Are Chemical Drain Cleaners Safe?
Many of us use household cleaners to keep our homes clean and as germ free as possible. But many of these cleaners have harsh chemicals that can be causing damage to your water pipes and your septic tank. So here are our recommendations on what you should and should not use.
For Septic Systems
If your home's plumbing uses a septic system - we recommend that you avoid drain cleaners as they are the most corrosive of all household cleaners. Solvents such as glue, nail polish remover, degreasers, motor oil, etc. are also very damaging to your septic tank.
Drain cleaners can destroy any of the good bacteria in your septic tank so please avoid these at all costs.
For Older Pipes
Generally speaking, chemical drain cleaners that are acidic are not safe on older pipes (even if they are plastic). They are especially not safe on any metal pipes.
Acidic drain cleaners are ones that have a high amount of sulfuric acid. Although these types of cleaners can be safe on newer PVC types of pipes - we do not recommend to use them if your home has plumbing pipes made of other materials or if you are simply not sure.
For PVC Pipes
If your home or business uses PVC plumbing you should be aware that drain cleaners can soften PVC materials which compromises your plumbing system.
Overall - we do NOT recommend using any chemical drain cleaners to clear out clogs in your drains. There are other options available.
Recommended Drain Cleaners
The best cleaning products to use for your home which are safe for septic tanks and most all plumbing are home made. Using ingredients like White Vinegar, Lemon Juice and Baking Soda - you can clean your house from top to bottom.
However, there are commercial products that you can use - here's a short list...
- CLR Calcium, Lime and Rust Remover
- Seventh Generation Dish Liquid
- Bissell advanced professional spot and stain
- Seventh Generation All Purpose Natural Cleaner
Some products will say that they are "septic safe" so look for that but note that not many products take the effort to put that information on their labels.
Do Chemical Drain Cleaners Work?
Yes - storebought chemical drain cleaners MAY work to unclog your drain but as we mentioned above - they can also cause some damage to your plumbing pipes. And they can certainly be very damaging to your septic system if your home uses a septic tank.
Alternatives To Chemical Drain Cleaners
The home made solutions are the best type of cleaners that you can use to help maintain your plumbing and extend the life of your plumbing pipes. Here is a list of what you can use throughout your home.
For Cleaning Toilets
- Sprinkle baking soda in your toilet bowl and scrub with a toilet brush.
- White vinegar breaks up water stains. 2 cups are usually enough.
- Lemon juice has a natural disinfectant and it smells nice.
Getting Rid Of Centipedes In Your Sink Drain
- 1 cup of white vinegar
- 1/2 cup of baking soda
- Pour these down the drain (separately). Baking soda releases carbon dioxide bubbles which kills bugs.
Clearing Out A Clog In Your Drain
- 1/2 cup of baking soda
- 1/2 cup of white vinegar
In an empty sink, put the baking soda down the drain followed by the vinegar. Plug the drain and wait at least an hour. Unplug the drain and pour a large pot of boiling water down the drain.
If any of these solutions do not work we recommend that you contact a professional plumber to assess and fix the problem.
Is It Safe To Leave A Drain Cleaner Overnight?
If you do use a chemical drain cleaner, we do not recommend that you DO NOT leave it in your pipes overnight. The harsh chemicals in these products can work to erode your pipes and cause more damage.
If you have any questions about chemical drain cleaners and their effect on plumbing, call Atlantis Plumbing today at 770-443-8229. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.