If you’re like a lot of people, you have childhood memories of your father or grandfather trying to unclog a sink or bathtub drain with a harsh chemical drain cleaner. Should you do the same now that you have your own home?
If you experience a stubborn clog, should you run out to the nearest grocery store or superstore for a bottle of chemical drain cleaner? Not so fast.
According to Consumer Reports, “chemical drain cleaners are among the most dangerous household products,” which isn’t surprising since they are made out of lye and manufactured to cut through grease, soap scum, hair and other sludge that clogs pipes.
While these harsh chemicals may seem like they will do the trick, chemical drain cleaners are often unnecessary. Usually, a good old-fashioned method, such as a wire hanger with a hook on the end, or a $2.25 Zip-It drain cleaning tool from Wal-Mart, or even a trusty plunger will do.
Crystal drain cleaners can be hazardous when they are exposed to aluminum, which is commonly found in older sink drains. When crystals are exposed to aluminum in an older sink drain, they can create a cloud of lye-laden gas that can cause choking.
The same thing can happen when crystals are mixed with common household cleaners, especially those with ammonia. When crystals are mixed with a household cleaner, the mixture can come shooting out of the drain.
Further, if too much of a crystal drain cleaner down the drain, it can become a solid block resembling a stone and be nearly impossible to get out of the drain. Given the dangers of crystal drain cleaners, Consumer Reports advises against them, but all chemical drain cleaners are dangerous to inhale or come into contact with.
Mechanical Drain Cleaners are Safer
As a general rule, mechanical drain cleaners, such as plungers, wire hangers with a hook at the end, Zip-Its, water-powered devices, and snakes (augers) are safe, effective, affordable, and fast-acting. Not only that, they are not hazardous to your health and they are environmentally friendly.
We do not recommend using chemical drain cleaners, especially when there’s usually a mechanical method that’s not only a safe alternative but an effective one at that!
Do you have a stubborn clog that needs clearing? If you are not the DIY-type, or you prefer to call in a professional who won’t use a hazardous chemical, we encourage you to contact A-1 Sewer & Septic Inc. for a no-obligation quote from one of our Kansas City plumbers!