This is a question we get all. The. Time.
Someone is in a hurry, their shower drain keeps clogging, and they keep pouring liquid drain leaner down for a quick fix. Maybe the bathroom sink keeps getting clogged with soap scum and hair, and the story sounds just the same – pour down the drain cleaner and watch the clog disappear.
So do liquid drain cleaners really work? They must, since the clog seems to be disappearing, right? We have to just cut to the chase with this one. Do liquid drain cleaners work? Sort of. Should you use liquid drain cleaners? Absolutely not. Here’s why:
They wreak havoc on your pipes.
The harsh chemicals in liquid drain cleaners were made to break up hair and other obnoxious substances. With a chemical that strong, you can only imagine that it can also wreak havoc on other parts within your pipes. One of the main ingredients in liquid drain cleaners, hydrochloric acid, can eat away at the enamel on your bathroom sink, tear up the delicate rubber gaskets in your drain, and worse.
Whenever you use over-the-counter liquid drain cleaners, there’s a high potential for dangerous chemicals to be released into your home. The fumes let off by liquid, store-bought drain cleaners should never be inhaled, and they can damage your eyes if you come into contact with the fumes – not to mention the liquid itself. Long story short, you shouldn’t trust your kids with liquid drain cleaners if a clog happens while you’re away from home.
They’re not eco-friendly.
What do you think happens to liquid drain cleaner after it enters your plumbing system? News flash – it travels to the same place as the rest of your water supply. And what do you do with that bottle of drain cleaner after it’s all used up? You probably don’t wash it out, but instead dump it in the trash, where it can then spread toxic residue in our landfills.
They don’t fix the problem at its source.
Liquid drain cleaners are a temporary solution to a likely much larger problem. Your drain issue might be due to a main sewer line clog, or a cracked pipe, or other, deeper issue. A liquid drain cleaner might alleviate the small surface-level clog you are experiencing in your sink, shower, or toilet – but it won’t alleviate the bigger problem.
A plumber can do it better.
Instead, you should call your neighborhood plumber if you’re experiencing a problem with your plumbing system. They can perform a video camera inspection to identify the source of the issue, patch it up, and make it so you’ll avoid frequently reoccurring clogs in the future.
So do liquid drain cleaners work? Yes, at least in the short term. But that’s still not reason enough to use them.