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Are chemical drain cleaners safe?

Posted on: November 21, 2013

There’s nothing more irritating that standing water in your shower or sink, and we understand you want to get it fixed as quickly as possible. But what is the safest way to remove a drain clog? We get a lot of questions about whether or not chemical drain cleaners are safe for our clients’ pipes, and that can be a complicated question! Continue reading to learn more.

If you need help with a clogged drain in Montgomery County, MD, call the pros at James A. Wheat & Sons—our number is 240-399-5051240-399-5051!

How to Unclog a Drain

A lot of times, minor drain clogs can be cleared up using a chemical drain cleaner, provided you are extremely careful! Like all chemicals, chemical drain cleaners can be extremely dangerous—not only to your skin, but to your pipes as well!

When using chemical drain cleaners, there are certain precautions you should always take to protect yourself and your plumbing system. For instance:

Avoid the seriously harmful chemicals – You’d think this would go without saying, but sometimes it’s not so easy to pick out the seriously harmful chemicals from the mildly harmful ones! Things to avoid in this category are any chemical drain cleaners that use acid or lye because these extremely potent chemicals can contaminate waste water and septic systems, damage PVC piping, and cause serious burns.

If you absolutely have to use harsh chemicals to unclog your drains, make sure you wear protective gloves, a face mask, and safety goggles. Ventilate the room as much as possible, and when you’re finished with the chemicals, store them in a place where children can’t reach them, such as a high shelf or a locked closet (for best results, find chemicals with childproof lids). If your drains are so clogged that you think you need to bust out the big guns (aka the dangerous chemicals), save yourself the danger and just call James A. Wheat & Sons!

Read labels carefully – This one goes along with the first one—always make sure you read the labels carefully before you buy or use any type of chemical drain cleaner. If you’re not careful, you can accidentally purchase a drain cleaner that can:

  • Damage the ecosystem in your septic tank
  • Burn or scar your skin
  • Damage your plumbing
  • And more!

Before you use a chemical drain cleaner, make sure it is safe for whatever you’re planning on using it for. In addition, make sure you read about what to do in case of an accidental spill.

Don’t mix chemicals – If you’ve ever taken a chemistry course, you’ll know that when you mix chemicals, the results aren’t always pretty—sometimes they change colors, sometimes they explode violently. Chemical drain cleaners tend to lean more toward the violent end of the spectrum, releasing toxic fumes and gasses into the air or possibly gushing up in an eruption of burning chemicals. In addition to the immediate personal danger these reactions create, they can also make it impossible to clean the drains manually in the future.

You should never, EVER mix any chemical drain cleaners with products containing bleach. This will create a toxic chlorine gas that can be deadly to people and pets.

Find Out If Your Chemical Drain Cleaners Are Safe for Your Home

If you have a badly clogged drain in your bathroom or kitchen, remember—chemical drain cleaners can be convenient, but you really get what you pay for. Don’t put yourself at risk! If you have a clogged drain that you need cleared out, contact James A. Wheat & Sons for drain cleaning in Gaithersburg or the surrounding area today!