There are plenty of solutions claiming to unclog a blocked toilet. They range from pouring vinegar and baking soda into the toilet to flushing raw liver down the toilet drain!
Many of these home remedies tend to have little success. So, it is not surprising when a septic treatment product like Rid-X is thrown into the mix as a possible solution.
But will Rid-X unclog your toilet?
Rid-X will not unclog your toilet. It is a septic tank treatment used in the tank to break down solid organic waste material. Its job is to break down the solid waste making it soluble where applicable. If insoluble, it is broken into smaller particles that form sludge at the bottom of the tank.
This guide will help you understand how Rid-X works, its uses, and why it can’t work in unclogging your toilet.
What Is Rid-X?
Rid-X is a septic tank treatment that is added to septic tanks to help break down solid waste that forms the sludge at the bottom of the tank.
Typically, septic additives are available in two categories: biological and chemical treatments.
Rid-X is a biological additive. It contains billions of active, organic bacterial enzymes.
The chemical options contain both organic and inorganic enzymes. Chemical additives contain strong alkalis and acids that also work as drain cleaners to open clogged drainage systems.
Rid-X contains several natural ingredients to aid in breaking down the different types of solids that make their way into your septic tank.
The ingredients include:
Protease is the enzyme responsible for breaking down proteins in the waste matter into smaller polypeptides. The resulting polypeptides are soluble in the water meaning they can pass easier out into the leach field through wastewater. Specifically, protease breaks down your fecal matter and blood in the septic tank.
This enzyme breaks down the grease, fats, and oils that are flushed down the drainage. That includes cooking oils and fat, as well as the oils from your body and hair.
Oil, grease, and fats form scum which is the top layer of waste in the septic tank. Most tanks are anaerobic, meaning they have limited oxygen. The microbes in the tank work best with little oxygen.
The scum helps to keep the tank’s anaerobic conditions intact enabling the bacteria to work effectively.
However, too much scum in the tank limits all the oxygen, even the small amount necessary for aerobic functions like wastewater treatment before it is released into the soil.
Lipase eats away at the scum keeping the levels at optimum: not too much and not too little. As a result, the tank functions efficiently.
This enzyme is responsible for the breakdown of the area in your urine. Its primary function is to hydrolyze the ammonium in the urine, broken down to nitrates through nitrification. The nitrates are absorbed into the effluent and passed out through the wastewater.
Xylanase digests the hemicellulose on plant cell walls which strengthens the walls. It breaks down vegetables and all other plant matter. As a result, it promotes faster decomposition of the vegetables. Plant matter comes mostly from your garbage disposal.
Amylase breaks down the carbohydrates that make their way into the plumbing system. For example, when you wash rice, pour porridge down the drain, or clear the leftovers into the disposal, Rid-X breaks down those carbs using Amylase.
The enzyme breaks down the starches and liquifies them to drain out of the tank instead of settling at the bottom of the tank.
Cellulase breaks down the cellulose found in waste like toilet paper and algae growing in the pipes. It also breaks down other harmful cellulose-based bacteria lurking in the septic tank.
Toilet paper can take up to five weeks or even more to biodegrade. But the cellulase speeds up the degradation process to make room in the tanks for the waste to move.
Rid X is available in powder, liquid, and gel packs.
Can You Use Rid-X In A Toilet?
Pouring Rid-X in the toilet only means that the treatment will travel through the toilet drainage into the septic tank.
Rid-X can also be poured down the bathroom and sink drain to end up in the septic tank. These are convenient, safe, and faster ways to introduce the septic treatment into the septic tank rather than opening the tank’s cover.
But once inside the septic tank, the bacterial enzymes will work on the waste, degrading the solids and digesting them. As a result, the flow of waste out of the septic tank is fluid and efficient.
Where Is Rid-X Use Applicable?
The mound system is an alternative to the traditional septic system. It is set up in the following areas:
- Areas where the soil is either impermeable or extremely permeable
- Areas with a high water table
- A place with porous bedrock and shallow soil cover
The mound is therefore raised above the ground surface and created with specific sand fill. The sand fill features a gravel-filled base as the bedrock.
This system also features small diameter pipes through which the septic tank pumps put the effluent in small, controlled quantities.
The amount released into the soil is evenly distributed into the bed for uniform absorption.
The mound system features a septic tank allowing it to accommodate the use of Rid-X.
An outhouse is a small building that houses the toilet. It is separated from the main house. The toilet is a traditional outhouse is typically a pit latrine where the waste goes directly into the ground at the end of the hole.
Modern outhouses feature a septic tank that captures the waste preventing it from contaminating the soil and environment.
The septic tank is connected directly to the main house. That means that all the waste goes into the tank, where the bacterial enzymes digest it before the wastewater flows out into the outhouse, which acts as a drain field.
