Liquid and crystal drain cleaners can be purchased in any local grocery store. You have probably already used them yourself and noticed the hit and miss reliability. But beyond potentially being a waste of money when they don’t work, there are other solid reasons why you should not use drain cleaning chemicals.
Slight Drain Improvement
Sometimes a drain cleaning product will appear to work, and then the drain clogs again in a day or two. The reason is this. If the cleaner can actually sit against the clog, it can eat a small hole through. As soon as it does, all of the water in the sink will rush through that small hole, taking the cleaning product with it! So you are left with a clog that has a small hole through it that will clog again very soon.
No Drain Improvement
Drain Cleaning products often do nothing. The clog could be from a material the cleaner was not able to dissolve. The cleaner may not get enough contact time, as mentioned above. But most commonly, the cleaner can not get back in the pipes far enough to reach the clog.
Most drain cleaners contain either:
- Sodium Hydroxide. Also called Caustic Soda, or Lye.
- Hydrochloric Acid. Also called Muratic Acid.
- Sulfuric Acid. Very nasty stuff if misused.
The Caustic Soda, or Lye, is an alkali base while the other two are acids. All three will cause chemical burns if they come in contact with your skin, vision loss or blindness if splashed in your eyes, lung damage if the fumes are inhaled, and serious internal injury or death if ingested!
The often colorful bottles are attractive to children, so must be stored where little hands can not reach them.
They can also cause expensive damage to the surfaces of your home if spilled.
Possible Plumbing Damage
One of the leading drain cleaner manufactures says that their products are safe and won’t harm your pipes when used as directed. But their website admits that OTHER manufacture’s products could indeed harm your pipes. Funny, they are all made from one of the same three ingredients!
Bad For the Earth
If not recycled, the plastic bottles wind up in a landfill or the ocean. If not washed out well before disposal, the acid or base could leak out and find it’s way into our drinking water. Plus 100% of the product you used will either run into your septic system, or run into the sewer system. These drain cleaners are as bad, if not worse, than any industrial runoff!
In light of the fact that liquid or crystal drain cleaners rarely work, are very hazardous, can damage your plumbing, and are an eco-nightmare, it stands to reason that you are better off not using them at all.
Isn’t This A Sales Pitch
Not really, here’s why. Many times we are called out to unclog a drain only to find two or three empty drain cleaner bottles in the trash. In fact, our technicians are trained to look for them, or ask, so they don’t get surprised when acid water comes out of the pipes. That means the homeowner spent $20 to $30 on drain cleaner and STILL had to pay a plumber to come out and clear the drain. Don’t waste your hard earned money on products that don’t work.
If you have a clogged drain, even if you have already tried a drain cleaner, give us a call. We’ll clear your clog completely and safely, using the proper tools. And as always, we stand ready to serve any and all of your plumbing needs.