Do Chemical Drain Cleaners Damage Pipes?

Drain cleaner

Do Chemical Drain Cleaners Damage Pipes?

If you use them as manufacture directed, chemical drain cleaners might help to clear a partially clogged drain.

But because they’re so powerful, we would recommend using them as your last resort.

You should keep in mind that chemical drain cleaners can cause damage to your pipes, especially when:

  • You have older, rusted metal pipes
  • You use them incorrectly with plastic piping
  • You use it on a completely blocked up drain

Because chemical drain cleaners produce heat, they can warp or damage pipes like plastic and older metal piping.

Also, you should avoid using chemical drain cleaners in a completely backed up drain. If the chemicals are unable to clear a clog, they end up sitting in your drain lines, eventually eating through them and causing more damage to your system.

Do you have a drain that needs to be professionally cleared? Just contact us and we’ll send over a reliable plumber.

How do chemical drain cleaners work?

Chemical drain cleaners work by producing heat that may potentially break down clogs in your pipes.

The 3 different types of chemical drain cleaners include:

  1. Caustic (lye and caustic potash drain cleaners)
  2. Oxidizing (bleach, peroxides, nitrate cleaners)
  3. Acid (sulfuric and muriatic acid cleaners)

All the above-mentioned types of chemical drain cleaners are designed to complete an electron-transfer process—meaning the chemicals in the drain cleaner either take away or give electrons to organic substances (aka the food , hair, grease, etc that’s clogging your drain). From this electron transition, heat is produced. That heat then breaks down the clog until it can dissipate.

One important downfall to how chemical drain cleaner works, however, is that when the chemicals breakdown clogs caused by fats, oils or grease the clog material just moves further down the drain. Over time, this creates a build up elsewhere in the drain line that may require professional drain services or costly repairs.

Other ways chemical drain cleaners can cause damage

  1. They can cause harm to you.

Consumer reports labels chemical drain cleaners as “among the most dangerous household products” because they’re so toxic to humans and pets. Just by breathing them in, you could experience stinging and irritated eyes and throat.

But even worse, chemical cleaners can burn through human skin, leaving behind damage such as open sores and rashes.

  1. They’re harmful to the environment.

After you’ve used chemical drain cleaners, they end up in lakes, rivers and landfills and can poison animals and other wildlife.

Use chemical drain cleaners as a last resort—after these alternatives…

Consumer reports suggests using chemicals only as a last resort.

Two safer drain clearing options to try first include:

  1. Mechanical options
  2. Biological options

Mechanical options include using a plunger or augers to clear the clog.

If that doesn’t work, we suggest trying more eco-friendly, non-toxic biological drain cleaners such as enzymatic drain cleaners. These cleaners use live enzymes or bacteria that basically eat the clog. Enzymatic drain cleaners typically take 24 hours to clear a blockage in your drain and are best used for organic clogs made from grease, hair, soap, etc.

Need professional drain clearing? Call a Tucson plumber

If you’ve tried the above mechanic and biological options (and maybe even chemical drain cleaners) but you still have a clogged drain, we can help.

Just contact us and we’ll send over a reliable plumber who can clear your drain fast.