Tips to keep your home sewage treatment plant healthy

by Mars
aerobic septic tank

We’ve had our Vortex home sewage treatment plant emptied and cleaned, and we’ve ensured that our tank’s blower has been configured and balanced properly. You can see everything in our video. We also share some top tips to keep your sewage treatment plant healthy.

WARNING! ⚠️ The video shows the inside of our home sewage treatment plant and how it’s emptied.

The first thing we need to remember is that a home sewage treatment plant is a collection of living, breathing organisms and in order for it run properly we need to ensure everything is balanced.

With Coronavirus affecting everything we do, it’s also going to impact your tank, because we’re not supposed to be adding any antibacterial products to the system as they kill the bacteria.

Disinfectants, hand sanitizers, alcohol, toilet rim blocks, medicine and antibiotics, kitchen and bathroom cleaning products, washing powders and liquids all potentially contain antibacterial elements.

All detergents will adversely affect a sewage treatment plant, so keep their use down to a minimum. High foaming products such as bubble bath should also be avoided.

Flushing sanitary towels, tampons, baby wipes, condoms and any other item that won’t breakdown naturally is a massive no-no.

Others things that should not be flushed or poured down your drains are oil and grease from cooking and frying, milk, animal blood, animal poop (cat litter, for example), paint and thinners, and chemicals.

That limits you a lot in trying to dispose of things you may have considered OK to this point. But there are workarounds.

For starters, we only use natural hand soaps, shower gels, shampoos and cleaners as they’re a lot more gentle on the bacteria in our tank. We really like Ecover as a brand because their products are derived from plant extracts. We also use Method as a cleaner.

Also, the longer you stick with the same product/brand, the bacteria in the sewage tank will become more tolerant of it.

Try to spread out washing and laundry throughout the week so that you don’t introduce massive volumes of water that will shock the system.

TOP TIP: use paper towels instead of cloths and rags when cleaning. By using paper towels to wipe down surfaces with cleaning products the paper towel goes in the trash and no chemicals will go down the drains. The same applies to pans that may be oily from cooking. Wipe them with a paper towel and then chuck them in the bin.

Be aware that friends, family and visitors can cause problems for your home sewage treatment plant. If they have children, they may flush wet wipes. If they’re sick, they may be on medication (or may have had chemo) and every time they use the loo, they are adding to antibacterial load.

Washing machines are a huge source of wastewater. To prevent overloading the home sewage treatment plant, washing should be spread equally over the week, and try to do full loads. Try to use non-biological washing powder with no bleaching agent.

Toilets should be cleaned with a product made from natural sources. If you want to use bleach, limit this to once a week. Once you’ve poured it into your toilet leave it overnight, if possible, as this will clean the toilet better and allow the chlorine to evaporate out of the water. This will limited damage to the bacteria in the sewage plant.

TOP TIP: Cheaper bleach (we opt for Tesco’s own brand) is ideal as it’s a basic chloride solution with no persistent chemicals. Expensive bleaches are loaded with persistent chemicals that are detrimental to the tank and the environment.

Our home sewage treatment plant routine

Every day, we ensure that the blower is working. Once a week we check that the vitro filter is clear and unobstructed, and that the large bubbles are constant and resemble boiling water. We also ensure that fine air bubbles are present in the bio zone.

We also take note of the odour. Our tank does not smell – it has an earthy smell.

home sewage treatment plant

You can find out more about the Vortex home sewage treatment plant by visiting the manufacturer’s website.

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3 years ago

[…] ingredients list is clean, vegan, packed with a biodegradable formula, which works for us on a home sewage treat plant (not mains) and is free from all the usual rubbish: silicone, parabens, sulphates, SLS and the […]

3 years ago

[…] know that our tank hasn’t been as healthy as it should since the Coronavirus outbreak, so it’s a perfect time for us to test our tank and […]

Nicky H
Nicky H
3 years ago

We have just moved into a new house with a sewage treatment plant in the garden. It is causing me a lot of worry, trying to get to know what can and cannot go into it, and how to keep the toilets clean, plus other areas of the house, without affecting the smooth, safe running and efficiency of the STP. I hope this site will help me to learn.

Reply to  Nicky H
3 years ago

Thank you for the message Nicky. Home sewage treatments can be daunting at the outset, but they’re quite manageable when you get your head around them.

Essentially, the only solids going into the tank should be what’s flushed down the toilet. That’s the main starting point. Try not to allow food stuffs to go down the kitchen sink, don’t disregard milk or cream via the sink either, and try not to allow oil, fats and grease to get into the tank in any significant quantities.

Also limit antibacterial products and bleach.

We have a few STP videos on this site, and I’d recommend looking into Muck Munchers to give your tank a healthy start:

Please feel free to post questions across our site, and we will be happy to answer them.

You can also subscribe to our YouTube channel where we will be posting update STP videos in the future:

2 years ago

Simply loved this video, thank you. In the process of purchasing a cottage with a STP installed and were quite worried (my partner worries about everything!!) about how it works and what it would mean for us as a family.

Feeling a lot more relaxed about the purchase now due to your informative video.

Thank you.

Reply to  Dan
2 years ago

Thanks for the feedback Dan, and glad you found the video useful.

Home sewage treatment plants are a lot less daunting to look after if you just learn the basics and don’t flush things that shouldn’t be flushed. I still tend to our tank once a month encouraging the sludge layer to filter back into the aerobic chamber, and by adding Muck Munchers, we’re guaranteed that our good bacteria are present at optimal levels breaking down waste and FOG (fat, oil and grease).

Please keep us posted about your tank. Would be great to hear how you come along.

2 years ago

The small print advises that if anyone in the house is on long-term medication, the biozone might well be compromised. We use Ecover products, are careful about what goes into the tank and check every week for anything which might not be breaking down. I have to say it’s largely failed and after discussion with Vortex my long-term medication is the culprit! (But how many households are free of long-yerm medication?)

Reply to  Duncan
2 years ago

This is an excellent point, and it extends beyond long-term medications and antibiotics to include people that have been having chemotherapy treatments. This, however, applies to all tanks (home sewage treatment plants like the Vortex and septic tanks).

1 year ago


Thanks for this useful article. We have a STP at our glamping site and use Faith in Nature products and Ecover. We haven’t however found a suitable bubble bath to leave for guests. Can you recommend one at all, please?


Reply to  Charlotte
1 year ago

Thanks for the comment and feedback Charlotte. We’ve been using Bayliss and Harding Goodness range and it’s been really good and gentle on the tank:

Good luck with your glamping site.

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