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Modern Plumbing Industries, Inc. Blog

No, Chemicals Are Not a Substitute for Proper Drain Cleaning


You’ve seen them on your hardware store shelves: plastic bottles labeled liquid drain cleaner. And if you have slow or clogged drains at home, it’s understandable that you’d be tempted to buy some and pour it down your sink. But should you do it? Definitely not!

There are a variety of reasons why liquid drain cleaner is a bad plan, and they fit into three main categories: your health, your plumbing, and your clog. We’ll give you some information about all three, to help you understand why we feel so strongly about it. Then, we’ll offer some alternatives.

Liquid Drain Cleaner and Your Health

The pH scale ranges from being acidic at the lowest numbers (with battery acid at zero) to extremely alkaline at the highest numbers. At the highest end, substances are so alkaline that they are referred to as caustic.

Merriam-Webster defines this as “a substance that burns or destroys organic tissue by chemical action,” and according to the EPA, the pH of drain cleaner is 14, at the highest end of the scale. This makes it more caustic than bleach or oven cleaner. If you get drain cleaner on your skin, even a tiny amount can cause painful burns. And it’s not just the liquid that’s hazardous. The fumes coming from the liquid can cause major irritation to your eyes, nose, and respiratory system. 

Liquid Drain Cleaner and Your Plumbing

The material your pipes are made of can depend on the age of your home (or when your piping was most recently redone). Many homes still have plumbing made of galvanized iron or steel, which is vulnerable to corrosion.

Modern plumbing is mostly copper, which holds up better over time. Due to the extremely caustic nature of drain cleaner, it can even cause corrosion in your copper pipes, degrading them and leading to bigger problems. Having your drains professionally cleaned might seem like a bit of a bother, but it’s a walk in the park compared to having your home repiped.

Liquid Drain Cleaner and Your Clog

This clog is driving you bonkers! Might it be worth the risk just to get rid of it right now? No, and here’s why. That corrosion it can cause in your pipes leaves a roughened surface, which makes it even easier for obstructions to develop. At best, liquid drain cleaner is a very short-term solution. What’s more, it’s not great at dissolving all types of clogs. For example, you see that the bottle it comes in is plastic, and it hasn’t dissolved that. If there are any inorganic materials in your obstruction (and you might have no idea that there’s a plastic picnic knife or a child’s toy lodged in your drain) they’ll be unaffected by the drain cleaner. 

Safe Drain Cleaning Options

A plunger, disposable plastic drain snake, or hand-cranked auger might help you to dislodge your own clog. But if you need professional drain cleaning in Orlando, our team has access to the most effective modern methods. Video pipe inspection will allow us to find that picnic knife, a motorized auger accomplishes much more than the hand-cranked models, and hydro jetting can clear your whole plumbing system of all accumulations with just the power of water. 

Contact Modern Plumbing Industries, Inc. today and reach professional plumbers with the training and experience your home deserves.

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