Chemical, commercial drain products: good or bad? Products such as these have become essential sink, toilet and shower cleaning tools in homes around the country… but just how safe are they for regular use?
What you don’t know about chemical drain cleaners, their ingredients and the way they work may surprise you. These products, when used in excess or for regular drain cleaning, can actually make moderate drain issues worse. For products so effective at removing clogs and residue, how is this possible?
In this article, we weigh the pros and cons of using commercial drain cleaners, and give our final verdict on whether you should use these products or try safer alternatives.
Commercial Products DO Clean Drain Clogs
We would be lying if we told you that commercial drain cleaning products aren’t good at what they advertise; these products can effectively clear a drain pipe of stubborn clogged debris, and remove gunk and residual buildup better that water pressure alone. This includes everyday clogs cause by:
- Cooking oils or animal fat
- Animal bones or fragments run through drain disposal units
- Starchy or overly-fibrous food products
- Hair or nail clippings
- Plastic or paper products
The powerful chemical reactions caused by the ingredients in commercial cleaners can effectively remove most drain clogs and buildup with ease. As the acidic chemicals in these products, their fumes and exposure to them can be dangerous, it’s important to exercise extreme caution when in use.
From this point, it seems as though the benefits of commercial drain cleaners certainly outweigh the cons. Before we make a final verdict on drain cleaning solutions such as these, we have to consider the possible side effects of chemical products, and what alternatives may provide similar results without hazards.
The Problem Lies in Side Effects and Chemical Hazard
Commercial drain cleaning products work due to the chemical reactions of their ingredients; the foaming, volatile interactions that occur within clogged or dirty pipes when these products are used. It’s these reactions that can actually make plumbing matters worse, and turn an everyday drain issue into a full-blown plumbing disaster.
When used extensively or on a routine basis, chemical drain cleaning products can corrode within pipes and damage inner pipe walls to such extent that DIY fixes become impossible. Through heavy use of commercial cleaners, you could potentially turn a minor sink clog into a full pipe collapse. Your quick and simple fix would then require hundreds of dollars in repair and renovation costs, if not more!
Even worse than pipe corrosion and additional renovations, however, would be prolonged exposure to commercial drain cleaners. The fumes in many of these products are toxic, and direct contact can almost assure a trip to the hospital, if not worse. This is because the chemical ingredients in liquid drain cleaners are intended to break down organic material (such as sink debris and food products often resulting in clogs), and clear drain passageways of all residual matter. One can only imagine what this would mean for eyes or skin upon contact.
It’s for these reasons that the final verdict on chemical drain cleaners becomes a bit murkier. While they are good at what they are intended to do, the side effects of routine use can be catastrophic, both to your pipes and your health. If commercial drain cleaners aren’t the best drain cleaning tools for clog removal, then what are?
Safer, Non-Corrosive Cleaning Alternatives
Dealing with stubborn clogs and backup hassles doesn’t have to be as difficult as you might think. In fact, you may be able to entirely remove debris in your drains using products and non-toxic chemicals already in your home. For combating everyday drain clogs, homeowners can try two effective DIY cleaning solutions, which are:
- Application of acidic soda products
- Non-commercial baking soda and vinegar mixtures
The high carbonation and natural acids in soda products act much like chemical cleaning products to break down clogged debris, and can remove residue with zero of the risks associated with commercial products. Likewise, non-toxic DIY mixtures of vinegar and baking soda react within drain pipes to remove frustrating clogs without putting the condition of your pipes in jeopardy.
So what’s the final verdict on commercial drain cleaners? While effective at removing clogs and debris, products like these bring other risks, which can put your pipes and personal health at risk. Although handy in a pinch, you should never use commercial products regularly to maintain your pipes.
If possible, try safer alternatives, such as non-toxic mixtures and acidic sodas, or contact a drain cleaning pro in your area first. While clogs themselves can be a hassle, you don’t want to make matters worse by severely damaging your pipes with chemical products.