Drain Cleaning Solutions: How Effective Are They?

Drain Cleaning Solutions: How Effective Are They?

January 31, 2020

Drain cleaning solutions are inexpensive and easy to find, which makes them a convenient fix for clogged pipes. However, these chemical drain cleaners (which you’ll find at just about any hardware or home improvement store) should probably not be the first method you attempt when you need to remove a clog from your drains. Despite drain cleaning solutions’ effectiveness, there are some long-term risks associated with repeated use of chemical drain cleaners in your Bay City, MI home that you should be aware of.

Drain cleaners use a highly caustic chemical solution to dissolve the materials that have built up in your pipes. It’s quite easy to just pour some of the solution down the drain and wait for it to do its thing, but you should know that there are some negative side effects associated with this, including:

  • Damage to piping: The chemical reaction that occurs while the chemicals eat through the clogged mass of debris will create heat and gas, which can soften pipes made out of PVC plastic and potentially corrode metal pipes, fittings, caulking and seals.
  • Environmental impact: Chemical drain cleaners have been proven in numerous studies to be harmful to the environment. Residue left behind in containers can leach into groundwater and soil, and the chemicals themselves that get poured down the drain can get into the water supply.
  • Cost: If you rely solely on chemical drain cleaners, you’ll find yourself repeatedly having to purchase new bottles rather than opting for cheaper natural alternatives or preventative measures. Plus, if the chemicals do end up damaging your pipes, you’ll need to make some potentially expensive repairs.
  • Dangerous to humans: Inhaling the fumes can be harmful to the human body, and contact with the solution can result in severe burning to the skin, eyes or mucous lining. Even if you’re careful when using the chemical cleaner, there’s always a chance the chemicals could splash back up during plunging.

Alternative solutions

With all of this in mind, what are some other methods you can attempt when in need of a drain cleaning solution that is not chemical based?

One of your first steps should be to try plunging the drain. Remove the drain stopper, and cover up any holes such as an adjoining sink drain or an overflow drain with a wet cloth. Use a sink plunger rather than a toilet plunger. Put the cup of the plunger over the drain, and run water to cover the rubber surface, then plunge for about 20 seconds before pulling the plunger away and seeing if the water drains.

You can also create your own non-corrosive mixture using vinegar and baking soda. Sprinkle a half cup of baking soda down the clogged drain and add some vinegar, then add some boiling or hot water (carefully, so it doesn’t splash back at you). Let the solution sit for a while, then test the drain to see if you successfully removed the clog with your mixture.

For more information about drain cleaning solution effectiveness and alternative ideas in Bay City, MI, contact Thornton Brothers Sewer Service today.

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