Are Drain Cleaning Chemicals Safe?

If you are looking for a DIY plumbing fix, odds are you have thought of using drain cleaning solutions. These chemical mixtures can eat through tough clogs and remove stubborn grime.

However, many people have reservations about using these harsh chemicals to clean their drains. The professionals at RDH Plumbing, Sewer, & Drain Specialist is here with this quick guide on the safety of using drain cleaning chemicals.

Give us a call today to schedule drain cleaning service in Rockaway, NJ!

What Chemicals Do Drain Cleaners Use?

Most consumer-grade drain cleaners use a caustic active ingredient and an oxidizer. Drain cleaners combine chemicals in an exothermic reaction that produces heat that eats through organic materials like hair, skin, food, and more. Common chemicals in drain cleaners include lye, peroxides, bleaches, and hydroxides.

Experts can further break down drain cleaners into acidic, oxidizing, and caustic cleaners — each with a slightly different chemical composition. Drain cleaners are also heavier than water, so they can sink to the bottom of pipes to get at clogs.

More specifically, the chemicals in drain cleaner remove electrons from the organic clog material, causing it to decompose. Oxidizing the clog matter creates a large amount of heat that further breaks apart the clog. Other caustic chemical cleaners sever molecular bonds to break apart clogs.

Are Drain Cleaner Chemicals Safe to Use?

Unfortunately, it is often a bad idea to use chemical drain cleaners. Not only can the toxic, harmful fumes from drain cleaners cause damage to the skin and eyes, but they can also damage your pipes and plumbing fixtures. A singular use may not be a big deal, but we heavily recommend avoiding chemical drain cleaners.

The caustic chemicals can be incredibly harsh on your plumbing system, especially if it is an older system. Drain cleaning chemicals can eat through materials like cast iron, porcelain, and PVC. The excessive heat from the chemical reaction can also cause plastic and synthetic pipes to warp, crack, and shatter.

Also, caustic cleaners are bad for the environment. After working their way through your drains, they can contaminate nearby water supplies and harm aquatic life. Empty drain cleaner bottles can also contaminate dump sites.

Alternative to Chemical Drain Cleaners

Instead of relying on harsh chemicals, try these other methods to clean your drains and pipes.

Mechanical Clog Removal

The simplest method to remove a drain clog is to use a drain snake and mechanically pull it loose. Drain snakes and augers will allow you to pierce the clog and break it apart before flushing it down the drain or pulling it out. The effectiveness of a drain snake will depend on the type of drain that has the clog.

Baking Soda & Vinegar

A baking soda and vinegar mixture is a classic home remedy to clean drains. First, pour some hot water down the drain to soften the clog. Mix a one-to-one solution of baking soda and vinegar in a cup and pour it down the drain. After waiting about 10 to 20 minutes, pour another pot of hot water down the drain. Repeat this procedure as necessary until your drains are no longer clogged.

Biological Drain Cleaners

Instead of using caustic chemicals, you can instead try “bio” drain cleaners. These types of drain cleaners use environmentally friendly bacteria and microorganisms to remove clogs. The beneficial bacteria in these cleaners are specially designed to eat through organic matter like hair and skin cells.

Bio cleaners don’t create chemical reactions, so they won’t generate the heat and fumes that can harm your plumbing. The main downsides are that bio-friendly drain cleaners are more expensive and less potent than traditional chemical cleaners. However, bio cleaners are also non-toxic to humans.

Calling a Professional

The last option is to call a professional. Some clogs are too deep and established to remove with conventional methods. Professional plumbers have the special equipment to identify and remove clogs fully without using damaging drain cleaning chemicals. If you have a particularly stubborn clog, we highly recommend calling an expert for assistance rather than hacking away at it yourself.

Plumbing, Sewer, and Drain Services

RDH Plumbing, Sewer, & Drain Specialist is your go-to source for plumbing work in Rockaway. We experts use the latest technologies and methods to provide impeccable plumbing service and efficient repairs. Whether you have an emergency or need routine service, we are here to serve.

If you would like to explore plumbing and drain rehabilitation options, send a message today or drop us a line at (908) 774-8751 to schedule an appointment!

Author Bio:
Rob Hernandez

At RDH Plumbing, Sewer, and Drain Specialists, we will take care of all your plumbing needs. We want you to be comfortable in your home. We will take all the stress away. We take great pride in our work and make sure we keep your home clean and that you are well taken care of.

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