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Is drain cleaner truly bad for your pipes?

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Dealing with a clogged drain is a pretty frustrating situation to be in. You expect your drains to be clear and free-flowing.

Whether it's your kitchen sink or shower drain, there will come a time that you will experience some form of blockage or clog in your pipes.

Is drain cleaner truly bad for your pipes? Photo

There are times when you wish you could fix your plumbing issues with the flick of a wrist. It would be a lot easier if you could just unclog a drain or fix a leaky tap without much effort.

There are certain items on the market that appeal to 'easy' and 'do it yourself' plumbing issues.

They claim that their products are easy to use and will sometimes be better than hiring a professional tradesman to carry out certain works. And one of these products is drain cleaner.

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Is drain cleaner safe to use?

Chemical pipe cleaners are generally in liquid form and contain Sodium Hydroxide (lye), Potassium hydroxide, bleach and Sodium nitrate. These chemicals work together to cause a reaction when these ingredients mix with minerals and chemicals in the water.

The desired effect is to break down anything that comes into contact with these combined elements. You can find chemical drain cleaner from most home improvement stores and supermarkets.

Things like hair, grease, soap and food can all get lodged in the pipework and chemical drain cleaners work by breaking away and dissolving clogs and other organic obstructions. Some of these drain cleaners are toxic and may harm human skin upon contact.

The chemicals can also damage your eyes if you happen to get some splashed on you.

Liquid drain cleaners have the ability to cause damage to your pipework. You have a risk of corrosion due to the heat and reactions that occur.

If your pipes already have cracks and are beginning to rust, adding more chemicals will eventually break your pipes. Constant use will weaken the water channels in your property.

Combining other cleaning products with liquid drain cleaners can create a reaction. Toxic fumes can seep through the sink if mixed with other cleaning products. This may be really damaging to the health and wellbeing of your household.

All of these factors must be considered before using harsh chemical drain unblocker. There is an alternative if you need to unblock your kitchen or bathroom sink.

What can I use instead of chemical drain cleaner?

There are other methods of clearing a clogged drain. These steps could be better for the environment and for your home.

These are simple to carry out and you can use household items.


Depending on what area you want to be cleared, you can effectively clear and remove a small obstruction with a good plunge.

A flat plunger can work on sinks and bathtub drains while a more tapered one is ideal for toilets. The trick is how much pressure to use and you may need to plunge the drain a few times for it to work successfully.

Environmentally friendly cleaner

Baking soda and vinegar is a great combination to make a home cleaner. All you need is equal parts (1 cup) of baking soda, vinegar and hot water.

Pour these elements down the clogged drain, one by one, and let it sit for a few minutes.

This method works on the same principle of reactively breaking down oils and fats but the soda and vinegar are not harsh on the environment or your pipes.

Professional Plumber

You can call licenced professional plumbing team to sort out your clogged drains. The plumber will have the necessary equipment like a drain auger or plumbers snake. A snake is used down your sink to break up the obstruction sitting in your pipes.

It is motorised and it is best if it is used by someone who has experience in working a plumbing snake.

Ways to prevent a blocked drain

They say that prevention is better than a cure and this is absolutely true when it comes to the plumbing in your home. If follow these helpful tips, you can save yourself from costly repairs.

  • Water is the only liquid that should down your sink. Be mindful of what you put down the sink when washing and cooking.
  • When you are finished with cooking oil, bag t and bin it! Do not pour leftover cooking oil down the pipes.
  • You can purchase and drain guard to catch small objects before they get washed down.
  • Toilet paper, human waste and water are the only things that should go down your toilet.
  • Regular maintenance and cleaning by a licenced plumbing team.

It is easy to prevent a clog from happening and there is no need for chemical drain cleaners that cause more harm and damage.

You can have a well-maintained sink and drainage system. Keep an eye on what goes down your sink and if you do have a blockage, you can try the baking soda and vinegar method and a good plunge.

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