The Dangers of Chemical Drain Cleaners


If you’ve ever had a slow drain in one of the sinks in your home, you might think it’s better to use a chemical drain cleaner than to hire a plumber. After all, using a drain cleaner is easier and many times is all you need to take care of minor drain clogs. However, there are many precautions you need to take when using chemical drain cleaners that those TV commercials don’t tell you about – otherwise you could harm not only your skin but 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

Obviously, any time you’re dealing with chemicals you want to be careful to avoid the ones that carry serious risks. Unfortunately, it can be hard to determine which chemicals are seriously harmful as opposed to just mildly harmful. When choosing a chemical drain cleaner, avoid ones that use acid or lye – these chemicals are extremely potent and can severely damage your waste water and septic systems, damage PVC pipes and even seriously burn your skin.

If it gets to the point where you absolutely have to use harsh chemicals to clear out your drains, you’re probably better off hiring a plumber. That said, if you decide to go ahead with it yourself, make sure you take the right precautions! Always, always, ALWAYS wear protective gloves and safety goggles and make sure the room you’re in is well ventilated. When you’re not using the chemicals, store them on a high shelf or in a locked closet so your kids can’t reach them.

Always Read Labels Carefully

As we said before, a lot of the caustic chemicals that can be used to clear out clogged drains can also severely burn your skin or damage your pipes and septic system. Before you go around pouring drain cleaning chemicals into your pipes, make sure they are safe for whatever you want to use them for. Also make sure you read all the warning labels so you know what to do in case you accidentally spill or ingest the chemicals.

Don’t Mix Chemicals

It doesn’t take a genius to know that when you mix chemicals, they tend to react. Sometimes these reactions are simple things like color changes – sometimes they end in violent explosions! When chemical drain cleaners mix, they tend to have the latter effect, releasing toxic gases and fumes into the air and sometimes erupting in a scalding volcano of chemicals. Not only can this pose an immediate personal danger to anyone involved, but they can also make the drains impossible to clean manually in the future.

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