Septic Back-Up Leave A Mess? 4 Steps For A Thorough Clean-Up

Posted on: 20 July 2015

You can't always tell when your septic tank is about to cause you problems. Unfortunately, that lack of warning can leave you with a big mess on your hands. If your septic tank backed-up, you might be looking at raw sewage in your bathroom.

The first thing you need to do is contact a septic repair company like Soares Sanitation Pumping Inc. The second thing you need to do is take care of the clean-up. Don't just wade in and start cleaning though. There are some important instructions you should follow that will take care of the mess and the odor.

Grab the Protective Gear

Raw sewage can be hazardous to your health. In fact, it can carry the germs to several highly contagious diseases, including dysentery, infectious diarrhea and e-coli. Before you begin the clean-up, be sure you've put on your protective gear. Your gear should include:

  • Face mask

  • Rubber gloves

  • Rubber boots

  • Long pants – with pant legs tucked into boots

  • Long-sleeved shirt – with sleeves tucked into gloves

Remove the Water

Standing water should be removed using a wet/dry vacuum or submersible pump, depending on the water level. For a small amount of water, the wet/dry vacuum will work well. Drain or empty to water into heavy duty black plastic bags and seal them tightly. Your septic repair technician will be able to empty the contents into the septic while they are repairing your tank.

Remove the Sludge

Once the water has been removed, you'll notice a layer of sludge. This is actually raw sewage left on your floor. You'll want to remove that by scraping it up with a shovel for thick sludge, or a broom and dustpan for thin layers of sludge. Discard the sludge in heavy duty black plastic bags. Seal the bags tightly and set them outside near the septic tank.

Disinfect All Affected Surfaces

Now it's time to disinfect every surface that came in contact with the raw sewage. Be sure to clean the room thoroughly to remove any signs of contamination. Here's how to disinfect the surfaces:

Supplies You'll Need

  • Bucket
  • Hot water
  • Bleach
  • Scrub brush
  • Sponge
  • Mop


  1. Fill your bucket with hot water.

  2. Add ¾ cup of bleach for each gallon of water you use.

  3. Use your scrub brush to clean all the walls.

  4. Drain the water and make a fresh cleaning solution using the instructions listed in #1-2.

  5. Use your sponge to wipe the walls down with the cleaning solution a second time. 

  6. Using your mop, clean the entire bathroom floor.

  7. Drain the water and make a fresh cleaning solution using the instructions listed in #1-2.

  8. Mop your floors one final time using the fresh cleaning solution.

  9. Allow your bathroom to air dry for several hours.

You never know when your septic tank is going to back-up. When it does, be prepared with these handy cleaning instructions. To prevent future problems, be sure to have your septic tank serviced at least once every three years.