Are Drain Cleaners Safe to Use on Plumbing?

If you’re a homeowner or anyone with experience in DIY fixes for plumbing systems, you’ve likely heard mixed opinions on whether or not drain cleaners are safe to use on clogs. Some say chemical cleaners, when used in moderation, are fine to use – while others advise you to avoid them at all costs. So what do you do when you have a pesky clog in your plumbing system

Are Drain Cleaners Safe to Use on Plumbing

Non-chemical methods for unclogging a drain

Before you turn to drain cleaners of any kind, there are a few other approaches you can attempt. 

  • Use a baking soda and vinegar mixture. Pour a pot of hot (not quite boiling) water down the drain. Then, mix equal parts vinegar and baking soda (about a cup of each) and pour this mixture down the drain. Cover the drain opening for five to 10 minutes, and follow up with another pot of hot water. 
  • Try a traditional plunger. Plungers are useful for more than just toilet clogs. Use a standard plunger to attempt to dislodge the clog from your drain. If you’re plunging a sink, we recommend using a clean, new plunger for the job to avoid any cross-contamination. 
  • Use a drain snake. Drain snakes can be purchased from home improvement stores and are a cost-effective way to remove minor clogs. Follow the instructions that come with the device to get your plumbing flowing freely. 

If none of these methods work, you have a couple options: call in a local reputable plumber, or turn to drain cleaners. But we have a few warnings about going with the chemical option. 

Risks of drain cleaners

Chemical cleaners can wreak havoc on your plumbing system that will end up costing you way more than the fee for a professional drain cleaning service. Chemical cleaners can cause toilet bowls to deteriorate, metal pipes to dissolve, and plastic pipes to heat and warp. While a one-time use is unlikely to cause major damage, it’s still a risk you should avoid at all costs. 

A safer option: bio drain cleaners

Instead of taking your chances with chemical cleaners, we recommend using bio drain cleaners when attempting to remove clogs and/or maintain your drains. Bio drain cleaners are harmless to humans, pets, and your pipes, and can be found at most home improvement and hardware stores for reasonable prices. Just be aware that most bio cleaners available in stores are not quite as potent as cleaners available through a licensed professional plumber.

How bio drain cleaners work

Bio drain cleaners work by introducing engineered bacteria into your drains and pipes. This bacteria is designed to dissolve organic material such as hair, food residue, and soap scum. Since drains and pipes in plumbing systems are not made of organic material, the bio cleaner avoids these surfaces, unlike chemical cleaners. Once the bio drain cleaner tackles the clog in question, it works through the rest of the plumbing system, effectively eliminating any potential problems before they arise. 

To use a bio drain cleaner, start with a dry drain. Pour the recommended amount of the bio cleaner directly down the drain and let it work for several hours. (Most prefer to use the solution overnight.) Repeat the process as often as necessary to completely remove the clog. 

Bio drain cleaners are also helpful to maintain your plumbing. Simply pour ½ of a capful of bio cleaner into your drains once per month to keep things clean and flowing freely! 

Schedule professional drain clearing in New Haven or Fairfield County, CT

As mentioned earlier, the best way to unclog a drain is with non-chemical options. To make sure your stubborn drain is fixed correctly and safely, bring in the experts at Rick’s Plumbing. To schedule professional drain clearing service, call us today at (203) 874-6629.