Bathroom / septic sign decor help :)

WannBeHomeMarch 31, 2011

We are now on our own septic and one thing that was made clear to us is that nothing should ever be put in to the toilets other than toilet paper.

I would like to make some cute signs (maybe some pretty frames and printed paper) for each bathroom stating that. How would you word it so it doesn't look tacky but gets the point across?

Thanks so much everyone.

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I grew up in a house with a septic was up to us to make certain our friends knew not to flush feminine hygiene products. I'm not certain there IS a "tactful" way to say that...

So, if I felt a sign was necessary, it would say something along the lines of "Our septic system can handle toilet paper and NOTHING ELSE. Please do not flush feminine hygiene products."

    Bookmark   March 31, 2011 at 7:18PM
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Here is a cute poem, I have seen this one at a friends' home before:

"Those of us with septic tanks, Would like to give a word of thanks, For putting nothing in the pot, that isn't guaranteed to rot. Kleenex is bad, cigarettes too, Feminine products are taboo, No hair combings please - use the basket. There's a very good reason why we ask it.
With your kind cooperation
We'll keep our tank in operation!"

    Bookmark   March 31, 2011 at 7:49PM
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How about this...

The last person to flush feminine products down our toilet is now deceased.
This is a cold case but we know what happened!!!

    Bookmark   March 31, 2011 at 10:36PM
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Get your septic tank pumped every other year and the few stray products that your guests may flush down the toilet will not be a problem. We recently moved from an area that was mostly septic and I have never seen anyone post such a sign. Majority of people also had garbage disposals hooked up. Everyone flushed tampons and I have never heard of a septic system that failed because of this.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2011 at 1:54AM
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IMHO a sign like the one suggested is worse than asking people to take off their shoes. The problem obviously comes from the embarassment of disposal. Having an open wastebasket does not really help - who wants to drops a "gift" even if its wrapped like a mummy for all to see? I have my wastebasket in the sink vanity to avoid that.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2011 at 6:18AM
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I have to agree with NOT placing a sign. I lived with a septic system also and had a disposer! The shame! And guess what? NOTHING ever happened!We didn't blow up! I wouldn't worry about it!

    Bookmark   April 1, 2011 at 9:51AM
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I've lived with a septic system for decades and agree with chispa and kmcg. It's no big deal to have a septic. Get it pumped regularly as recommended anyway (every 2-4 yrs depending on use), and you should have no problems. And yes, we've always had a disposal, too. Posting a sign would totally be a turn-off IMHO, and I've never seen anything like that among my septic owning neighbors.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2011 at 12:54PM
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Another septic tank user. No signs posted and never honestly thought about it. We've lived in the house 10 years and had the tank pumped twice. Once when we moved in and about 2 years ago just for good measure. Also have a garbage disposal.

Oh the one thing I would advise is to NEVER wash out paint brushes in the sinks. Paint does have a way of clogging up the drains which is the reason we had the tank pumped when we moved in. My painters (my dad and brother) cleaned all their brushes in the kitchen sink.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2011 at 1:14PM
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My first thought is that the tank itself won't get clogged, waste and paper buildup in the drainage tile that goes to the tank can be the problem.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2011 at 1:52PM
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So where do you wash your paint brushes? I can't imagine water based paints would be worse than cooking grease and oils. I installed a utility sink for messy jobs.

I've never been on septic but it has always been the rule with non-septic toilets that nothing but toilet paper go down because it's designed to break up easily. Not even kleenex. Plumbers have told me this too. I can't believe people flush hygiene products. Had a plumber tell me I wouldn't believe what people try to flush and that some even try to do diapers.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2011 at 2:02PM
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I wondered if it were tacky, but I have heard horror stories of septics backing up because of things flushed. Maybe the plumber has just made me to anxious about the septic, lol.

spring-meadow, I never wash off paint brushes in the house.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2011 at 2:49PM
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We have a septic system at our vacation home and I don't care who thinks it might be tacky. I've already paid too much money because visitors have flushed things they shouldn't have. I have a small, framed note on the top of the tank right above the flush lever stating that this is a septic system and only toilet paper may be flushed - not even tissues.

It's not just the septic that is a concern. Tampons should never be flushed. Our toilet wasn't emptying properly. The water would empty part way and then refill. The plumber came and a tampon had lodged in the drain pipe inside the toilet. He couldn't get it with a snake had to remove the toilet and turn it upside down to fish it out.

We've had the septic pumped regularly and the first time the fellow came out he showed us the debris that had collected in the filter basket - tampons, cigarette butts, a diaphragm and condoms. He told us that this could cause premature failure of the motor.

If you decide to post a note just keep it short. I think the poems are tacky - not the message.

Here is a link that might be useful: diagram

    Bookmark   April 1, 2011 at 3:22PM
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When we have large gatherings or people over that I think don't understand about septic systems, I put a covered waste basket in the bathroom along with a note on the tank that is brief.

