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A man fixes a septic tank that smells in and near Lakeland, FL

How To Keep Septic Tank From Smelling

If you have a septic tank, you may be concerned about septic odors. While septic odors are not necessarily dangerous, they can be unpleasant. You can do a few things to prevent your septic tank from smelling bad.

Should Your Septic Tank Smell Bad?

The septic tank is a holding container for wastewater as it moves from your home to a drainfield or other area for final processing. The tank houses useful bacteria that help to break down the waste. Its function means that there is a potential for it to smell bad, but are bad smells from a septic tank normal?

In a properly functioning septic system, the answer is no. Outside of the main chamber lid, you should not have any septic tank smell problems. If you do, there is probably an issue that needs to be addressed.

What Causes Septic Tank Odors?

The ecosystem of a septic system is complex, and its proper functioning is essential to avoid septic tank odors. Here are a few of the common causes of septic tank odors:

Anaerobic Bacteria

Bacteria in your septic tank help to break down the waste that comes from your home. One type of bacteria is aerobic, which means it can’t live without oxygen. If your tank doesn’t have enough oxygen, the aerobic bacteria will die and turn into anaerobic bacteria, which are less effective at digesting organic waste. 


Septic tanks odors can be caused by items that should not be flushed into the septic system, such as fats, greases, oils, hygiene products and various chemicals. These can overload the tank or clog it up, destroy the bacteria, or simply reduce efficient digestion.

A septic tank inspector in and near Lakeland

Keeping Septic Tank Smells Away

Here are a few tips for ensuring that you do not need to get rid of septic smell on your property.

Regular Septic Tank Maintenance

Make sure that you are properly maintaining your septic tank. This means pumping it every three to five years and having it inspected regularly.  You should also have your septic tank cleaned if it becomes clogged.

Use Water Conservatively

Avoid using too much water. Your septic system is designed to process a certain amount of wastewater based on the size of your home and the number of occupants. Flushing more water into the system than it is meant to have can cause problems. For example, too much water can cause your septic tank to overflow and create odors.

Use Septic-Safe Products

Not all products are safe to use in septic systems. Harsh chemicals or cleaners that contain bleach can disrupt the delicate ecosystem of your septic system. Even toilet paper that is not made to be used in septic systems can cause problems because it may not degrade quickly enough or might contain chemicals that are harmful to the bacteria in the septic tank.

Be Careful About What Gets Put Into the Septic Tank

Foul smells from a septic tank are sometimes a result of a clog. Flushing things that are not intended for septic systems is a sure way to cause blockages. Never flush items like cat litter, cigarette butts, feminine hygiene products, or even so-called “flushable” wipes down the toilet if you have a septic system. Likewise, avoid overuse of a garbage disposal, since even smaller food particles can cause clogs.

If you do notice septic odors, call a septic professional. They will be able to help you determine the cause of the odor and recommend a course of action.

Checking the p-traps for the source of the smell

What To Do If Your Septic Tank Smells Bad

There are many commercially available products that claim to be smelly septic tank solutions, but homeowners are advised to be cautious with what they use. Some products that call themselves a “septic tank smell remover” are ineffective or, in some cases, contain chemicals that may be harmful to your septic system.

If your septic tank does start to smell bad, there are a few things you can do: 

Baking Soda

Some people suggest that flushing one cup of baking soda every week can help support the bacteria in your septic tank by maintaining an ideal pH level.

Indoor Plumbing

If the smells are indoors, check the P-traps in sinks, tubs, and drains, and the wax rings around toilets. If these dry out, they can allow bad odors to flow back into the home. You can also inspect the plumbing vent trap to be sure that it remains clear.

Septic Drain Field

Inspect your septic drain field for signs of oversaturation. If the drainfield is not able to process the effluent quickly enough, wastewater can back up into the septic tank and ultimately cause foul smells. 

Finally, if the septic tank odor persists, you may need to call a professional septic company for help. They can inspect your septic system and determine the cause of the smell. If necessary, they can pump your septic tank and clean it out, or do anything else necessary to remove the odor and eliminate the cause.

The Best Septic Company In & Near Lakeland

When you need septic service in & near Lakeland, contact the professional team at Septic and Drainfield Depot. If you have septic tank odors, we can identify the source and provide a solution that will fix the issue.

We also offer a full range of residential and commercial septic services, including septic system installation, drainfield repair, and lift station maintenance. We are available 24/7 because we know that septic emergencies can happen at any time.

Septic and Drainfield Depot is fully insured, and our experienced team keeps up with all the latest technology and equipment to ensure our customers’ satisfaction. We cover all of Polk County and other areas in central Florida, so contact us today for a free estimate.

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Contact Septic & Drainfield Depot

With our transparent pricing, free estimates, and honest professionals, our company shines above the rest in Lakeland, FL. We are committed to finding out the issue the first time we walk foot on your property, and finding an effective and efficient solution that will fit within your budget. A septic problem is never something anyone wants to deal with, but we are ready to tackle anything you need. Contact us for a free estimate.