Mon to Fri:

7:00AM to 5:00PM

Customer Reviews Graphic

Risks Of Chemical Drain Cleaners & Alternatives

5 April

Nothing is as inconvenient as a clogged drain at home. It’s perhaps the last thing we’d want to wake up to!

However, poor drainage is a common issue in Australian households, leading to water backup and flooding, build-up of mould and mildew, pipe damage, and more. And while chemical drain cleaners may seem like a quick and easy fix to a blocked drain, they come with potential risks you must be aware of.

Hence, we have listed everything you need to know about chemical drain cleaners before using them in your plumbing system. Accordingly, you can decide on the best approach to unclogging your pipes.

5 Reasons You Should Not Use Chemical Drain Cleaners

1. Pipe Damage

Okay, so let’s assume that a chemical drain cleaner worked and helped you unclog a blocked drain within minutes. But most homeowners don’t realise that the same drain-cleaning products can eat away the plastic in PVC pipes. Older metal pipes can slowly deteriorate if you continue using acid drain cleaners.

This is because your chemical cleaners are caustic in nature. The chemicals used in the mixture react with the materials causing the blockage and producing heat to burn them down. As such, they are powerful enough to burn down your pipes or make them too soft, eventually causing more leaks, blockages, etc.

2. Safety Concerns

Caustic drain cleaners are not only inefficient in solving the problem of clogs, but they also pose several dangers and hazards. Some of the risks associated with such drain cleaning products include:

A. Improper Use

Improper acidic cleaners can lead to safety issues, particularly when used in poorly-ventilated areas or combined with a plunger. These risks are not limited to children but also apply to adults.

Just think about it – if a chemical cleaner can easily “eat through” or “melt” clogs, it can most definitely cause severe burns among users.

Itchy Skin From Chemical Drain Cleaner

B. Fumes

Using different types of liquid drain cleaners in the same blocked drain over time can trigger a chemical reaction within your plumbing system. For instance, most chemical drain cleaners contain ammonium, while others contain bleach. When used together, these substances can release a noxious gas that spreads throughout your home, and you may not even realise it.

Similarly, bleach and sodium hydroxide should not be used together if you don’t want your home’s plumbing system to give up on you.

C. Dangerous To Children Or Pets

Storing chemical drain cleaners can be risky if you have kids and pets at home, as they may be exposed to toxic chemicals. So, it is important to store acidic drain cleaners in a place where your little ones cannot reach or avoid using them altogether.

3. Environmental Impact

Chemical drain cleaners can significantly harm the environment as they contain harsh chemicals that emit toxic gases. These dangerous chemicals harm the people in the household and contaminate the water supply and surrounding areas.

Consequently, when chemical drain cleaners are poured down a blocked drain, they move into the septic tank and pollute the groundwater when released. This environmental harm can be avoided by using alternative methods for drain cleaning.

Pouring Drain Cleaner Down Pipes

4. Lack Of Effectiveness

Despite their claims on labels and commercials, chemical drain cleaners are not effective in drain cleaning solutions. Although they can help with minor clogs, they are usually ineffective when it comes to significant blockages and may even worsen pipe damage.

Pipes Coming From Stormwater

5. Drain Protection And Cleanouts

The strongest argument against using chemical drain cleaners is the availability of other superior alternatives. Firstly, you can adopt responsible daily drain usage and care, including not disposing of materials that might obstruct the drain and opting for regular cleaning and inspection. Doing so will help avoid buildups over time, and as such, you will be saving a lot on expensive repairs.

Secondly, employing skilled drain care professionals is imperative, as they can help limit unnecessary drain cleaning expenses and provide general guidance on maintenance.

Chemical Drain Cleaner Alternatives

By now, you already know that chemical drain cleaners do more harm than good to your plumbing lines. So, what else can you use? Fret not because there are many other non-toxic and effective ways to clean clogged drains and prevent potential clogs. Check them out:

1. Boiling Water

The simplest and the most effective way to treat clogged drains is by pouring boiling water down them. This method is particularly effective for grease and fat blockages, usually seen in the kitchen drain.

Boiling water can break down and dissolve the blockage, allowing it to flow down the drain. However, you should avoid using this method for PVC pipes, as boiling water can cause unseen damage.

2. Baking Soda And Vinegar

A vinegar and baking soda solution is another natural alternative to your chemical cleaner. Start by pouring half a cup of baking soda down the drain. Follow it up with half a cup of vinegar. When you hear a fizzing sound, cover the drain with a plug and wait for 30 minutes. Now pour in some boiling water to flush away the blockage.

Baking Soda For Alternative Drain Cleaner

Baking Soda For Alternative Drain Cleaner

3. Salt And Baking Soda

Mix half a cup of salt with the same amount of baking soda to make this easy drain cleaner. Pour the mixture down the blocked drain and wait for several hours or overnight. Lastly, pour boiling water down the drain to remove the blockage.

4. Plunger

A plunger is a simple tool used to fix blocked drains. Place it over the drain and push it down several times to create suction. Then pull up sharply to create a vacuum. Repeat this process until the blocked drain is cleared.

5. Drain Snake

As the name suggests, a drain snake is a long flexible tool that effectively cleans drains. Start by inserting it into the drain and turn it clockwise until it reaches the clog. Then pull the snake out of the drain while turning it counterclockwise to break up the blockage.

Keep Yourself Safe!

Sometimes a clogged drain can be too difficult to handle yourself, and that’s when you can turn to Gold Coast Plumbing Company. And because drains constitute a major part of your home’s plumbing system, it is essential to get them inspected and repaired by a professional drain cleaning team, such as ours.

We offer emergency plumbing service with a lifetime workmanship warranty and fixed pricing, so you can rest assured that you’re getting the most reliable and affordable solutions. We use water jetters and other latest equipment to remove larger blockages, along with our good old plungers and drain snake cleaners.

So, the next time you hear strange noises from the drain or notice slow drainage in the toilet, call us immediately!