Acrylic paint and septic system

Report a post

Thank you for taking time to help Etsy! Please note that you will not receive a personal response about this report. We will review this post privately...

Why are you reporting this post?

Any additional comments?

Edit Post

Edit your post below. After editing, the post will be marked as edited and the date & time of the last edit displayed.


What is this?

Admin may choose to highlight awesome community posts that are friendly, answer questions, and offer informative links.

What does it do?

Highlighted posts are placed at the top of each page in a thread for greater visibility.

This thread has been closed and archived.

Original Post

This is a bit weird, but I really do need some help.

Hubby and I moved from the city to the country. We now have a septic system. I have never owed property with a septic system, and am absolutely paranoid of clogging it up.

If you paint with acrylics and have a septic system, how do you do things like wash your brushes out? I always rinsed them down the sink with lots of water and used mild soap to clean them. I also used to dump rinse water down the sink as well. (Large amounts of paint I would wipe my palette off with paper towel and throw them in the garbage, then wash it off with soap)

So, how do you deal with paint and a septic system? Use a large rinse bucket to hold acrylic tainted water? Send it into the septic system? Other ideas?

I really appreciate any ideas or comments anyone has, please and thank you!

Posted at 6:01pm Jan 19, 2009 EST


Smiling.....Dancingwisp.....I've had a well and septic for 16 years and yup, every brush and palette I've ever used has been rinsed down the kitchen sink or even in the bathtub! Acrylic is totally watersoluble and I've never had the first problem!
the one thing I did learn,however, was to never ever put any of those bacteria cleaning products down the drains to "help" the septic. It takes good and bad bacteria to make it work, and should actually do just fine on it's own!
If it makes you feel better, I just had it pumped for the first time this year....And that was only because we had post hurricane flooding forever....
Paint on!

Posted at 6:05pm Jan 19, 2009 EST

I ran into the same problem last year when moving to Washington. Although not on etsy, I paint with acrylics and clean up the same as I did having a normal sewer system. About once a month, dump some ridx in one of your toilets to "flush out" the septic system. They also like fat, so if you make fries or other fried foods, let the oil cool and pour down the sink drain or flush.

Posted at 6:07pm Jan 19, 2009 EST

I always describe a septic system like a chocolate chip milk shake.....

all of the solids will eventually make it to the bottom, while all of the liquids stay up top....

the solids if natural, will go thru a natural process and breakdown slowly, kind of like "danactive" in our systems,

the stuff that doesn't break down, must eventually get
pumped out of the septic tank or it will fill up to high with solids and then fail.

Anything that isn't natural, like paint, laundry softener, powdered detergents, powdered dishwasher detergent, grease, bleach

these all interfere with the biology and the liquid absorption in your septic field.

I do exactly what you do, which is really limit what
I am putting in my septic.........

including.....throwing paint rollers away vs. cleaning them.....

Use your brushes, just get as much paint off before you do start washing and pump your tank
once every 2 years at most.....

My system is over 50 yrs old and still going strong.....

Posted at 6:11pm Jan 19, 2009 EST

I've wondered the same thing! LOL
I moved into a house 1 1/2 years ago with a septic system. So far, I've been rinsing everything down the drain.

Posted at 6:14pm Jan 19, 2009 EST

I should add that I wash my brushes in the sink and dump the water in the sink. My palette is wax paper and I throw that in the trash.

Posted at 6:17pm Jan 19, 2009 EST

Thank you so much, everyone!

You have all given me lots to think about.

Our septic system is only 8 years old, and I want to keep it working the best it can for a long time. Pumping regularly is definitely our plan, as well as limiting the amount of "non-break-down-able" stuff going in. At least now I can paint with peace of mind that a little acrylic going in is not going to "hurt" anything.

Posted at 6:26pm Jan 19, 2009 EST

Mikazuki81 says

I've looked all over online for an answer to this question. We're planning on buying our first home which happens to be on septic. It's funny that I should happen to find this on Etsy when I expected to find it on a septic website!

It sounds like a little paint in moderation will be okay. It would really be a pain to wash brushes and save the water. At least with oils (which shouldn't go into sewer either) the paint sinks to the bottom and you can reuse the turpentine!

I noticed one person said they put fat down their drain. Everything I've read about septic systems says that isn't a good idea.

Here's a link to what the EPA says you shouldn't put down the drain:

Page 8 has the list.

Posted at 8:09pm Sep 23, 2009 EDT

Basically I use three classifications for what goes down the drain - organic stuff that will break down, stuff that won't breakdown (will remain as solids until it's pumped out), and stuff that interferes with the breakdown of organics - cleansers and detergents and all that bad chemical stuff.

Acrylic paint would fall into the 'remain as solids' class, and I'll bet you're not putting enough down the drain to be noticeable in the accumulation of solids. I suppose extremely large amounts of acrylic paint might coat the good bacteria and slow down decay, but only in silly amounts.

As for fat, that shouldn't go down the city sewer either.

Posted at 8:23pm Sep 23, 2009 EDT

amamabear says

So glad I saw this post. We just bought our first house and it has a septic system. My husband is paranoid, especially since I want to repaint every room!

Posted at 8:28pm Sep 23, 2009 EDT

Unfollow username?

Are you sure you want to stop following this person?