Six reasons to never use store-bought liquid drain cleaners

We all understand the inconvenience, mess and frustration that accompanies a blocked drain in your Sydney home or business. When faced with this issue, many people seek out a quick and affordable fix. However, over the counter drain cleaning liquids can often cause your plumbing system more harm than good. Before making the decision to pour drain cleaning chemicals down your pipes, it’s important to keep the following six things in mind.

1. Liquid drain cleaners are dangerous to children

Regardless how careful you are as a parent, using and keeping chemical drain cleaners in your home means the danger of exposing your children to toxic materials is always a possibility. A recent article in the Sydney Morning Herald revealed that an 11-month-old boy had to undergo skin graft surgery on his legs after coming into contact with drain chemicals. The child suffered serious burns after he managed to unscrew a child-resistant cap, splashing the solution over himself. The only sure way to keep your children and pets safe is to keep the chemical-based drain cleaners out of your home.

2. Liquid drain cleaners pose a health risk to adults

It’s not just children who are exposed to the risks of liquid drain cleaners. Many homeowners don’t read the directions and precautions on the label of these products before using them. Drain chemicals must be used in a well-ventilated area and require protective clothing and rubber gloves to be worn. If used incorrectly, liquid drain cleaners can burn skin, eyes and even eat through clothing. Drain cleaning chemicals are extremely toxic if swallowed, which is why you should never use a plunger in conjunction with chemicals as plunging can lead to back-splash. The fumes are also dangerous to inhale, and they tend to hang around long after it goes down the drain.

It’s crucial not to mix different drain cleaners. If one doesn’t work, never pour a different one down there to see if it’s more effective. Combining several chemical solutions can cause noxious fumes or even lead to an explosion.

3. Drain cleaning chemicals can damage your plumbing pipes

Drain cleaning chemicals are made from harsh ingredients such as caustic potassium, bleach, sulphuric acid and hydrochloric acid. They work by creating a chemical reaction in the pipes to dislodge the clogged drain. However, if the chemicals can’t get past the blockage, it can end up sitting in the pipe for an extended period of time causing more harm that good. Chemical drain cleaners can soften PVC pipes and can cause additional damage to old metal pipes that are already partially corroded.

You’re better off skipping the drain cleaners, and using a plunger to clear a clogged drain. If that doesn’t work, summon your local drain cleaning professionals.

4. Liquid drain cleaners are only effective on minor blocked drains

There are many possible causes of Sydney blocked drains including tree root infiltration and damaged pipes. Liquid drain cleaners may dissolve minor blockages caused by organic matter such as hair, food scraps and grease, but they won’t fix major problems. If your clogged drain is caused by a broken pipe or sewer backup, you need to call a licensed plumber to repair the issue.

5. They take a long time to work

If you live in a single bathroom home with a large family, time is of the essence when it comes to repairing a blocked toilet, shower, sink or other blocked drain. As mentioned above, drain cleaning chemicals are only effective on certain types of blockages and they can also take a long time to work. If you want a blocked drain solution that is quick and guarantees the blockage is gone for good, it’s best to get in touch with a licensed Sydney plumber. They can inspect the inside of pipes using a drain camera and recommend a solution that addresses the issue at a foundational level.

6. Drain cleaning chemicals are detrimental to the environment

Drain cleaning chemicals are bad for our waterways and the environment. When we attempt to unclog drains with these chemicals, we are essentially pouring caustic soda (sodium hydroxide) or sulphuric acid into our waterways, both of which are highly corrosive chemicals.

According to an article in The Guardian, some environmental agencies around the world do not classify sodium hydroxide as a cause of water pollution as it breaks down once in contact with water and greasy fats. However, the EU's European Chemicals Bureau describes its eco-toxicity rating for aquatic organisms as being of "chronic toxicity". This is what it says its effects are on common freshwater fish, such as brown trout: "Burns on external skin of gills and abundant formation of mucus. Fishes die by suffocation because of the slow destruction of the respiratory organs."

Call Sydney’s blocked drain experts today

JAB Plumbing Solutions are expert drain cleaners and we carry the latest equipment to ensure a safe and environmentally friendly solution to your blocked drain. We use CCTV drain inspection cameras to uncover the cause of the clog and the majority of blockages can be cleared quickly using hydro jetters. For severely damaged pipes, out team can carefully excavate and replace part or all of your system. Call us for a free quote on 1800 225 552.