The Best Septic Tank Treatments of 2022

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

By Timothy Dale | Updated Dec 29, 2021 5:27 PM

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Best Septic Tank Treatment Options

Photo: depositphotos.com

Septic tanks bring wastewater from your 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 returns it to the groundwater system.

A monthly septic tank treatment is essential to give the natural bacteria in the tank a boost to help it 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: Cabin Obsession Septic Tank Treatment
  2. BEST BUDGET: Green Gobbler Septic Saver Bacteria Enzyme Pacs
  3. BEST FOR CLOGS: Instant Power 1868 Septic Shock
  4. BEST MONTHLY: Walex Bio-Active Septic Tank Treatment
  5. BEST BULK: GREEN PIG 53 Live Septic Tank Treatment
Best Septic Tank Treatment Options

Photo: depositphotos.com

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.

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 build-up 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.

What to Consider When Choosing the Best Septic Tank Treatment

If you aren’t sure what information you should have about septic tank treatments, read the considerations below to help you make a more informed purchase.

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. Before flushing, you have to allow the powder to sink into the water, otherwise, some of the powder will be forced into the air when flushing. Powders are already broken down, meaning they go to work immediately upon entering the tank. Unlike pods and tablets, which are pre-measured 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 three, four, six, 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 three-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 (when the kids go back to school).

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 eco-friendly model should be top of mind when you’re 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 build-up 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 scent, 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.

Our Top Picks

Selected with these key features and shopping tips in mind, the following contains five recommendations for the best septic tank treatments available. This group focuses on varieties of biological additives, and which septic tank professionals recommend over other options because they won’t damage the system, soil, or groundwater.

Best Overall

Best Septic Tank Treatment Options: Septic Tank Treatment - 1 Year Supply
Photo: amazon.com

Cabin Obsession One Year Septic Tank Treatment comes with 12 pre-packaged monthly doses for use with a 1,000-gallon tank, totalling one 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 gallons
  • Lifespan: 1 month per pod

Pros

  • Comes with a full year of treatments
  • Eco-friendly with zero chemicals
  • Provides odor control
  • Affordable price point

Cons

  • Larger households may require more than one pod per treatment
  • Monthly treatment required; shorter lifespan than other options

Best Budget

Best Septic Tank Treatment Options: Green Gobbler SEPTIC SAVER
Photo: amazon.com

Promising six months of ongoing septic system treatment, the Green Gobbler Septic Saver uses 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 Saver pods also come with odor elimination features and anti-corrosive additives to help protect drains, pipes, and the interior of the tank.

Product Specs 

  • Type: Biological additives
  • Tank Compatibility: 1,500 gallons
  • Lifespan: 1 month per pod

Pros

  • Provides odor control
  • Anti-corrosive capabilities
  • Breaks down clogs, oil, grease, fats, and more
  • Protects drains, pipes, and septic tanks
  • Comes with a 6-month supply of treatments

Cons

  • Comes with less pods than other products
  • Does not break down hair

Best for Clogs

The Best Septic Tank Treatment Option: Instant Power 1868 Septic Shock
Photo: amazon.com

Using this product couldn’t be easier. Simply dump the entire contents of the bottle into your toilet and flush it down into the septic pipes, where it begins to work instantly, and its odor eliminating enzymes help prevent undesirable scents from permeating your home.

Instant Power Septic Shock Treatment is eco-friendly, using lipase, protease, cellulose, alpha-amylase, and other powerful enzymes to digest grease, soap, paper, and fats, at an inexpensive price. There are few clog-busting options as effective as this one, but you should avoid using this product as a regular maintenance treatment, as it is specifically engineered for clogs and its contents may overpower a healthy septic system.

Product Specs 

  • Type: Organic solvent
  • Tank Compatibility: 1,500 gallons
  • Lifespan: As needed

Pros

  • Dissolves grease, soap, paper, human waste, and fats
  • Odor eliminating properties
  • Affordable price point

Cons

  • Not recommended for frequent use

Best Monthly

Best Septic Tank Treatment Options: Walex BIO-31112 Bio-Active
Photo: amazon.com

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 pre-measured 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 interior of your toilet after use, so consider using it before the toilet is cleaned to prevent scrubbing the toilet bowl repeatedly.

Product Specs 

  • Type: Bacteria additives
  • Tank Compatibility: 1,500 gallons
  • Lifespan: 1 month per pod

Pros

  • Comes with 1 year’s worth of treatments
  • Helps dissolve solids in your septic tank
  • Safe for all plumbing systems

Cons

  • Some residue left behind after use

Best Bulk

Best Septic Tank Treatment Options: GreenPig Solutions 53
Photo: amazon.com

The pre-measured pods that come in this bulk treatment option should be used once every three months. With eight included pods, one purchase means your septic tank is covered for two years of treatment. Green Pig Two Year Septic Tank Treatment is for use on tanks up to 1,500-gallons in size, though 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 protect your nose from rancid scents while it does its job.

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 gallons
  • Lifespan: 3 to 4 months

Pros

  • Comes with a 2-year supply of treatments
  • Dissolves grease, paper, sludge, and human waste
  • Odor eliminating
  • Affordable price point

Cons

  • Not suitable for homes with large toilet paper consumption

Our Verdict

When it comes to maintaining septic systems, there are many treatments available today that are effective and safe. One of the best options overall is the Cabin Obsession treatment which includes eco-friendly, chemical-free biological additives that are safe to use on 1,000-gallon tanks. With a 1-year supply of treatments, this pick provides odor control and comes at an affordable price point.

Alternatively, the Green Gobbler treatment is made for 1,500-gallon tanks and there is a 6-month supply included. Made with eco-friendly biological additives, this option provides odor control while protecting drains, pipes, and septic tanks. For added convenience, this treatment also breaks down clogs, oil, grease, fats, and more.

How We Chose the Best Septic Tank Treatments

The right septic treatment that is compatible with your tank’s size and needs while also breaking down human waste, oils, and grease can be difficult to find. Selecting the best septic treatment options on the market today depended on type, format, tank compatibility, lifespan, and quantity provided per purchase.

The top picks prioritize eco-friendly biological additives and organic solvents to keep harsh chemicals out of your septic systems. Though these liquid or pod treatments are better for the environment, they are also effective at breaking down hard and liquid materials while preserving the condition of your 500 to 1,500-gallon septic tank.

As many septic tanks require upkeep, many brands offer 6-month to 2-year supplies of treatments per purchase to keep your tank clear and healthy.

FAQs 

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

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

On average, you should treat your septic tank once a month to once a year depending on the manufacturer’s recommendations, and you should have your tank pumped out once every two to three 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 build-up 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 two to three 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.