalis are poor options for the health of your septic tank. These powerful compounds, such as sulfuric acid or lye, are capable of punching a hole through almost any clog, but their harsh chemical makeup destroys the necessary natural bacteria in the tank, halting the anaerobic digestion process.

If that digestion process inside the tank is impeded, raw sewage leaks into the drain field. This could result in unpleasant odors, leakage into local groundwater, and clogged pipes. The corrosive nature of these treatments also makes them harmful to pipes, tank walls, and distribution boxes, leading to premature weakening of the septic system.

Hydrogen Peroxide 

Hydrogen peroxide was once a popular suggestion for septic tank treatment by many different septic maintenance companies. However, recent findings have indicated that while hydrogen peroxide doesn’t cause undue harm to the beneficial bacterial ecosystem within the tank when properly diluted, it does degrade soil content and compromises the long-term viability of the drain field.

Due to this method’s lasting effects on your drain field’s ability to filter and absorb wastewater, it is not a good option for the long-term care of your septic tank system.

Organic Solvents 

Organic solvents, including methylene chloride, trichloroethylene, and other chlorinated hydrocarbons, are primarily used as degreasers for their ability to break down oils and grease. As a septic tank treatment option, they work well to break down the collected oils, fats, and greases in the bottom of the tank, but they can do their job too well by also breaking down much of the bacterial ecosystem.

Once these organic solvents leave the septic tank, they seep into the drain field along with the rest of the wastewater effluent, but they do not break down. Instead, organic solvents leak into the groundwater system and can cause significant ecological damage. Because of this hazard, organic solvents are banned from use in some states, and their use could potentially create liability issues if groundwater is contaminated.

Although we do include a product with organic solvents as one of our picks, it is designed for use only to break down clogs and is not recommended for regular use to treat the septic system.

Biological Additives 

Biological additives, like bacteria and extracellular enzymes, are the only acceptable septic tank treatment for promoting a healthy, natural bacterial ecosystem; maintaining an effective drain field; and protecting the health of the local groundwater.

This septic tank treatment boosts the beneficial bacteria population in the tank and introduces specific enzymes for breaking down fibers (toilet paper), septic tank scum that gathers at the top of the wastewater fluid, and other solid waste that the naturally occurring bacteria population may have difficulty decomposing.

Just be sure to follow manufacturer recommendations to avoid an excessive buildup of methane gas, which can result in solid waste being pushed into the drain field, where it will clog the pipes and prevent drainage from the tank.

Tank Compatibility

Before purchasing a septic tank treatment, be sure you know the size of your septic tank. If you purchase a treatment intended for a 1,500-gallon tank but your tank is only 500 gallons, the treatment may overpower the bacterial ecosystem and alter the enzyme balance too much.

Inversely, if the treatment you purchase is not strong enough, it will be ineffective at helping to maintain the health of the septic tank. To avoid this issue, know your septic tank size in gallons and refer to this number when looking at treatment options.

Format 

Septic tank treatments come in a variety of forms intended to make the product more effective and easier to use, including pods, tablets, powders, and liquids.

  • Pods are one of the most popular formats, with a water-soluble casing that makes them simple to handle, similar to dishwashing detergent pods. Simply drop the pod into the toilet and flush. The casing dissolves and the treatment gets released into the tank. With no mess, no measuring, and a slightly delayed release time, this is one of the easiest methods.
  • Tablets are used in the same way as pods, but they lack a protective coating. Instead, the entire tablet must break down inside the tank, which takes slightly longer than a pod. Because the tablets are measured doses, this method is another simple, easy-to-use septic tank treatment.
  • Powders aren’t as simple as pods or tablets, requiring you to measure out the correct dose and carefully pour it into the toilet. Allow the powder to sink into the water before flushing to avoid having some powder shoot up into the air from the force of the flush. Powders are already broken down, meaning they go to work immediately upon entering the tank. Unlike pods and tablets, which are premeasured for specific volumes, you can use powders for any size tank, provided you measure out the correct dose.
  • Liquids are similar to powders in that they must be measured before use and begin working right away. Most liquid treatments are intended for clogs, so this format is generally used less often than others.

