Are Liquid Drain Cleaners Safe and Effective?

clogged drainDrain cleaners are easy to use and affordable for all homeowners. Before you buy this product, know the advantages and disadvantages, even if you use it for only a few times. Find out if liquid drain cleaners are safe and effective to use in your household.

Sales Are High

Liquid drain cleaners are effective because these products are sold every day in stores. The level of effectiveness depends on several factors. The chemicals are acidic and designed to be strong enough to clear most clogged drains but not all drains. Some clogs must be removed manually and cannot be dissolved by chemicals only.

Pipes Remain Intact

Some liquid drain cleaners contain large volumes of sulfuric acid that dissolve particles. This chemical is highly corrosive and known to corrode metal, causing it to weaken and possibly crack. Even so, many pipes remain intact without breaking apart, so there is some level of safety guaranteed to your plumbing system.


Not Effective on All Drains

Acidic drain cleaners contain sulfuric acid, while alkaline cleaners contain sodium hydroxide, also known as lye. Each type of chemical is designed to dissolve clogs that are made of hair, oil or fat. No matter how effective the product is, though, it cannot penetrate blockages that are located some distance from the drain.


A blockage in the main sewer line is impossible to remove with a liquid that you pour into the drain opening. If the clog is near the opening, you can remove it, but it may come after repeated use of the product. Also, poorly made cleaners leave filmy residues that cause more clogs over time.


Not Safe for All Users

All drain cleaners, whether acidic or alkaline, contain warning labels that advise against improper usage. The chemicals are dangerous when ingested, inhaled or splashed into your eyes. As a result, the product is not safe for children and disabled individuals to use.


Not Safe for All Pipes

Drain cleaners destroy some pipes, while others remain fairly intact. The type of material affects the strength and durability of your pipes. Acidic and alkaline cleaners are known to corrode metals.

To protect your pipes, plumbers may be called to insert linings that cover the metal. They usually have to remove the old pipes and replace them with the lined ones. The types of lining materials that they use are glass, polyethylene and cement mortar.

Liquid drain cleaners are safe to use in pipes but not in other appliances within the house. These products are effective at removing some blockages but not all. There are times when the use of drain cleaners is not reliable, though. Regular maintenance of your pipes is necessary to keep your drains cleared at all times.