A clogged drain in your home can be annoying. And your quick fix might be to grab that bottle of chemical drain cleaner you have stashed under the sink. But is it just another harmless cleaning product? Well, let’s dig a little deeper.
How Do These Chemical Drain Cleaners Get the Job Done?
You may not realize it, but there are two types of chemical drain cleaners:
Oxidizing drain cleaners do a few tricks to get rid of clogs. They use nitrates to dissolve the organic gunk in the clog, and they release a lot of gas and heat to help melt away grease and unclog the drain.
On the other hand, acidic drain cleaners use hydroxide ions and alkaline chemicals. As these ions and chemicals team up, they create a lot of heat and transform the blockage into a soap-like, foamy substance.
Are These Drain Cleaners Dangerous?
Unlike your regular degreaser or toilet bowl cleaner, chemical drain cleaners get into serious chemical reactions. Think about it – a substance that can dissolve organic material or produce heat instantly isn’t something you want on your skin or eyes, right? But mishaps with drain cleaners happen every year.
Consider these findings:
- Chemical drain cleaners cause about 3,000 injuries in the U.S. every year.
- One-third of these injuries involve heat-related skin damage.
The Bad Guys In Chemical Drain Cleaners
Two ingredients make many chemical drain cleaners risky: concentrated sulfuric acid and sodium hydroxide.
- Sulfuric acid is super corrosive. It can burn most organic materials on contact and get really hot when mixed with water. You’re in for a serious injury if that mixture gets on your skin or eyes.
- Sodium hydroxide is also highly corrosive. It’s a solid at room temperature, but when it dissolves in water, it gives off a lot of heat. Contact with sodium hydroxide can irritate your eyes, skin, and mucous membranes and even lead to hair loss and skin and eye burns.
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Can Drain Cleaners Hurt Your Plumbing Pipes?
Apart from being a safety hazard, chemical drain cleaners can gradually destroy your home’s plumbing if used repeatedly. The corrosive substances in drain cleaners can slowly damage your pipes. The damage can escalate if the cleaner fails to unclog the drain.
You’re in double trouble if the cleaner doesn’t clear the blockage. You still have the clog, and now a very hot, corrosive liquid is sitting on top of it in your pipe. This combo of intense heat and harsh chemicals can weaken your pipes, making them more prone to leaks.
Going Chemical-Free: Better Drain Cleaning Options
Pro techniques from folks like us at Drain Express are safer and better for your plumbing than chemical drain cleaners. They’re also more successful at removing stubborn clogs, especially those deep in your drains.
- For the occasional clog, our plumber can clear the drain with a drain snake – a method we call “snaking” or “cabling.”
- If you have frequent clogs and buildup in your drains and sewer line, we recommend hydro jetting as a more effective long-term solution. Using a powerful machine, our plumber will guide a hose with high-pressure water jets through your drains to blast away blockages and debris.
Choosing the right way to tackle a stubborn clog in your drain is important, not just for your convenience but also for the longevity of your home’s plumbing system and your safety. While chemical drain cleaners might seem easy, they can pose significant risks, from personal injury to damage to your pipes.
At Drain Express, we recommend safer, professional methods like snaking and hydro jetting that protect you and your home and effectively eliminate those stubborn clogs. So, next time your drain puts up a fight, give us a call. We’re here to help with a safer and smarter approach to drain cleaning.
Contact us today either online or via a call.