Which septic tank treatment is best?

Many homes, especially in rural areas, use a septic system for managing wastewater.  To ensure trouble-free use, a septic tank does require regular inspection and maintenance. A good-quality treatment will promote the growth of enzymes and bacteria that are vital for the breakdown of waste matter and to prevent odors.

Depending on the number of residents, the size of the property and the subsequent size of the septic tank, there are several different treatments available. The EPA-approved Bio-Tab for Septic Systems is non-toxic and comes in an easy-to-use tablet form. Each tablet keeps a 1000-gallon septic tank in proper working order for a month. There are several other high-quality treatments available for different septic systems and requirements.  

What to know before you buy a septic tank treatment

Types of treatment

There are four main types of treatment available: Pod, tablet, powder and liquid. Pods are filled with either a powder or liquid and have a water-soluble casing, and similar to tablets, they are very easy to use. Powders and liquids require measuring and can be a little messy.


The primary purpose of these treatments is to keep the septic system running efficiently with fewer odors and fewer clogs. This will ultimately reduce the frequency that it needs to be pumped out and save money.


It is important to follow the manufacturers’ recommendations when it comes to the amount of treatment to use and how often. Some are designed for monthly treatment, whereas others only need adding once a year. Most are conveniently packaged in quantities for 3, 6 or 12 months.

What to look for in a quality septic tank treatment


Standard septic tanks can range in sizes from 500 gallons to 2,000 gallons or more. Therefore, it”s important to get the dosage of treatment right. Too little could lead to clogged pipes and blocked toilets, while too much will change the balance of enzymes and bacteria in the tank and may cause it to produce harmful gasses.


How long the treatment will be effective is another important consideration. Some are designed for a single time use for malfunctioning or blocked systems, and others may need to be added monthly, bi-monthly or quarterly. Following the manufacturers’ recommendations will prevent over or under-dosing.

Organic vs. inorganic

In the past, treatments included inorganic acids or alkalis, which are great for removing clogs but destroys the necessary bacteria. Organic solvents, such as trichloroethylene, are also popular as these breakdown oils and fat; however, they have been proven to cause ecological damage and are banned in some states. Organic, biological additives are the only treatments that maintain the ecosystem of the tank without damaging the environment.

How much you can expect to spend on a septic tank treatment

Most monthly treatments are relatively inexpensive and will cost around $8-$12 a month. Yearly treatments can range from $35-$80. An emergency treatment for a blocked tank is around $50.

Septic tank treatment FAQ

Are septic tank treatments environmentally friendly?

A. If it is organic, then most likely yes, as these treatments only increase the amount of good bacteria. However, inorganic options may contaminate the groundwater and should be avoided, especially if your system uses a drain field.

What should and shouldn’t go in a septic tank?

A. Ideally, the only things that should go in the septic tank are bodily waste and toilet paper. Cleaning agents like bleach will destroy the necessary bacteria.  Additionally, things like food scraps will produce high levels of phosphorus and nitrogen, which can be damaging to the environment.

Why does my septic tank have a bad odor?

A. A bad odor usually indicates an issue within the system. The correct levels of bacteria are essential for the effective breakdown of waste matter. A severely blocked system will produce a strong odor and will probably need to be inspected by a professional.

What’s the best septic tank treatment to buy?

Top septic tank treatment

Bio-Tab for Septic Systems

Bio-Tab for Septic Systems

What you need to know: This tablet form treatment is designed for 1,000-gallon tanks and is non-corrosive and non-poisonous.

What you’ll love: The compact packaging contains a one-year supply and has a helpful calendar on the top of each bottle for keeping track of the dosage.

What you should consider: The initial treatment requires a higher dosage of three or four tablets.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top septic tank treatment for the money

Green Gobbler Septic Saver

Green Gobbler Septic Saver

What you need to know: These water-soluble pods are biodegradable, non-polluting and are safe for all septic systems.

What you’ll love: They effectively digest grease, fats and oils and neutralize the effects of detergents, bleach and other household cleaning products. A free downloadable app for setting maintenance schedules is included.

What you should consider: Each pack contains enough treatment for six months, so it will need to be purchased more regularly than others.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon and Home Depot

Worth checking out

Green Pig Septic Tank Treatment

Green Pig Septic Tank Treatment

What you need to know: This is a one-year supply of concentrated pods that can simply be flushed down the toilet every three months.

What you’ll love: This product works quickly and efficiently on underperforming septic tanks. It includes a free bottle of emergency formula for blocked systems that require immediate attention.

What you should consider: It should be used before bed to allow the product to work overnight.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon


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Chris Gillespie writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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