Someone putting chemical drain cleaner down a drain with the text "why you should ditch chemical drain cleaners."

Drains are everywhere in your house. When even one of them stops working it can cause you a lot of hassle. While you might think of using a chemical drain cleaner to get it working again, there are a lot of reasons why that is a very bad idea. In this blog post, Bewley Plumbing will cover why chemical drain cleaners are a major risk to your health and the environment, and can potentially damage your plumbing system.

Chemical drain cleaners may be effective at unclogging your drains, but that effectiveness comes with a steep cost. The main ingredients of drain cleaners are sulfuric acid and lye, making them very toxic.

Reasons not to Use Chemical Drain Cleaners

Chemical drain cleaners may be a quick fix to a clogged sink or drain, but they have serious consequences that not only harm your pipes but can harm the people and animals around you. Here are a few things to consider before reaching for the chemical drain cleaner:

Harm to People and Pets

Even when taking precautions, exposure to chemical drain cleaners can severely affect your health. They can be especially dangerous to children and pets. ER trips and calls to poison control can be a result of an accident caused by chemical drain cleaner usage.

Some of the dangers of chemical drain cleaners are discussed below.

  • Swallowing drain cleaners can be lethal.
  • Mixing chemicals can lead to dangerous fume combinations.
  • Vision loss can occur if the cleaners come into contact with the eyes.
  • Exposure to fumes can cause burns to the skin and eyes. In addition, they can even hurt your liver, kidneys, and digestive tract.

Damage to Plumbing

A plumber working on a clogged kitchen sink drain.

If your plumbing system becomes damaged, it can get costly quickly. Not only will you have to deal with the expense of repairing your plumbing, but there’s also a chance water damage could affect other parts of your home or property. For example, when a drain pipe becomes damaged, it can leak, causing significant damage to a building. It can be difficult to determine the location of a leak on a damaged pipe unless you are a professional.

Below are a few ways chemical drain cleaners can affect your plumbing:

  • Damage to Pipes: The corrosive nature of chemical drain cleaners can eat away at the pipes in your building. A leaking plumbing pipe is not something you want to deal with, as it can lead to expensive damage. 
  • Septic Tank Damage: If you have a septic tank, natural bacteria break down waste inside it. However, the bacteria can be killed by chemical drain cleaners. Needless to say, a damaged septic tank is a major problem.

Damage to the Environment

underground image of a pipe

Not only can drain cleaners harm people and animals and damage drain pipes, but they are also detrimental to the environment.

Below are a few ways chemical drain cleaners can affect the environment:

  • Water Supply Contamination – There’s a chance that chemical cleaners can enter the water supply after they are used.
  • Soil Contamination – Aside from groundwater, the soil can be contaminated by drain cleaners as well.
  • Landfill Contamination – Chemical drain cleaner bottles can have leftover residue in them when they are put into a landfill.

Safer Alternatives to Chemical Drain Cleaners

Not using dangerous chemical cleaners doesn’t mean you have to settle for a clogged drain. There are several home remedies that you can use to help unclog your drain. However, it’s important to remember a professional is just a phone call away. If you need help in the North Texas area, we can assist you with your plumbing problems or even provide general maintenance.

Warning: Certain chemicals mixed together can lead to dangerous combinations. If you are unsure about something, please contact a professional. 

Vinegar and Baking Soda

bathroom bathtub faucet

For vinegar and baking soda to work, it needs to be used while it is bubbling. This may not the most effective technique.

  1. First, start by clearing the area around the sink. 
  2. Next, pour ½ a cup of baking soda into the drain. 
  3. Then, pour in ½ cup of vinegar. 
  4. After doing that, plug your drain, and have it sit for one hour. 
  5. When the hour is up, unplug the drain and carefully pour a pot of boiling water into the drain. 
  6. The amount of boiling water you need may vary.

Salt and Baking Soda

  1. Start by mixing ½ a cup of salt and ½ a cup of baking soda. 
  2. Next, pour the mixture into the drain. 
  3. Then, have it sit there for at least half an hour or up to overnight if the clog is more severe. 
  4. Once enough time has passed, carefully pour a pot of hot water into it to clear it out.

Hot Water and Dish Soap

This technique is excellent when dealing with grease clogs.

  1. Start by boiling around 2 liters of water. 
  2. Then, add in just a small number of teaspoons of liquid dish soap. 
  3. Next, carefully pour the mixture slowly into the sink. 

 Please note: Using this method may take several tries.

Borax, Salt, and Vinegar

  1. First, pour ¼ cup of salt into the drain, then pour ¼ cup of borax, and ½ cup of vinegar.
  2. Next, carefully pour a boiling pot of water.
  3. Then, have it sit for at least one hour or until it clears up.
  4. Finally, rinse it using hot water from the tap to drain the ingredients.

Drain and Pipe Cleaning Services

Some clogged drains require a professional touch. If you’re in the North Texas area and have a drain that needs to be cleaned, Bewley Plumbing can help you. When you work with us, you’ll experience fast and reliable service. Our award-winning company is family-owned and operated and ready to help with your commercial or residential plumbing needs. Don’t let a clogged drain prevent you from enjoying your home.

Contact us to request service or get a free estimate.

Read Our Latest Articles: