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Hazards of Chemical Drain Cleaners (and What to Do Instead)

March 5th, 2021 | Drain Cleaning

Drains clog, it happens. Your choice of drain cleaner is key; using the right cleaner is important and can make or, well, break your drain.

When you have a clogged drain, your first thought might be to purchase a chemical cleaner from your grocery store. While it might seem like a quick, easy solution, chemical drain cleaners are not the best option.

We get it – it’s easier and cost-effective to use a store-bought drain cleaner. It seems to work, so why stop? Chemical drain cleaners aren’t recommended for a few reasons:

  • They are a temporary solution
  • Present health hazards for you, your family, and pets
  • They can corrode your pipe instead of fixing it
  • They can pollute and damage the environment 

Drain cleaning can be an easy and stress-free process. All you have to do is avoid using chemical drain cleaners and call Tom Moffett Plumbing instead.

Chemical Drain Cleaners Only Offer a Temporary Solution

You get home, pour the cleaner into the clogged drain according to the instructions, and voila, the clog is gone – or is it? Many people find that even after using the drain cleaner, another blockage occurs soon after.

This is because using a store-bought product for drain cleaning is a temporary solution.

Chemical Drain Cleaners Aren’t a Universal Solution 

There’s no way of knowing what caused the blockage without a professional, and if the pipe is broken, chemical drain cleaners aren’t going to solve the issue. Using a drain cleaner isn’t a one size fits all solution, either.

Drains clog for many reasons, and a lot of the time, pouring dangerous chemicals down the drain won’t do anything. A chemical drain cleaner isn’t the right solution for:

  • Broken pipes 
  • Leaking pipes 
  • Frozen pipes
  • Sewer line issues 

Hazardous to You Health 

Drain cleaning is important, but not at the expense of your health. The chemicals found in these cleaners are highly toxic, and as such, are dangerous to human health.

Chemical cleaners utilize strong chemicals, such as lye, sodium hydroxide, or hydrochloric acid, which produce electrons to react with the debris in your pipe. Because the cleaner relies so heavily on these chemicals, the cleaner itself has high concentrations of them.

Everyone knows not to ingest or touch chemicals, but accidents do happen. The chemicals will cause severe burns when they come in contact with skin and have potentially fatal consequences if swallowed by humans and pets alike. 

Hazardous to Your Drain

Not only are these chemicals toxic for your health, but they’re also hazardous for the health of your drain as well.

Chemical drain cleaners aren’t the smartest of drain cleaning products and usually can’t tell the difference between the debris and your pipe. To make up for this, the cleaner will simply eat away at everything – including your pipe.

The damage will be worse if the cleaner doesn’t do its job because the chemicals are left in the drain. Over time, they will continue to eat away at your pipe, leading to corrosion and potential structural damages.

Now imagine what happens when you repeatedly pour these chemicals down your drain every single time there is a clog. Eventually, this will lead to issues with your pipe in the future, and that costs you money, time, and stress. 

Hazardous to the Environment

One thing many people tend to forget about is the damage that toxic chemicals from drain cleaning products can cause to the environment. Everything that goes down the drains in your home will eventually make its way into the environment.

When the chemicals have been run through your home’s plumbing system, they will be flushed out into the sewers. The pipes underneath your home release the water into the sewers after it has been flushed.

The water that you flush – which includes all those chemicals – eventually ends up in the ocean after being cleaned at a wastewater treatment facility.

This is especially dangerous if the sewer water has not been cleaned or properly treated. Even in small amounts, the toxic chemicals from the drain cleaner can still damage the environment.

Additionally, the plastic bottle that houses the dangerous chemicals has to be discarded too, and plastic pollution is one of the biggest issues facing the planet. 

Call Professional Drain Cleaners to Get the Job Done Instead

Instead of trying to guess what could be causing the blockage in your drain, and trying to fix it with a chemical drain cleaner, call a professional instead. Tom Moffett Plumbing offers 24/7 emergency services so that you never have to worry about a blocked drain again.

Moffett Plumbing & Air is a full-service, family owned & operated plumbing & HVAC company based out of Orange, CA. Follow our blog for valuable homeowner tips, and updates from your favorite team of plumbing professionals.