The Harmful Effects of Chemical Drain Cleaners

chemical drain cleaners

If you’re a homeowner, you’ve probably experienced a clogged drain at some point. Whether a bathtub, toilet, bathroom sink or kitchen sink, a clogged drain is an inconvenience that requires a quick fix. Your first reaction is probably reaching for the drain cleaner under the sink or taking a quick trip to the store to purchase some.

But before you do that, consider the following facts about chemical drain cleaners and your pipes. 

How Drain Cleaner Chemicals Work

Chemical drain cleaners come in a variety of formats but all of them work the same way. What exactly happens when you pour them down the drain? In a nutshell, the chemicals interact with your clog, causing a chemical reaction that generates heat and sends your clog into oblivion. That’s a great thing when getting rid of that stubborn clog in your bath sink but it’s not-so-great for a number of other reasons.

How Chemical Drain Cleaners Can Be Dangerous

Corrosion

Chemical drain cleaners are just that – chemicals – and they’re manufactured to be strong enough to cut through any clog. So while eliminating clogs is a good thing, it’s not a good thing for your pipes, especially if they’re made of PVC or older metal. Why? While these caustic chemicals are eliminating your clog, at the same time, they’re also eating through your pipes, causing damage that eventually requires sewer line repair or replacement. 

Health Hazards

Since these types of cleaners consist of chemicals, they often create fumes that can cause breathing problems in humans. Additionally, the chemicals found in these products can cause burns to skin, face and eyes, not only to the consumer but to any technician who may be called to work on the clog.

Effectiveness

Chemical drain cleaners are not always effective in totally clearing clogged pipes. Many times, clogs are found further down the drain so the chemicals may not fully reach and penetrate the clog. And even when they do reach the clog, they generally only clear away the part of the clog found on the bottom of the pipe – the part of the pipe the chemicals actually touch. 

Environmental Impacts

Chemical cleaners usually contain acids like hydrochloric and sulfuric acids, oxidizers like sodium hypochlorite and caustics like lye, caustic soda or sodium hydroxide. When poured down the drain, it’s only a matter of time before these chemicals can end up in groundwater and water supplies.

How to Clean a Clogged Drain Without Chemicals

So what do you do if you’re dealing with a stubborn clog? Before you reach for those chemicals, consider a simple DIY remedy first. A simple mixture of vinegar and baking soda put down your drain and allowed to sit overnight could be enough to eliminate your clog. However, since many clogs are often found further down the line, most times professional help is necessary.  

If you’re experiencing a stubborn clog that will not go away, don’t reach for those chemical. Instead, give the drain cleaning experts at Reid & Pederson a call and our knowledgeable technicians will clear your clog quickly!

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