- Septic System -
Only toilet paper should be flushed. Thank you

When we first moved in, I told sister-in-laws and friends stright up.

My folks spent LOTS of money because my sister didn't follow the rules, and in my mind there is NO reason to not share the info.
Kind of like me being told by my mother-in-law that food waste goes in the disposal NOT the trash can! oops (never had a garbage disposal!) Isn't life a learning chance after all??

    Bookmark   April 1, 2011 at 4:36PM
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I have no idea what a septic system can/can't tolerate, but if a plumber told me no tampons, I'd go with that. Better safe than $$$, right?

I would not be offended by a request sign, nor would I find it tacky.

I would not use a poem or rhymey thing.

Let me play devil's advocate. I've learned that not everyone shares the same literalness, or common sense. I could imagine, if a sign designated ONLY toilet paper, someone might be confused about whether or not they can flush their "biological matter".

Maybe something like: Septic System: Please don't flush hygiene products other than toilet paper.

I would probably place it in a nice frame above the toilet paper roll. I wouldn't place it on the toilet tank, or directly in front of the toilet if I could (e.g. if there was a table or something low there). I personally am not sure I would notice it on top of the tank.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2011 at 4:54PM
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Spring, paint brushes are washed with outside faucets. Oil and grease are never dumped in the sink either. As grease does solidify to a point and can clog drains.

I've always been told that you don't want to put anything in the septic system that will kill the natural organisms that help clean up the tank. Or that could contaminate the ground should the tank fail.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2011 at 5:33PM
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I agonized over The Sign for a while, because DH is a utility excavator and digs up sewer systems for a living. Although he doesn't do much septic, WE have one and know just how much it costs to have someone fix it. He also is a 3rd generation master plumber that grew up helping his dad clean drains. No grease down the drain, paint brushes rinsed outside, no products with bleach in the laundry, and nothing but TP in the toilet. I was thinking of putting a little basket of plastic bags - the kind the newspaper comes in - in the bathroom to dispose of other items. Our sign says, "Toilet paper only please. Joe doesn't get paid to dig up his own yard." But I'm thinking that's a little crass and will probably revise the sign.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2011 at 5:53PM
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We live in a rural area and we're not big entertainers of people we don't know really well, but when we had a large gathering I put a temporary sign up, and I could give a rip if someone is offended or put off, it's my house and my expense to bear if someone flushes a tampon.

Also, don't get the embarrassment stuff, what is more natural than menstruation? I think some of you will need the smelling salts when I tell you that we have an "If it's yellow, it's mellow" policy, and if you drop by my house unannounced and use the toilet, you'll be lucky to find it TP and pee free. Fresh water is at a premium on our planet (tho thankfully not in our neck of the woods) and I try not to add to the problem by flushing every time someone tinkles.

And FWIW hokypoky, I like your idea for a sign, it's a humorous reminder.


ps we also don't wear outside shoes in the house, yep, we're those kind of people too

    Bookmark   April 1, 2011 at 6:11PM
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We have had HORRIBLE problems with our two septic systems. . . Double the fun. After we replaced an expensive thingie (valve?) and had both pumped twice in two years, I printed out this with a graphic of a dragon running down the side of the page:

Once upon a time, a house was built out in the countryside. It had a quaint feature called a septic tank. The septic tank was a monster quietly hiding underground, just waiting for someone to feed it. When a visitor would unknowingly flush a no-no, it would roar like a great mythical beast, causing havoc, nasty floods and complete turmoil in this otherwise reasonably happy home.

PLEASE DO NOT FEED THE MONSTER! Do not flush anything inorganic down the commode except toilet paper. Feel free to flush multiple times if much paper is needed. Sanitary bags are in the vanity. The house thanks you in advance."

The above is framed in a lovely, interesting frame and sits on the counter in two different bathrooms where guests are likely to go. If it's tacky, so be it. Having sewage bubble up through your bathtubs is much worse!

    Bookmark   April 1, 2011 at 7:31PM
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I like cjc's little sign. Septic System, only toilet paper allowed. It's short and to the point and not gross at all and you can make a cute little decorative sign to set on top of the tank.

I have septic also. However, I am totally grossed out by open trashcans in a bathroom. Put them under the sink people, UNDER THE SINK! LOL.

Setting a trash can next to the toilet is an invitation to put things in the toilet. Surely most women know to look under the sink for a trash can?

    Bookmark   April 1, 2011 at 8:51PM
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Hmm. I've lived with septic for about 25 years and it never occurred to me to put up a sign in the bathroom. I have had a few women ask if we have septic and then act accordingly but I'm sure others have just flushed "whatever". Guys might have flushed who knows what too for all I know. We haven't had any problems. We have it pumped every five years or so.

The top of the septic tank did cave in a few years back but that was just due to age. TG one of us wasn't driving the lawn tractor over it when it decided to collapse! Would have made for an interesting story though. ;-)

I think simple and direct is best if one decides a sign is needed.

