Your washing machine drains are a pretty important part of your home's ecosystem, especially if your washing machine is connected to a septic tank or greywater system. Here are some common chemicals that could cause problems within your septic system and laundry room plumbing if you put them in your washing machine:
The phrase "caustic chemicals" is a grab bag that could mean anything, but in general it refers to things that you wouldn't normally put in your washing machine anyway. The use of certain chemicals such as Benzaldehyde, Diethanolamine, and Chlorine could damage both the pipes and the machine itself.
In addition, some detergents contain phosphates or nonylphenol ethoxylate surfactants, which may contaminate the groundwater around your septic tank and be generally bad for the environment.
Don't use this kind of chemical on your washing machine drains. Not only could it do damage to your unit if it flows back up the pipe, it could also destroy your clothes. If you are experiencing a drainage issue with your washing machine, try to fix it via other means, like installing a drain vent or replacing the drain hose. Make sure your drain hose is free from knots, twists, and turns. If you hose has been damaged in or kinked in anyway consider replacing it to prevent future issues.
In general, powdered laundry detergent isn't a glaring problem by itself. However, in large quantities, powdered detergent can cause clogs due to clumping. The trick here is either to use less of the powdered stuff or switch to a liquid kind.
In small amounts, household cleaners like bleach and other harsh substances don't affect your household sewage treatment system. However, in greater amounts, these chemicals can corrode your pipes and cause harm to the septic tank.
The name of the game when it comes to chemicals in your washing machine is moderation. Don't use excessive amounts of powdered detergent, clog remover or bleach in your system, and everything should run smoothly. However, if you think you have any issues with your septic tank or washing machine drains due to the use of caustic chemicals, you should call your Roto-Rooter local plumber for an assessment.