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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
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We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

13 Models Considered
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We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.

Buying guide for best septic tank treatments

Last Updated July 2019

No one likes to think about the job of a septic system, but having a problem with the system is even more unpleasant. Improper care can lead to tank backup and, in the worst cases, expensive repairs. That’s why proactive care is a must for homeowners who rely on a septic system instead of the sewer system to dispose of human waste. Along with the necessary inspecting and pumping of your septic tank, using a septic system treatment may help maintain this vital equipment.

These products contain natural ingredients that manufacturers claim break down organic and solid waste materials that can clog pipes and cause tanks to fill prematurely. And while these treatments won’t solve all of your septic tank concerns, they may reduce odors and increase the length of time required between professional cleanings.

Shopping for a septic tank treatment can be confusing, but we’re here to assist you. We’ve put together this shopping guide with helpful information about what you can expect from these products, and we’ve chosen the best treatments available for your consideration and to help make your decision easier.

It’s estimated that 20% of the homes in the United States have septic systems. They’re common in rural areas around the country and range in size from about 700 to 1,500 gallons.

Key considerations

How does a septic system work?

Not all homes have access to a sewer system. In such areas, a septic system is necessary to keep and store waste from toilets, sinks, tubs, washing machines, dishwashers, and garbage disposals. A septic system is basically an underground tank where waste is contained.

Waste in the form of solids sinks to the bottom of the tank where bacteria and enzymes break it down and keep it from quickly filling up the tank. A septic tank is an anaerobic environment, which means the bacteria in these airtight containers thrive without oxygen. Because of this process, introducing extra “good” bacteria and enzymes via a septic tank treatment may be beneficial in several ways to the septic tank environment.

Benefits of septic tank treatments

Manufacturers of septic tank treatments claim that organic waste and paper break down much more quickly with their products than they would without treatment. While some consumers have had disappointing results from using treatments in their tanks, others swear that their septic systems work more efficiently and have to be pumped less frequently as a result of using the treatments as indicated. Here are some possible benefits of septic tank treatments:

  • More efficient system

  • More effective flushing of toilets without backing up

  • Less frequent pumping

  • Less money spent on servicing system

  • Fewer clogs and drains empty more quickly

  • Fewer odors

Powerful enzymes and bacteria

Bio-Tab has earned a loyal customer base for its convenience and noticeable results. Its natural enzymes and bacteria break down organic waste, and it doesn’t include harsh chemicals that can corrode or damage septic tanks. You get a 14-month supply of tablets that are mess-free and easy to use: simply flush one and you’re done. Plus, the tub they arrive in keeps them protected from moisture and is simple to store.

Septic tank treatment features

Ingredients

Harsh chemicals can cause septic tank components to malfunction and corrode. That’s why quality septic tank treatments are made with natural, biodegradable ingredients that aren’t likely to damage the system, plus they’re environmentally friendly, too. In addition to including enzymes and bacteria, some treatments come in individual packets or pods that are made of materials that dissolve in water.

Forms

Manufacturers of septic system treatments understand the unpleasant nature of septic systems, so their products are designed to be easy to use and cut down on mess.

  • Pod:  Many treatments are available in packets or pods that contain powders or liquids. The casing is water soluble and dissolves once flushed, releasing the treatment into the tank.

  • Tablet: Another common type of septic tank treatment comes in tablet form and is also easy to use.

  • Powder: Loose powder varieties are also available, but these aren’t quite as convenient to use because they require measuring.

  • Liquid: These treatments can be messy, but they are usually designed for one-time use for clogs or as an annual treatment.

Use

For the most part, treating your septic tank requires a once-monthly flush of the treatment you choose. Most products contain treatments in quantities of three, four, or six months or a year or more. However, there are treatments available to target clogs that are intended for one-time use. And for customers who want to treat their septic tanks and forget it for a while, some manufactures make treatments that only have to be used once a year.

EXPERT TIP

Depending on the size of your septic tank and the number of people in your household, you should have your tank professionally pumped every one to three years.


Staff  | BestReviews
EXPERT TIP

Never flush anything other than human waste and toilet paper. Items like feminine hygiene products, non-flushable wipes, cat litter, medications, and paper towels can harm septic tanks, and septic system treatments won’t help to break them down.


Staff  | BestReviews
EXPERT TIP

Don’t replace regular septic tank inspections and pumping with septic tank system treatments. Instead, use the treatments in addition to proper care and maintenance to keep your septic system operating properly.


Staff  | BestReviews

Septic tank treatment prices

The price you pay for a septic tank treatment depends on the brand, quantity, and treatment process. Prices vary somewhat depending on these criteria, but you can expect to pay between $11 and $80 for multi-month treatments ranging up to 14 months, and between $8 and $12 for one-time alternatives.

Inexpensive: If you don’t have a lot to spend or simply want to give a septic tank treatment a try before investing a lot of time and money, you can find some that range from $8 to $12. In this category, you’ll find some lesser-known brands with treatments for a few months to half a year. One-time treatments fall into this price range as well.

