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Cleaning Chemical Safety Guidelines

So you have a clogged drain. You go to the store or search online and the first and most common solutions you see are all chemical cleaning products. But are chemical drain cleaners safe to use? Before you buy a bottle of Drain, be sure to read this article!

What is a Chemical Cleaner?

There are three main types of chemical Cleaners: caustic, oxidizer and acid. They are all heavier than water and can therefore reach the hoof through standing water. All three use harsh chemicals to clear a clog by creating a reaction with the substance that makes up the clog, causing it to break apart and pass through the pipe.

Is it safe to use a Chemical Cleaner?

Because these chemicals are so harsh, users must be extremely careful when handling them. If mishandled, these chemicals can cause burns, gall clothing, and release fumes that can cause explosions if not properly ventilated.

The reaction created by chemical unblockers that breaks down the clog has another by-product: heat. This makes their use dangerous. The heat they generate can soften the PVC pipes most commonly used in homes and cause them to fail over time. The chemicals used in drain cleaners are even harsher on older metal pipes - they can cause serious structural damage. Additionally, they can have a particularly negative impact on septic systems, killing the beneficial bacteria that serve to break down your waste.

What can you use instead?

There are a few alternatives to chemical drain cleaners that will solve your clog problem without the potential harm of using salt, baking soda, and vinegar. By pouring equal parts salt and baking soda down the drain and following this mixture with vinegar, you may be able to chemically remove a clog from your drain without the harmful chemicals of retail drain cleaners. A better way to avoid clogs is to pour boiling water into pipes that get a lot of grease, like the kitchen sink, once a month to prevent suds from forming.

However, the best and safest way to remove existing clogs is to use a drain snake or drain auger. These devices are long, flexible coils or pieces of plastic wrapped in Velcro loops. You place the snake down the drain and twist it with a handle, and once the snake hits a clog, the twisting motion causes the clog to wrap around the snake and you can pull it out through the drain. They can also unclog any grease or soap scum that can't be removed from the drain, allowing water to back up and the rest of the clog to be cleaned with hot water or baking soda and vinegar.

If you frequently have clogged drains or can't unclog a drain, it may be a good idea to call a plumber to investigate your problem. You may have a major problem causing your hooves that are best addressed as soon as possible. If you think you need a plumber looking around, give us a call or fill out a contact form and we'll get back to you within a week!

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