Is drain cleaner that bad? When it comes to clearing out a clogged drain, you want to find a solution that is safe and effective. As easy as it is to run to a nearby store to grab a commercial drain cleaner, you may want to rethink that option. Drain cleaners are toxic and can have negative effects on both your plumbing system and your health.

So what do you when you need your drain cleared out?

Apart from hiring a professional plumber, you can try a natural alternative or seek out products formulated for safety. Read on to learn more about the detrimental effects of commercial drain cleaners and what you can do instead.

Are Drain Cleaners Bad?

Not all drain cleaners are created equal but some rely on caustic chemical solutions to dissolve the materials clogging your drains.

While commercial drain cleaners are a quick and effective way to clear your drains, the chemical reaction they create can cause damage to PVC pipes as well as corrode older piping.

There are other considerations you should take when it comes to using commercial drain cleaners:

Environmental Impact

The highly toxic chemicals used in drain cleaners can end up in the water supply and cause damage to the environment. Additionally, any leftover residue in the empty bottles ends up in the landfill and can have a negative impact on the soil as well as local wildlife.

Health Risks

These dangerous chemicals can also pose health risks of swallowed or inhaled. They can also cause damage if they come into contact with your skin and eyes. Not to mention the risk if small children have access to them.

Even if you are careful when using chemical drain cleaners, spills and mishaps can still happen. Even exposure to the vapours created by the toxic ingredients can linger long after the product is used and stored away safely.


The money you will end up spending on chemical drain cleaners can be used to hire a professional plumber or invested in natural alternatives.

The damage caused to your pipes and septic system by chemical cleaners can result in costly repair or replacements. The worst part is, the product may not even clear away your drains.

Our expert plumbers at Peak Sewer have the tools necessary to clean out blocked drains without resorting to the use of dangerous chemicals.

Do Natural Home Remedies Work?

Before grabbing a chemical cleaner to do the job, or hiring a professional, you can try a natural home remedy to clear away any blockages in your drains.

Plunging a Clogged Drain

One of the safest methods is to plunge the clogged pipe, which can successfully dislodge the source of the clog by creating pressure.

  1. Start by removing the pop-up drain or stopper and covering the overflow drain with a wet cloth.
  2. Place the cup of the plunger over the drain hole, running enough water to cover the rubber surface to create a seal.
  3. Move the plunger up and down for about 20 seconds, pulling it away to see if the water can drain.
  4. Repeat this process if necessary.

If plunging doesn’t work, remember that expert plumbing technicians have additional tools that can be used to clear away the issue.

DIY Drain Cleaners

Making your own drain cleaner out of natural ingredients, such as vinegar and baking soda, can be effective if the blockage is not severe.

  1. Sprinkle half a cup of baking soda down the drain, followed by an equal amount of white vinegar.
  2. Plug the drain for a few minutes to allow the mixture of the baking soda and vinegar to activate.
  3. Pour several cups of hot water down the drain and wait a few more minutes to see if the solution worked.

Again, using baking soda and vinegar will only work if the clog is small and easy to dissolve. Otherwise, you can always opt for commercial drain cleaners designed to be both effective and safe.

Drain Steam Cleaning

Adding steam to the clog might just do the trick! This method requires some experience, so it’s best to call in the pros!

The Best Products to Use to Clean Your Drain

When natural alternatives don’t work, you can always try one of the following products to safely unclog your drain:

  • Unique Natural’s Super Digest-It Safe Drain Opener: This product uses a bacteria concentrate to safely work through clogged drains quickly without damaging toilets, pipes, and septic tanks.
  • Earthworm Family-Safe Drain Cleaner: This drain cleaner uses only water and natural enzymes to break down organic materials.
  • Biokleen Bac-Out Drain Care: By combining live cultures, enzymes, and plant extracts, this product treats slow drains and prevents clogs.
  • DrainOut Drain Freshener and Clog Preventer: This enzyme-based product will clear drains and is eco-friendly.

However, like any drain cleaner bought from the store, there is no guarantee that the product will work. In some cases, you’ll have to call in the professionals.

When to Call a Professional

Home remedies and DIY fixes are appropriate for smaller and weaker clogs but usually not enough to tackle tough blockages. When cleaners and plungers aren’t enough, it’s time to contact a plumber.

You’ll know it’s time to make that call when you notice the following:

  • Recurring blockages
  • Sewage or water backups
  • Multiple drains are affected
  • The blockage exists in a frequently used drain
  • You don’t know what’s down there

Sometimes drain blockages are simply drain blockages – other times, they could be the symptom of a much bigger problem.

When your safe DIY alternatives fail, it’s best to have a professional plumber inspect the issue. The sooner you can diagnose the issue, the quicker it can be resolved – before it turns into a bigger and more expensive problem.

Peak Sewer offers 24/7 emergency service for sewer and drainage issues. If you are experiencing a clogged drain, or any other plumbing issue, please don’t hesitate to get in touch!

Contact Us