Using liquid drain cleaners may seem practical if you have a drain clog. While these are readily available and affordable, chemical drain cleaners can do more harm than good. By their very nature, they don’t live up to the promises on the label. There are ways to deal with a clogged drain in your kitchen or bathroom sink that are safer and just as easy. Here are five clear reasons to avoid using chemical-based commercial drain cleaners.
1. Drain Cleaners Can Damage Your Plumbing Pipes
Liquid drain cleaners contain rather harsh ingredients that gnaw away at the interior surfaces of pipes. Most use hydrochloric acid as the primary chemical. Other chemicals that can cause corrosion include sodium hydroxide (lye), sodium hypochlorite (bleach), sodium nitrate, or sodium chloride (salt). The drain cleaner can also trigger a chemical reaction that generates heat, which can weaken metal and melt plastic. In fact, chemicals aren’t only bad for your pipes, but also the finish on your sink or bathtub.
2. Chemical Drain Cleaners Have High Toxicity
This is especially the case with cheaper or off-brand drain cleaners. These can also emit fumes that are unhealthy, stinging and irritating the nose and eyes and causing damage if inhaled. The fumes tend to persist long after the cleaner is used. Some chemicals are considered poisons and can severely burn your skin upon contact, so if you absolutely must use them for some reason, it’s critical to read all warnings, follow the instructions carefully, and wear gloves and safety goggles.
3. Liquid Drain Cleaners May Be Ineffective
If there’s underlying pipe damage or a sewer line blockage, a chemical cleaner will only provide a temporary fix. You’ll soon have a drain issue again especially if tree roots have penetrated your sewer line. In many cases, the cleaner sits on top of the clog, prolonging the time a section of pipe is exposed to chemicals. Safer options include clearing a clogged drain with a plunger, or contacting a professional plumber to service your plumbing pipes.
4. Drain Cleaners Are Bad for the Environment
As bad as they are for you and your pipes, chemical cleaners can be even worse for the environment. Chemical residue left behind in the bottle can leak in a landfill, potentially contaminating water supplies, rivers, and other bodies of water where exposure can kill fish and other wildlife.
5. Availability of Drain Cleaning Alternatives
Another reason to avoid liquid drain cleaners is the safer, non-toxic alternatives available that are quite effective for drain cleaning. These include:
- Vinegar/Baking Soda: Vinegar, an acidic yet safe chemical, and the cleansing properties of baking soda, help unclog drains. Mix the ingredients until they start to fizz and pour the mixture down the drain. For the best results, let it sit overnight and run the hot water the next morning.
- Hot Water and Dish Soap: Heat up a pot of water on the stove, but not to the point of boiling, and add a few tablespoons of dish soap. Pour it down the drain to liquify the clog. Then run cold water to try and wash it away; the process can be repeated several times if necessary.
Contact Detour Plumbing
There are times when you need a drain cleaning professional. When simple drain cleaning doesn’t work, contact us for the most trusted Santa Clarita plumbing service. Detour Plumbing is available for 24-hour emergency repairs and is also providing installation and free estimates during the pandemic. We’re protecting customers and employees from COVID-19 with social distancing, sanitization, and no contact service. Call 661-424-9820 to request help by an experienced Santa Clarita plumber.