This method eliminates the risk of contaminated water leaking onto the water table, as is prevalent with traditional outhouses.
In this case, the septic tank acts as a holding tank to treat the waste before releasing it into the outhouse. Once in the outhouse, the water drains into the soil.
When Not To Use Rid-X
If You Have An Aeration System
A septic tank with an aeration system features an air pump. The pump pushes oxygen and air into the septic drainage and the tank which boosts the natural bacteria’s activity level.
The introduction of Rid-X into the tank will mess with the balance of the natural bacteria’s ecosystem. That is because Rid-X contains much stronger enzymes.
With the aeration system in place, your septic tank is already performing optimally.
With A Chemical Toilet
A chemical toilet already contains additives to remove the odor. Also, the waste can be discarded after using the toilet and the tank can be cleaned.
So, you do not have to worry about drainage pipes, sinks, and other plumbing systems when using this option.
If You Have An RV
An RV doesn’t use a regular toilet. A regular toilet uses more water than is available in an RV.
These mobile homes use a travel trailer toilet with a pedal beneath the bowl. When you press the bowl, freshwater enters the toilet bowl as the waste is deposited into a black water tank located underneath the trailer.
The toilet comes with a sewage drain hose to remove the waste in the black water tank. You empty this tank by attaching the hose to a valve at a sewer line or the dumping station. Flush the toilet to clean out the black water tank.
There is no need for Rid-X in this case because you are not dealing with a septic tank or its drainage systems.
When Using A French Drain
The French drain is a wide enough trench that collects the wastewater and directs it away from the house. A wide perforated pipe is placed at the bottom of the trench. The wastewater travels through the pipe and empties away from the house.
A French drain can disperse the wastewater underground. The drain should be at least three feet from the house and empty on a low-lying section of your property.
Because of the simplicity and natural flow of the French drain, there is no need to use Rid-X. However, a French drain is not a good idea for getting rid of sewerage.
If Connected To The City Sewer System
If your plumbing is connected to the city’s sewer system, the city already treats and stores the wastewater coming from your home.
In fact, plumbing experts advise against using any additives because products such as Rid-x could interfere with the existing water management system.
Rid-X is designed for use in homes that have to install septic tanks because they do not have access to the centralized city or town sewerage system.
The Efficacy Of Rid-X: Myth Or Fact
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, there is no substantive evidence to support the claims by the manufacturers of Septic tank additives that their products improve waste treatment within the tank.
Rid-X is included in the additives that EPA is skeptical about.
According to EPA and other skeptics, the septic tank features natural microbes, which are already doing a great job of digesting the waste.
In fact, these experts believe that using Rid-X and other additives could cause an imbalance in the septic tank’s ecosystem, causing the existing microbes to function poorly.
But the manufacturers of Rid-X claim better performance in the septic tank with their product because the enzymes in the treatment are the same as you would find naturally in the septic tank.
That may be true. However, according to organizations like EPA, Rid-X has billions of these bacterial enzymes compared to the naturally occurring microbes in the tank.
Because of the high number, the enzymes in Rid-X overperform and break down the solid waste further than they should. The result is that the waste particles become smaller to pass through with the wastewater into the leach field and the environment.
As more of the particles make their way into the leach piping, the likelihood of clogged leach field pipes increases.
Unclogging a toilet is far cheaper than replacing a clogged leach pipe system.
If Not Rid-X, Then What?
Having your septic tank pumped remains the best solution to avoid clogging and blockages.
Get the septic tanks pumped every three years to remove built-up sludge and scum that limit the capacity of the tank. The contents of the tank are pumped out, then it is washed with clean water and then the cleaning water is pumped out as well.
In the meantime, before you have the septic tank pumped, here are a few tips to keep it healthy and fully operational.
- Avoid pouring toxic substances like pesticides, paint, solvents, and varnish into the drains.
- Use your garbage disposal less frequently because it releases a lot of solid waste into the tank.
- Do not drop solids like cigarette butts, feminine hygiene products, tissues, medication, and fur/hair.
- Avoid dumping grease and oil into the drains.
- Do not let runoff water enter the septic tank drainage. It will introduce soil, leaves, and twigs into the tank.
- Only use septic-safe toilet paper to avoid clogging the toilet.
More than 21 million American households have an onsite septic tank system to store and treat their wastewater.
And as people consider homesteading and others building new homes, the increase in septic tank use is inevitable over time. It makes sense that they would want their tanks to function and operate at optimum to avoid clogged toilets and drains. It is also understandable to believe a bacterial enzyme may unclog the toilet.
Unfortunately, Rid-X is not formulated for unclogged toilets. It is developed to digest the waste within the septic tank.