DIY Drain Cleaning: Are Chemicals Safe?

It’s fair to say that a clogged drain is frustrating. We’ve all been there. You flip the faucet and notice that water immediately starts to accumulate in the sink or tub.

Not wanting to spend time or money on having a professional come out to your home, you reach for the liquid drain cleaner instead. But have you ever stopped to wonder if this drain cleaning method is safe?

Why Liquid Drain Cleaners Are So Appealing

Drain cleaning isn’t something most of us look forward to. Many people would understandably prefer to eliminate whatever is causing a clog without ever having to set eyes or hands on it.

Avoidance of all that is unpleasant is often the motivation behind grabbing the liquid drain cleaner when clogs arise. Liquid drain cleaners seem like quick, simple, and hands-free solutions to getting water flowing once more. Unfortunately, for all of the ease this method of drain cleaning offers up, it can also have some seriously detrimental consequences.

What’s in That Liquid Drain Cleaner Anyway?

Before you unscrew the cap on the liquid drain cleaner and pour a DIY solution down the drain, take a moment to consider the contents. It can be far too easy to overlook harmful ingredients when we want quick solutions to clogs.

DIY drain cleaning with liquid drain cleaner means pouring a combination of highly toxic chemicals directly into sinks and tub drains. The majority of liquid drain cleaners contain chemicals like hydrochloric acid and lye.

This aggressive chemical combination is designed to burn its way through common clog causers like food or hair. Unfortunately, a combination that powerful can also cause some serious damage to the person doing the pouring.

One of the most dangerous aspects of using chemical drain cleaning solutions is the risk of having those chemicals come into contact with your skin. When this happens, there’s a real chance of experiencing chemical burns or rashes.

The dangers associated with chemical fumes are just as real. From irritation to the nose to complications with the throat, these chemicals don’t differentiate between organic matter. The eyes are particularly vulnerable to exposure when using chemicals of this type to clean drains.

What Do Drain Cleaning Chemicals Do to the Pipes?

Understandably, many people would rather remove a clog themselves than google for a “drain cleaning near me” solution that puts the job in the hands of a professional. However, your home’s plumbing involves a system of pipes prone to damage when regularly exposed to hard cleaning chemicals.

Because of this, the choice to use a liquid drain cleaner could actually cost homeowners more in the end. While the upfront price tag is appealing, the hydrochloric acid found in liquid drain cleaner is powerful enough to work its way through plumbing system layers and enamel.

Unfortunately, things only get worse over time. If liquid drain cleaner is used on pipes regularly, the acid may eat its way through piping and create holes and leaks. The result? You’ll be calling a plumber after all.

Does a DIY Approach Work with Liquid Cleaner?

Many of us pour liquid drain cleaner down the pipes with the expectation that it will clear the clogs immediately. Sometimes the approach is successful. However, we want to emphasize the word sometimes.

The lye and hydrochloric acid in liquid drain cleaners are adept at dissolving hair and food particles. That said, not every clog is attributable to these elements.

If the clog is from something besides food and hair, a liquid drain cleaner can be completely ineffective. If broken pipes are causing the clog, the cleaner could make the clog worse by deteriorating the plumbing system further.

Alternative Options on the Market

Many homeowners committed to a DIY approach to drain cleaning turn to organic and non-toxic liquid cleaners instead. This method is decidedly gentler on plumbing. It’s also an option for those who don’t want to risk harsh chemicals seeping out of piping and into natural water systems.

While organic liquid cleaners may work on minor clogs, the only sure way to get drains flowing smoothly once again is to have clogs removed by hand. Professional plumbers can quickly and safely remove clogs using specialized tools that won’t damage pipes along the way. That is also the most effective route for those who want their cleaning practices to be positive for the environment.

Contact Stith Plumbing & HVAC Today

There’s no reason to let a clogged drain get you down when Stith Plumbing & HVAC is only a phone call away. We proudly serve the Springdale, AR, and Johnson, AR, areas and are happy to handle clogs of all types. Contact us today for more information and to schedule your appointment!