​​Are Drain Cleaners Safe For Plumbing?

If you have a clogged drain in Springdale, AR, you might already have a plan of action in mind. All you need to do is grab that trusty bottle of chemical drain cleaner that you’ve kept under the sink for this very situation, right? You pour that sour-smelling goop down the drain, and you’re sure to get things back and running again… right? 

Believe it or not, those chemicals aren’t as great at drain cleaning as they make themselves out to be. You may find that they cause damage — and to more than just your plumbing.

Types of Drain Cleaners

There’s not just one form of chemical drain cleaning, and what they tell you to use depends on the size and quality of your clog. The main chemicals used are caustic, oxidizing, and occasionally acidic for large enough clogs. 

Caustic Drain Cleaning Solutions 

These products use ingredients that can create a chemical reaction with the clog. They’re made mainly for grease, as they can produce heat and make the substance thinner and easier to wash out. 

Oxidizing Drain Cleaning Solutions 

These products are similar to their caustic equivalent, but they combine ingredients like bleach and certain nitrates in a way that can dissolve organic matter. 

Acidic Drain Cleaning Solutions

These products are made from the harshest chemicals on the market, such as sulphuric or hydrochloric acids. They may be able to work through a clog, but they come with various health and property issues.

The Drain Cleaner Problem 

Ask any plumber, and they’ll tell you those drain cleaners aren’t worth relying on. They’re designed to make you think that they’re the best route to clear a clog without the aid of a plumber, but their actual effectiveness is questionable at the very best. Even if they manage to clear your clog, it’s still not worth all of the drawbacks.

Physical Impact

Does chemical drain cleaning work? The answer is “sometimes, but sometimes not.” They aren’t the catch-all they claim to be. If your blockage is caused by a broken pipe or something formed by matter other than food or hair, drain cleaners won’t help much. 

Even if they do eat away at the clog in question, those same aggressive chemicals will also eat at the inner surfaces of your pipes. This corrosion can create leaks or even result in a rupture in the future.

Environmental Impact

No matter what kind of drain cleaning chemical you choose, you’re still working with an incredibly toxic chemical. If it’s strong enough to melt grease and eat through hair, it’s strong enough to irritate your eyes and nose or even cause a chemical burn if put in contact with skin. 

It’s no better for the state of the environment. The cleaner can potentially eat through your pipes, and if it hurts you, there’s no question that it’ll hurt the plant and animal life around your home. If you recycle the bottles without washing them out thoroughly, the smallest amount of residue can taint the ecosystem on a massive scale.

So chemicals aren’t the best way to go when it comes to drain cleaning. What else is there that you can do?

Safer Alternatives

There are many alternatives to drain cleaning that don’t involve hazardous and overpriced chemicals. Some options are so simple you’ll be surprised how well they can work in certain cases. 

You can try pouring near-boiling hot water down the drain, which could loosen the clog. Once you do that, you can follow with cold water and see if that flushes it through. 

Baking soda and vinegar are two other very useful tools when it comes to drain cleaning. If you let the combination sit overnight, it creates a non-harmful chemical reaction that could dissolve the blockage and allow it to be cleared with water. 

If none of this works, then it’s time to call a professional.

Finding the Right “Plumbers Near Me”

Stith Plumbing & HVAC has been serving homes in and around Springdale, AR, for almost a century. When you have a clogged drain, you can rely on our team to clear the blockage without sacrificing the health of your household or its plumbing. 

We value our customers and do whatever we can to ensure you’re given the treatment that will keep your home thriving. So if things are a little backed up in Springdale, AR, or nearby in Lowell or Tontitown, you can trust Stith Plumbing & HVAC for a drain cleaning you can count on.