An aside: Ours is an old system in a rural area (not far from Sandyponder). The toilets are the only things that are connected to the septic tank. All other water drains go to a drywell. So grease, detergents, etc. don't get into the septic. This system is probably not allowed in most areas.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2011 at 9:18PM
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I'm a suburban baby, born and bred - wouldn't know a septic system if it bit me on the arse.

It would not offend me in the least to see a sign for proper septic flushing. OTOH, if I ever found out that I might have caused my host to have problems with their septic, I'd be mortified. I'd FAR rather be given instruction.

It's not only septics that are susceptible - our old clay sewer pipes are regularly infiltrated by tree roots. If a tampon string gets caught on a root, it can begin a chain reaction and even toilet paper can get caught in the line causing the whole thing to be plugged.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2011 at 9:43PM
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Wow! I appreciate everyone's feedback. This is really helpful. You all are great!

    Bookmark   April 2, 2011 at 4:07PM
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No sign..

At first I thought that this was a public bath you where speaking of.
I can count on my hands (oh wait i don't need any hands)the amount of times I've been at a friends house for a visit and needed to use the restroom for that purpose .

As much as men know they exist, there is a part of their brain that has erased all knowledge of that womenly function.

For the overniters, I assume if they are spending the night, you are close enough to them to just mention it .If not maybe hand-out a good sanitary wrapping bag in a little gift sack along with the customary clean towels.

All said I prefer to mention what can be flushed without the list of what can not .

    Bookmark   April 2, 2011 at 4:49PM
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Thank you for the suggestions in this thread. I made an 8"x10" sign and if anyone would like to use it here are the images:

JPG ready to print (click for fullsize):

Photoshop master file:

I put it in a Costco frame and it looks nice.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2012 at 6:15PM
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Annie Deighnaugh

Our guest room is in the lower level and is a pumped septic system, so I verbally tell all overnight guests that there is single ply paper for a reason, and they should use what they need, but not overuse the paper....I presume that means they know that nothing more than paper is allowed. Of course, most of my friends are past the age of even needing feminine products!

And I disagree about the waste is out in the open so people don't have to go searching for it if they use tissues or anything else.

As far as the poem, I remember the one at work in the ladies room:

If you sprinkle
When you tinkle
Be a sweetie
Wipe the seatie!

    Bookmark   December 13, 2012 at 6:25PM
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A solution to the waste basket is to use a small foot operated lid style one. I have those because of dogs and it also works well to hide the contents while being convenient to the toilet.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2012 at 12:39AM
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Annie Deighnaugh

I thought the sign at our auto service shop was gross...

"If you didn't swallow it, don't flush it."


    Bookmark   December 14, 2012 at 7:17AM
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It cost us a $1,000 to have our septic cleaned. So doing it every year or so is not an option for most people. We don't have one of the newer one's, our's is 30 years old with latteral lines everywhere.

I would put a decorative sign on the front of the toilet simply saying, "We have a septic tank, toilet paper only. Trash can under the sink."

    Bookmark   December 14, 2012 at 8:10AM
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Now I feel silly. I replied to this topic before reading all the previous replies, and saw it's an old post and I replied earlier!

I guess I still stand by what I said above. LOL

    Bookmark   December 14, 2012 at 8:16AM
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Bossturbo, it was good of you to share your sign - it's very nice. Even tho this is an old thread, I'll bet others will search the topic it just like you did and will appreciate finding an option to print yours out.

I am of an age when the majority of people I entertain don't need the supplies we are referring to, but I used to have a tiny computer generated label affixed to the top of the tp holder (I have one of those older, sunk in the wall, chrome holders) that said, "Pls don't flush feminine products. Wastebasket under sink." It was really unnoticeable until you were using the tp.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2012 at 10:46AM
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This may be too direct for some, but I stole from a number of signs to create the following for our new mountain home that will have lots of guests visiting even when we can't be there...;

Dear Guest,

Here in the Country we have A delicate loo-Anything but toilet paper is taboo.

Kleenex is bad. dental floss too. Hair & feminine products will definitely cause a scare.

And Since We DonâÂÂt want to pay the plumber - asking you to pump the septic would be a bummer.

So to ensure that you are welcomed back, thanks for Keeping our little Pact.

LetâÂÂs not put Anything in the pot that isnâÂÂt guaranteed to rot.

I have a septic field... its just not environmentally friendly nor do I want to have to deal with the potential issues of having someone misunderstand... I think that if I put this much effort into a sign, people will understand that it is important to me... plus some of our friends have teenage girls, so I feel the need to be specific and remind them every time they are in a position where they could perhaps simply forget the need to break a habit.

I suppose if it were my formal home I might feel differently.

This post was edited by southerngalinnyc on Sat, Feb 23, 13 at 9:06

    Bookmark   February 23, 2013 at 8:48AM
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