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General Plumbing Blog

Don’t Use Store-Bought Drain Cleaners to Unclog Your Drains!


We know that clogged drains are one of the biggest nuisances you can encounter with your plumbing. They’re frustrating, and sometimes you just want to get rid of them as fast as possible. You already tried using a sink or toilet plunger, and when that didn’t work, you next reached for a trusty bottle of liquid drain cleaner…

We’ll stop you right there: no matter what promises these so-called “drain cleaners” may make, no matter how many of them are on the shelves at the store, they should never go down any of the drains in your home. No professional plumber recommends using them. If you have an obstinate drain clog that a plunger won’t clear, the best next step is to call us for professional drain cleaning in Lake Worth, FL.

What’s so bad about store-bought drain cleaners? We’ll explain below.

They aren’t very effective

These drain cleaners are basically bottles of acidic chemicals, like sulfuric acid or sodium hydroxide (lye). These are harsh chemicals capable of eating through substances that clog up a drain. But what they don’t do is actually clean the drain. They’ll chew through enough of a clog to allow water to start flowing again, but they leave most of the clogging material behind so the clog can return a short time later. At best, these chemicals only offer a short-term fix. Plus, there are many materials that these chemicals won’t affect at all.

They’re highly toxic

The chemical stew of liquid drain cleaners is dangerous for people and pets. It can burn skin and eyes, and it’s harmful to inhale. The toxic fumes from using these cleaners will linger for long after you’ve used them on the drain. If accidentally ingested, these chemicals can be fatal, so we don’t recommend even keeping drain cleaners in the house if you have small children. 

They can damage your pipes

If it occurred to you that pouring extremely caustic chemicals like sulfuric acid down into the plumbing might not be the best thing for your pipes, you’re exactly right. These chemicals will cause corrosion and other damage to the inside of your pipes that will shorten their lifespans and lead to having to make expensive repairs. Making the situation worse, these chemicals tend to linger inside pipes, such as in the P-trap, increasing how much damage they do.

They’re terrible for the environment

The chemicals in drain cleaners often end up in the ocean or landfills, where they contaminate wildlife and seep into the groundwater that people will eventually drink. You’ll also add more plastic bottles to the landfills.

The bottom line is that calling a professional plumber to unclog your drains is a far better option: professionals will thoroughly remove the clog (no matter what it’s made of) in a way that’s safe, won’t harm your drains, and will make it difficult for the problem to come back. Our plumbers use the best tools and the latest in technology to clean drains and sewer lines. 

For Red Carpet Service Every Time, Contact General Plumbing and Air Conditioning in Lake Worth, FL.

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