6 Reasons to Ditch Harsh Chemical Drain Cleaners

man pouring liquid drain cleaner down bathroom sink

A clogged drain is among the most common plumbing problems. Instead of calling a professional to clear the blockage, many homeowners opt to buy liquid drain cleaners. While these products are readily available at your local hardware store, the best approach is to leave them on the shelf. While liquid drain cleaners seem like an easy solution to plumbing clogs, they can be hazardous and are generally ineffective in the long run.

Let’s take a closer look at why you should leave harsh chemical drain cleaners out of your home’s cleaning supplies.


They Emit Unhealthy Fumes

Before you decide to grab a bottle of drain cleaner, first consider the ill effects it can have on your health. As soon as you remove the cap, the product will release toxic fumes. This is why these cleaners (and many other household cleaning products) should only be used in well-ventilated areas. Failing to at least crack open a window puts your health at risk.

After inhaling drain cleaner, some symptoms can happen almost immediately. The potent fumes can burn your mucous membranes and irritate your eyes. People who have an underlying respiratory condition are even more prone to experiencing breathing problems.

They Can Cause Serious Burns

Be extremely careful when using store-bought drain cleaners. Many are formulated with highly concentrated sulfuric acid, which can burn your skin, irritate your mucous membranes, and can even cause blindness. Research shows that roughly 3,000 people a year suffer injuries related to the use of drain cleaners. There are many cases in which the person required hospital care. You can read more about the effects of sulfuric acid in this public health statement published by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, a federal public health agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Even if you’re extremely careful when pouring the product down your drain, trouble can still arise. As the acid hits the water, it may cause a chemical reaction sooner than you might expect. The acid could then splash onto your skin. Keep in mind that drain cleaners are strong enough to eat through clothing.

Drain Cleaners Are Often Ineffective

Although some drain cleaners are promoted as being effective, the overwhelming majority of these products don’t work well in the real world. They have a difficult time removing blockages deep inside your drain-waste system. When drain cleaners do appear to work, the results typically are only temporary. After a few weeks, another clog tends to emerge. An experienced plumber can actually fix the problem as opposed to just masking it.

There are certain things that a corrosive chemical drain cleaner simply can’t do. For example, hair blocking a pipe must be manually removed. You will literally be pouring money down the drain.

They Can Weaken Your Pipes

You can extend the life of your plumbing system by avoiding the use of chemical drain cleaners. Over time, the abrasive ingredients gradually start to corrode the pipes, especially if the cleaner is unsuccessful in removing a clog and only sits on top of it instead. Leaking can become a real concern.

To prevent unnecessary damage to the pipes, opt to hire a professional plumbing company to clear your drain. The technicians have several specialized, chemical-free tools on hand. A plumber can eliminate most clogs using a technique called snaking. Hydro-jetting can prove to be an even better long-term solution for pipes with multiple obstructions and a lot of grime coating their walls. This process involves using powerful streams of water to blast away clogs, grease, sediment, and anything else that might be obstructing your drains or sewer line.

They Can Damage Your Septic Tank

Your home’s septic tank is responsible for collecting waste. While a well-maintained septic tank can easily last up to 40 years, frequent use of chemical drain cleaners will shorten its life. Allowing a plumber to clear your drain can save you a lot of stress and money.

A septic tank uses bacteria to break down and consume waste. Unfortunately, the toxins in chemical drain cleaners can kill the bacteria. What’s more, the chemicals could leak into the ground and contaminate the surrounding environment.

A Danger to Children and Pets

If you have children at home, never make the mistake of failing to store a chemical drain cleaner properly. The natural curiosity of a toddler may cause them to investigate the colorful bottle. No parent wants to jeopardize the safety of their child. Curious pets are also at risk of being poisoned if they chew through the plastic container.

Eco-Friendly Drain Clearing

At Green Planet Plumbing & Sewer, LLC, we are committed to delivering eco-friendly plumbing solutions and providing our customers with high-quality services. If you’re experiencing trouble with a drain or sewer line in your Seattle home, give us a call today: (206) 207-7625.

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