Lifespan

The lifespan of a septic tank treatment determines how long it remains effective. Most treatments come in once-monthly doses, but they can also come in 3-, 4-, 6- or 12-month doses. There are also single-use treatments intended for treating clogs.

If you think you would have trouble remembering to treat your septic tank monthly, it may help to find a product with a lifespan that matches up with holidays or significant events. For example, if you have a product with a 3-month lifespan, you can use quarterly events as reminders to treat the tank, such as Christmas and the New Year, Easter, Independence Day, and Labor Day.

Eco-Friendly Assets 

Septic tanks work with the ecosystem around them to naturally treat human waste and return it back into the soil and groundwater. This environmentally friendly model should be top of mind when shopping for septic tank treatment products to ensure the proper health and functionality of the active bacterial ecosystem, drain field soil, and groundwater.

The natural system within your septic tank works better with eco-friendly products, meaning that you don’t have to sacrifice efficacy for ecological conscientiousness. Look for treatment products that are completely organic and that do not contain phosphate or formaldehyde, as these chemicals are extremely harmful to the ecosystem.

Odor

Clogs in your septic system need to be treated and dissolved quickly to prevent damage; continued buildup of solid waste in the pipes; and strong, unpleasant smells that can permeate the floor and walls of your home. As the clog is dissolving, the unpleasant aroma rising from your pipes may get worse, and will likely linger after the pipes are clear.

To reduce this nose-wrinkling situation, consider a septic tank treatment to break down the clog that includes odor-control or odor-reduction features.

Active Ingredients 

Septic tanks are reliant on the health of their bacteria population, the soil content of their drain field, and a functioning plumbing infrastructure. Without these, a septic tank is little more than a hole in the ground.

To ensure the health of your septic system, always review the active ingredients in a septic tank treatment before buying. Consider the purpose of the included enzymes, the number of bacteria, and the presence of harmful chemicals or inorganic matter. Introducing any additive to your septic tank should be undertaken only with accurate information about the product to ensure your system is getting the best treatment without any ill effects.

FAQs 

Before deciding on a new septic tank treatment, consider these frequently asked questions and answers to be more confident in your purchase.

Q. How often do I need to treat my septic tank?

On average, you will want to treat your septic tank once a month to once a year depending on the manufacturer’s recommendations. You will also want to have your tank pumped out once every 2 to 3 years to keep it functioning properly.

Q. Is it possible to use too much septic tank treatment? 

Yes, though the effects depend on the type of treatment you use. Too many biological additives will increase the amount of bacteria in the tank, causing a much faster breakdown of solid materials and a buildup of methane gas. The gas pushes solid waste around within the tank and can cause the absorption and drain field system to clog.

However, if too much inorganic acid and organic solvent additive is used, it will kill the bacteria in your tank needed for it to function. Hydrogen peroxide won’t kill the bacteria if you use too much, but it will degrade the soil structure in the surrounding area and reduce the ability of the drain field to treat and absorb wastewater effluent.

Q. How else can I maximize the life of my septic tank?

There are a few simple steps you can take to extend the life of your septic system. Avoid unnecessary wastewater usage by increasing water conservation efforts. This puts less strain on your septic system over time and allows it to function for a longer period. You must also follow a proper pumping schedule to ensure that the tank is pumped at least once every 2 to 3 years.

Lastly, watch what you flush. Inorganic materials like diapers or feminine hygiene products can create clogs in your septic tank if they are disposed of in the toilet.

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Timothy Dale

Contributing Writer

Timothy Dale is a home improvement writer who has been in the industry for several years. In his work for BobVila.com, he has written a number of how-to articles related to yard maintenance, vehicle repair, and home renovation, not to mention a wide variety of buying guides and articles on DIY projects. He always ensures readers get the information they need to tackle their next project.

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