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Can You Safely Use Drain Cleaners in Your Home Plumbing System?

Let’s face it, every home has a clogged drain to fix at some time, and in many cases, the obstruction can be removed at the surface. At other times, you can use a cup plunger to move the clog, and it can be flushed away into the drain. But, if you have a deeper clog that’s harder to reach, it can be tempting to use a store bought drain cleaning product. In this article, we will take a closer look at drain cleaners and explore some alternative methods.

Chemical Drain Cleaners

When you look at the labeling on a chemical drain cleaning product, you will quickly notice that there are a lot of warnings. These cleaners contain caustic chemicals that can harm you if they come into contact with your skin or if they are inhaled. What many people don’t understand is that their plumbing pipes and fixtures are also vulnerable to damage. We tend to forget about our plumbing systems until something goes wrong, and the damage can remain hidden for quite some time. Eventually, pinhole leaks will occur, leading to wider cracks and breaks. The other annoying aspect of chemical drain cleaners is that the clogs they “remove” tend to return frequently due to underlying issues. Most people simply continue to use a chemical drain cleaner to deal with the clogs as they return, and this just caused more damage to the pipes.

Unclogging Drains Without Caustic Chemicals

Hopefully, we’ve made a good case against using store bought chemical drain cleaning products in your home. But, if you have a clog, how can you remove it safely without using harsh chemicals? When you call a local certified plumber to remove a clog, they will always prefer a manual removal. This can involve using a plumbing augur (snake) to break the clog apart or a hydro jetting system to force out deeper clogs with pressurized water. You can attempt to clear a clog manually yourself with a simple cup plunger or a plumbing augur.

A Homemade Chemical Drain Cleaner

If you want to attempt a chemical drain clean, but you don’t want to use harsh store bought products, you can make your own cleaner with store cupboard ingredients. Start by pouring some very hot (not boiling) water into the drain, and in many cases, this may melt the clog immediately. If you want to continue, add a cup of baking soda to the drain and follow with a cup of white vinegar. Cover the drain opening and leave this mixture for around 5-10 minutes. A chemical reaction will occur; you may see foaming around the drain opening, but this is not caustic, and it won’t harm your pipes. Finish with another jug of hot water, and if this method has not worked, you can repeat the process.

If you have a persistent clog that’s tough to remove, it may have an underlying cause that needs to be checked by your local certified plumber.