Liquid Drain Cleaners: Should You Use Them?
When you get a clogged drain in your house, it can make housework difficult, creating problems for you and your family. A clogged kitchen drain can difficult washing dishes, a clogged shower can make showering difficult or impossible, and a clogged toilet creates all kinds of issues. When you have a clogged drain, the easiest solution might be to reach for a liquid drain cleaner, but these might end up hurting more than helping in the long run.
Liquid drain cleaners can be very harmful to your pipes, as they use highly corrosive and caustic chemicals, which are needed to remove whatever is clogging your pipes. If the clog is small, then these can work great.
However, should the clog is bigger, then the chemicals can remain on top of the clog in contact with your pipes and slowly eat them away. Most likely, you are not aware of the actual size of the clog, meaning that the chemicals will sit on your pipes and corrode them. If your pipes are plastic, then the material could get deformed, and if your pipes are metal, the chemicals, causing them to crack, can weaken them. Also, the active ingredient of hydrochloric acid can also gnaw away at your enamel and other bathroom and kitchen finishes.
Just as the chemicals in your liquid drain cleaner damage your pipes and finishes, they are also harmful to your health as they can be very dangerous with high toxicity levels. The fumes released, which can remain in the air for a while, can be very toxic for your eyes, lungs, throat, and eyes.
Some chemicals might even burn or hurt your skin if it accidentally comes in touch with them. They can also present a threat of poisoning if there are young children in the house, as they might ingest them if not stored safely. Additionally, these chemicals are very damaging to the environment, as their residue can end up in the water, poisoning flora and fauna.
They Might Not Work!
When you have a clogged drain or toilet the best thing to do is contact a plumber, as this will guarantee that the clog gets removed. They will be able to use more advanced tools such as plumbing snakes or cameras to make sure that they are removing all of the clog. Liquid drain cleaners are almost always expensive and not guaranteed to work, which can result in the homeowner feeling as if they’ve thrown money away.
Liquid drain cleaners will only work if the clog is caused by a hairball, toilet paper or grease buildup, which is not always the case for why your drains are clogged. Sometimes this is due by an issue in the sewer line or damaged pipes that can only be fixed by a plumber.
The next time your sink or toilet gets clogged, you can use a plunger to remove the clog. When choosing the plunger, make sure to consider the size, as the cup diameter needs to be slightly bigger than the drain. The water level should be deep enough to cover the plunger cup, but avoid having too much standing water, as this can create a mess. The following is one of our favorite tricks while using the plunger: cover the rim with a little petroleum jelly, and make sure that it is covering all around the drain, with the plunger handle pointing up.
Another alternative is to use a biological drain cleaner, as these use enzymes and bacteria instead of harmful chemicals.