NFU Mutual Smallholding Insurance

Author Topic: Eco shampoo bars and septic tanks  (Read 364 times)


  • Joined Feb 2017
  • High Peak
Eco shampoo bars and septic tanks
« on: January 29, 2020, 12:03:39 pm »
Why is nothing simple? I’ve felt very pleased with myself the last month or so having ditched plastic bottles of shampoo and conditioner for more environmentally friendly bars only to read somewhere this morning that I could end up blocking up my septic tank because they contain oils such as rapeseed, coconut etc.  I’ve started researching more into this and really got nowhere. Does anybody have any knowledge? I don’t want to go back to plastic bottles but then again I don’t want a huge septic tank bill either!
Voss Electric Fence

in the hills

  • Joined Feb 2012
Re: Eco shampoo bars and septic tanks
« Reply #1 on: January 29, 2020, 12:14:26 pm »
Oooooo, literally just about to do the same.
Never thought of that!
Will follow with interest  :o


  • Joined Dec 2011
  • Gascony, France
Re: Eco shampoo bars and septic tanks
« Reply #2 on: January 29, 2020, 12:21:47 pm »
Oils should float to the top anyway and in such small quantities they won't block anything. The real danger is fat, but if you have a trap on the kitchen outlet there won't be a problem either. Sounds like scare-mongering to me, but if you are really worried and do have a fat trap can you wash your hair in the kitchen?

Where did you read that Cambee?


  • Joined Feb 2017
  • High Peak
Re: Eco shampoo bars and septic tanks
« Reply #3 on: January 29, 2020, 02:52:24 pm »
I can’t remember where it popped up originally because I then spent about an hour trawling the internet looking for some thread to say no worries you’re fine. Then I spent ages looking at ingredients of various eco shampoo and conditioner bars and there’s lots of oils that solidify in them of various kinds. Then you go on septic tank advice sites and there’s dire warnings about putting any kind of solidifying oils in them. I ended up so confused I put this thread up! And no, I can’t wash my hair in the sink, everything gets done in the shower????


  • Joined Nov 2015
  • Kernow - some say it's in England !
Re: Eco shampoo bars and septic tanks
« Reply #4 on: January 29, 2020, 05:21:54 pm »
I'm no expert on septic tanks, but everyone knows that they do not cope well with fatty matter. 
Most folk tend to fit and forget their tanks (without any routine maintenance) and I guess there will eventually be a problem from a build-up/solidification of fatty substances, but how long will that take ???  (I don't doubt someone here will have one that's lasted for donkeys years without any maintenance whatsoever and they will be your best advisors.)

But I imagine it's a matter of degree:  size of tank and amount of throughput (the goods and the bads - in septic tank terms !!).  I can't imagine a small amount of fatty soap/conditioner will make huge difference as long as you are also careful about not routinely charging the system with cooking fats/oils.  I note it is recommended to dry-wipe greasy/oily pans before washing them.
Of course you could stop washing your hair (!) or at least stop using conditioner  ??? :-\
« Last Edit: January 29, 2020, 11:15:31 pm by arobwk »


  • Joined Mar 2009
  • Stirlingshire, Central Scotland
Re: Eco shampoo bars and septic tanks
« Reply #5 on: January 29, 2020, 05:26:39 pm »
Hopefully somebody who's into soap making will be along in a minute, but surely the oils / fats put into these products have been saponified - i.e. turned into soap by reacting them with caustic?

My simple head therefore says there's no problem here, because these oils are not in a form which will either solidify or float. Actually, the soap would latch on to any oil present and help it to mix with the water in the septic tank anyway (which is of course why soap works for washing out oil and grease, whilst fresh water does not).
"All fungi are edible. Some fungi are only edible once." -Terry Pratchett


  • Joined Mar 2019
  • North Shropshire
  • Dreamer with docile cattle and sheep!
Re: Eco shampoo bars and septic tanks
« Reply #6 on: January 31, 2020, 07:53:11 am »
We use muck munchers in our tank, as does my neighbour (sister) now. Still get pumped out yearly and are always full with water not sludge so it does work. I wash my mop every 3 days in shower with normal plastic bottled shampoo (not eco friendly but can't help that) but I shower each day. But i've switched to soap from gel! Lasts alot longer and cos I'm tight, buy soap from poundstretcher or other places if I see it On offer. No more than £1 or £1.50 for 4 bars! We do use carex for handwash in kitchen and both bathrooms and are aware that can interfere with tank bacteria. So far, no problem and we've been using it since it came out, but only the gel ones as the cream ones dry my hands out! We clean our plates as we don't waste food and depending on what the meal was, dogs then have them. No fat goes down the tank, we wipe out pans or tins first. Always have done. Makes you wonder how some people are brought up especially when you read about fatbergs!
Halter train the cattle to keep them quiet but watch your back when they come a'bulling! Give them all names even those you plan to eat. Always be calm. Most importantly, invest in wellies with steel toe caps and be prepared for the clever cow who knows where the toe caps end!!


  • Joined Feb 2017
  • High Peak
Re: Eco shampoo bars and septic tanks
« Reply #7 on: January 31, 2020, 03:02:47 pm »
Yes we’ve gone to soap bars again too. It’s only when you start reusing soap that you think why on earth did it go from everyone using soap bars (my childhood days) to everyone using plastic bottles of body wash and all the plastic waste that goes with that! I’ve decided to carry on with the shampoo bars as, as someone pointed out, the amounts of oils going down the plug are fairly minimal. When my friendly septic tank man comes in October he’ll tell me if there’s build up then. The shampoo bars (well the eco ones I buy) aren’t cheap but they’re lasting a lot longer than the bottles of shampoo I used to buy so I think that price wise it’s evening out.


  • Joined Aug 2012
  • Clackmannanshire
  • Qui? Moi?
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Re: Eco shampoo bars and septic tanks
« Reply #8 on: January 31, 2020, 05:22:54 pm »
I've just gone back to a septic tank when I moved so I am re-learning what can and can't be used.  What I'm curious to know is where the slurry that's annually removed from the tank is put.
Always have been, always will be, a WYSIWYG - black is black, white is white - no grey in my life! But I'm mellowing in my old age

Steph Hen

  • Joined Jul 2013
  • Angus Scotland.
Re: Eco shampoo bars and septic tanks
« Reply #9 on: January 31, 2020, 06:49:18 pm »
The answer to this is even easier; stop using shampoo and conditioner, just water. As with many things, it turns out if you stop using the product your body adapts and after a few weeks you don't need it anymore. So far I've ditched shampoo, conditioner, my face care regime (cleanser, toner, moisturiser) and various extra dry skin moisturisers and emollients and deodorant. When I'm ill or stressed the dry skin, BO and greasy yet dry and fuzzy hair return till I get better and then I'm fine again. I know a few people who've converted to this and getting on alright with a reduced shopping bill.

I use soap, it's organic olive oil based, from France with only three ingredients. One bar lasts me and two boys 2months or more so I'm not worried about it causing much harm as can't imagine it building up much in the tank?

Mad Goatwoman of Madeley

  • Joined Sep 2011
  • Telford
Re: Eco shampoo bars and septic tanks
« Reply #10 on: February 06, 2020, 11:39:46 pm »
I like soap made from lanolin rather than oils. I went back onto soap bars to cut down on plastic but the OH sticks to the handwash bottles and says it doesn't matter because we put them in the recycling.  ::) ::)


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