Mid-range: Septic tank treatments that cost between $12 and $35 suit most customers’ needs and come with enough product to treat a tank from 6 to 12 months. Some top-selling brands also fall into this price set.

Expensive: If you don’t mind spending $35 to as much as $80, you can purchase septic tank treatments with top-quality natural formulas that include treatments for 12 to 14 months. And if you prefer to treat your septic tank less frequently, there are products in this price category that are made to be used over several days and provide adequate bacterial and enzymatic action to last for an entire year.

Money-saving, water-soluble packs

The name says it all. Homeowners with septic systems and tight budgets rely on Green Gobbler Septic Saver. The six water-soluble packs contain enzymes and bacteria that target waste, paper, and other solids and organic waste, they flush easily, and the price falls on the lower end of the spectrum. There are no harsh ingredients that could be harmful to septic systems. What’s more, Green Gobbler offers access to an app that sends reminders when it’s time to flush the monthly treatment.

Tips

  • Don’t flush chemicals and harsh cleaners down your toilet if you have a septic system. They can corrode your tank and kill the “good” bacteria that dissolve organic waste.

  • Don’t overuse septic tank treatments. Introducing too much bacteria and enzymes can potentially throw off the balance in your tank, which can lead to clogs and overflowing toilets. Follow the instructions on the package of any treatment you purchase.

  • Pay attention to any warning signs. If you notice foul odors, standing groundwater on your property, sluggish toilets, or backed-up drains, don’t expect a septic tank treatment to solve these issues. Call a professional to ward off any problems that could be damaging your septic system.

  • Have your tank pumped on a regular basis. Do this even if you aren’t experiencing drain or toilet problems. Waiting until problems occur could result in damage to your septic system.

  • Learn all you can about your septic system. These systems are quite different from sewer systems, which require little upkeep from homeowners. Just like any other home system, septic systems need special attention to keep them operating effectively.

Other products we considered

As you browse the different septic treatment options available, you’ll want to choose a product that contains quality ingredients and is convenient to use. In addition to our top five favorites, we also found some other products that are worth considering, like the Cabin Obsession Septic Tank Treatment that’s made with active bacteria and comes in water-soluble packs. You’ll receive a year’s worth of treatments in a durable jar. The Down John Septic Tank Treatment only has to be used once a year, so you won’t have to worry about remembering to do a monthly treatment. The bacteria-packed formula helps promote an environment in your tank that’s conducive to the growth of “good” bacteria. The Septic Shock Instant Power treatment is also made with quality bacteria and enzymes and formulated to treat clogs and sluggish tanks and decrease odors. It comes in a two-liter bottle that’s made to be used all at once for fast-acting performance. It comes with a money-back guarantee if you aren’t satisfied with the results.

Did you know that water from other sources in the home, such as sinks and washers, also go into septic tanks? However, most septic tanks have separate units, such as a dry well, that catch graywater that doesn’t contain human waste. Water and waste from toilets and garbage disposals are referred to as blackwater.

FAQ

Q. Are septic tank treatments always effective?

A. Unfortunately, no. There are several factors that can contribute to their ineffectiveness. Sometimes homeowners wait too long to have their septic tanks pumped, and there is no simple solution for a backed-up, overflowing tank. Septic systems can also experience malfunctions due to aging equipment, requiring professionals to get them up and running again. Additionally, some plumbing professionals doubt the usefulness of septic tank treatments for improving tank function and increasing the length of time between professional cleanings. Although opinions vary, the key to success when using a septic tank treatment is to continue with routine inspections and maintenance and only use products with natural, quality ingredients.

Q. Will a septic tank treatment harm my tank?

A. It shouldn’t. Quality septic tank treatments are made with natural ingredients like enzymes and bacteria that target solid and organic waste without causing corrosion or other damage to the system. However, minor issues can turn into major problems if you ignore symptoms like backed-up toilets and drains, foul odors, and inadequate flushing power once you don’t notice improvement after using a septic tank treatment.

Q. Do I have to use a septic tank treatment monthly?

A. Yes and no. If a septic tank treatment is made for monthly use, then you will see the best results from flushing it once a month. However, some products are made to be used less frequently. Read the packaging of any treatment you choose and follow the instructions for top performance.

Q. I have three toilets in my home. Do I need to use a septic tank treatment in each one of them?

A. No. As a matter of fact, using too much septic tank treatment can cause an imbalance of the tank’s bacteria, which can lead to issues. The best way to treat your septic system is to use the product as indicated, and flush it in only one toilet if you have multiple bathrooms. Use the one that is on the lowest level of your home and closest to your septic tank for optimal effectiveness.

The team that worked on this review
  • Bronwyn
    Bronwyn
    Editor
  • Devangana
    Devangana
    Web Producer
  • Eliza
    Eliza
    Production Manager
  • Enid
    Enid
    Editor
  • Jennifer
    Jennifer
    Writer
  • Kyle
    Kyle
    Writer
  • Melinda
    Melinda
    Web Producer

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