When your drains are clogged and plugged, your first inclination may be to run to the store and grab a chemical drain cleaner. While these products are an acceptable last resort, they can be damaging to your health and your plumbing system.

To avoid any risks associated with chemical drain cleaners, you should first try either a natural drain cleaner or, if that doesn’t work, a plumbing snake.

Here are some reasons why chemical drain cleaners should be avoided as well as some safe ways to clean your drains:

Why You Should Avoid Chemical Drain Cleaners

Although a chemically-based product may be designed to clean your pipes, it doesn’t mean it is good for them. Products that contain chemicals and bleach are also detrimental to the environment.

When it comes to your pipes, chemical drain cleaners can actually cause damage to them. The chemicals can warp softer pipes (such as plastic) and can eat away at metal pipes if it pools and sits against a complete clog.

Chemical drain cleaners can also react negatively with the aluminum in the pipes and result in the release of toxic gasses. These fumes can be dangerous to humans and pipes, causing skin burns and eye and throat irritation.

Another risk associated with chemical drain cleaners is the fact that they can actually solidify in your pipes. As mentioned above, the cleaner could pool against a complete clog and eat away at your pipes as well as solidify against the metal.

Lastly, when mixed with other cleaners, chemical drain cleaners can create an explosive reaction and cause the product to burst from the pipes.

Use Natural Products

When it comes to cleaning your drains, natural products can likely be found right in your home! All you need is grease-fighting dish soap, baking soda and white vinegar.

To keep your drains clean and clear, perform some weekly maintenance by running hot (almost boiling) water down the drain to soften any clogs.

If you are battling a clogged drain, perform the hot water flush followed by some grease-fighting dish soap. Finish by pouring equal parts baking soda and white vinegar down the drain and letting it sit for 30 minutes. Finish with another hot water rinse.

Plumbing Snake

When you are dealing with a complete clog, a plumbing snake is effective in clearing the blockage.

A plumbing snake is a long, flexible wire used to dislodge clogs. They work by pushing the snake into the drain until it reaches the blockage. The snake is then turned in circles to either break up the blockage or hook on to pull the clog out.

You can purchase a plumbing snake or rent one from your local hardware store. If a plumbing snake is unavailable, you can always contact a professional to help clear out your clogged pipes.

Prevent Clogged Drains

They say an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. This holds true for your drains and taking steps to avoid clogs will help to avoid having to unplug them in the future.

Keep up with the once a week hot water flush to loosen any potential clogs.

In the kitchen, use the plug strainer to catch any stray food particles before they go down the drain and create a build up in your pipes.

In the bathroom, avoid disposing of hair and other unflushable items down the toilet. Use drain catchers to trap hair in the bathtub and try not to let excessive amounts of toothpaste go down the drain.

Clogged drains and plugged pipes? Contact us today to see how we can help!