What You Need to Know About Chemical Drain Cleaners

Nobody enjoys discovering the drain is clogged in their sink, toilet or shower. While it can be tempting to go for the quick fix by using a chemical drain cleaner to break up the clog, chemical cleaners used as a toilet drain cleaner or sink drain cleaner can actually cause homeowners more problems than they fix in the long run.

While it’s true that chemical drain pipe cleaners can help dissolve clogs and other residue that has built up in your pipes, many are also extremely toxic. The fumes from certain cleaners can be harmful to inhale and may sting your eyes and nose.

Chemical drain cleaners can also be harmful for pipes. The principal chemical agent in many chemical drain pipe cleaners is hydrochloric acid, which can damage pipes as well as the enamel on your kitchen and bathroom fixtures.

The chemical reaction caused by drain cleaners also creates heat while it’s eating away at clogs. This can cause corrosion in older metal pipes and soften PVC pipes, weakening them. Chemical drain cleaners are especially harmful for toilets. Not only are the pipes at risk for damage, but the chemicals may even cause the toilet’s porcelain bowl to crack, requiring you to buy a new toilet.

In some cases, the drain cleaner may not even work if the real culprit isn’t a clog, but rather a broken pipe or issue with the sewer line. In that case, the chemical drain cleaner is even more likely to end up just sitting in the pipe – damaging it. If a frustrated homeowner pours even more chemical drain cleaner down the drain in an attempt to break up the clog, the excess amount of chemicals may cause the pipe to burst. This could even lead to them getting burnt by the chemicals.

If you prefer to use a liquid product to clear out drains, consider using a biological drain cleaner instead. These drain cleaners use enzymes and bacteria instead of chemicals to eat through the waste that is sitting in your sink or shower drain. Biological drain cleaners don’t work as fast as chemical cleaners, but they also don’t cause damage to pipes.

Other good DIY solutions for clearing a clog are plungers and drain snakes. A cup plunger is best for sinks and showers, while a flange or bell plunger is best for clearing clogs in toilets. Drain snakes work well in any type of drain. Drain snakes can be unspooled into the pipe and used to break up clogs at the source.

If you have a stubborn clog that you are unable to remove with an enzyme cleaner, plunger or drain snake, give the professionals at EcoClean a call at 207-245-1984. Our technicians are trained to tackle even the most stubborn clogs.