4 Reasons Not to Pour Chemicals Down the Drain

As a homeowner, you’ve likely experienced the inconvenience of a minor or major drain clog. Your plumbing is significantly complex, yet all you need it to do is redirect wastewater away from your home and keep you and your loved ones healthy and safe. Easy, right? So, when your pipes fail to do this, it can lead to drain issues that you can remedy with a call to a South Jersey plumber or by attempting to take care of the problem yourself first. Taking the latter approach using drain cleaner may create bigger challenges for your plumbing than just clogged pipes.

1. Chemical Drain Cleaners Worsen Clogs

When you’re trying to remove a clog, the last thing you want to do is make it worse. However, store-bought chemical pipe cleaners can potentially add to your clog instead of clearing it.

Most DIY drain cleaners fall into three categories:

  • Acidic – You’ll have a higher sulfuric or hydrochloric acid concentration with acidic drain cleaners. These harsh liquids help dissolve or break down solids obstructing your pipes.
  • Caustic/alkaline – Caustic drain cleaners typically come in solid form and contain lye that reacts with water and sodium hydroxide. This reaction creates a gas that causes fizzing to help dislodge drain clogs.
  • Oxidizing – Common household products like bleach or hydrogen peroxide are found in oxidizing drain cleaners. These chemicals mix with water and transfer electrons to the obstructive mass, so it essentially uses its own weight to move through your pipes.

While, in theory, these cleaning agents should work magic on your drains, they can often fail, creating even larger and more costly problems. It’s always best to hire a professional to eliminate clogs to avoid more problems and potential pipe damage.

2. Commercial Cleaners Emit Toxic Fumes

Acid and caustic drain cleaners rely heavily on harsh chemicals to eliminate obstructions, which can create toxic fumes. And mixing drain cleaners with other household cleaning products can result in the production of noxious gases or even combustion. Inhaling these chemical fumes can cause various symptoms, including shortness of breath, nausea, dizziness, and more.

3. Pipe Cleaners Can Hurt the Environment

Once your drain is free and clear of obstruction because of a store-bought chemical pipe cleaner, where do the clog and the cleaner go? They don’t just evaporate into thin air; they have to go somewhere, right? Unfortunately, chemical residue from drain cleaners typically ends up in landfills or nearby water supplies.

4. Drain Cleaners May Cause Pipe Damage

Pouring chemicals down the drain seems like a pretty easy fix for an annoying clog. However, caustic or alkaline drain cleaning chemicals can significantly damage pipes, leading to replacements. Think about it. When you use liquid drain cleaners, they sit in pipes and create heat and chemical reactions that cause corrosion and cracks or exacerbate preexisting issues you aren’t even aware of. And you don’t want to end up with a plumbing repair on your hands.

Need Some Drain Cleaning Chemical Alternatives?

Don’t get us wrong. We’re not against using all store-bought drain cleaners, just the ones that could do major damage to your pipes. There are DIY drain de-cloggers you can mix up at home that won’t harm the environment, create chemical reactions or harmful fumes, and flush obstructions easily.

Instead of commercial drain cleaners, try these alternatives:

  • Pour baking soda and vinegar down the drain – Mixing baking soda and white vinegar acts as a natural alkaline pipe cleaner, bubbling up to work through grease, food, soap scum, hair, and other stubborn clogs. To create this holistic drain cleaner, pour half baking soda and half white vinegar down pipes. Wait 5 to 10 minutes before flushing the mixture using hot water. If your drains are still moving slowly, repeat the process again.
  • Use a drain snake to dislodge clogs – Drain snakes aren’t reserved for professional plumbers. Still, you’ll want to be careful when using one if you’re a novice. This device mechanically removes clogs that plunging or other de-clogging interventions can’t fix.
  • Remove the drain trap to remove clogs – Sometimes, pouring a natural pipe cleaner down the drain yields little success, so removing the drain trap could be your best hope for clean drains. Ensure you have a bucket to place under the pipe, loosen the slip nut, and remove the drain trap. Pour out the trapped water and check for any clogs with your drain snake. Finally, reconnect the trap, tighten the nuts, and see if this eliminates the obstruction.
  • Plunge the drain to flush clogs – You’ll want a smaller cup plunger that can create a better seal over the drain. Remove the drain stopper, cover the overflow outlet with tape or a wet cloth, fill the sink with water, and plunge away! The water should drain quickly once the clog is flushed.

Call Our South Jersey Plumbing Experts for Professional Assistance

We know you don’t take clogs lightly, and neither do we. When you have an obstructed drain, our plumbers do everything to get it clear and cleaned so you don’t have any further plumbing issues. Not only can clogs cause wastewater flooding in your home and pipe corrosion but also health-related issues. Don’t wait around to get even the simplest clog taken care of by a professional plumber today.

Call our South Jersey plumbers or request an estimate for professional drain cleaning services.