Drano is a household name for a reason. It’s incredibly effective at removing clogs from pipes. But what many people don’t know is that Drano can also be harmful to your pipes.
In this post, we’ll look at the risks of using Drano and how to avoid them. We’ll also provide tips on safely removing clogs without these potent chemicals.
So if you’re looking for an alternative to this popular but potentially harmful product, keep reading!
What Are the Top Causes of Clogged Pipes?
Clogged pipes can be a massive headache, and understanding the top causes of clogged pipes can help you prevent them in the first place. A few common offenders contribute to most pipe clogs, such as hair, grease and oil build-up, tree roots, or objects that shouldn’t be flushed down a toilet.
Hair is an especially common cause of clogs as it accumulates in bathtub and sink drains, causing a blockage until it’s removed.
Grease and oil accumulate inside the pipes after they get washed down the drain. They slowly build up until they eventually create a blockage.
Tree roots can grow around and into underground piping, resulting in clogged and blocked lines – often requiring professional plumbing repair.
Another big offender is objects being flushed down the toilet other than human waste and toilet paper – anything from flushable wet wipes to diapers can cause clogs.
What Is Drano?
Drano is a chemical product designed to sink through blockages and break up hard substances, causing a clog in your drain. It is made of multiple elements, including lye, sodium chloride, and various forms of aluminum.
When you pour it down your sink or toilet, the lye reacts with water and creates heat. This heat helps dissolve anything that has caused a stoppage while the aluminum works to cut through grease and hair before it, too, is broken down.
Drano can be used to unclog most household appliances, but you must follow directions carefully. Incorrect usage can damage pipes, and it can be a safety risk.
Is Drano Bad for my Pipes?
Especially if it’s misused, Drano can be bad for your pipes. It can also harm aged, damaged, or otherwise compromised lines, even when used properly.
Drano is a chemical-based product designed to eat through clogs, yet it can cause issues for the pipe itself due to its harshness. Over time, the corrosive properties of Drano can wear away at certain types of lines, leading to significant damage and even repairs that may be costly.
Why Do Plumbers Not Like Drano?
Plumbers know that Drano is convenient, but they also see it as a lazy fix to a plumbing problem.
While it’s marketed as effective and easy, the harsh chemicals in Drano can damage pipes or cause clogs further down the line. Plumbers realize it’s better to tackle the real root of the problem than throw a volatile chemical at it and hope for an instant fix.
Even if Drano seems to work in the short term, eventually, any blocked pipe will need professional attention – and repeated use of a solution like Drano could make matters worse.
That’s why professional plumbers will offer more reliable and long-lasting methods of dealing with pipes.
When Should You Not Use Drano?
If your clog is caused by something like a toy or a bottle cap getting stuck, you should remove it physically rather than pour Drano into the sink or toilet. Drano won’t clear up such blockages.
Any time you’re dealing with plastic or PVC pipes, avoid Drano. The chemical reactions can corrode plastics, causing permanent damage and creating an even bigger headache.
Additionally, if you see standing water in your sink or another drain area, have slow draining, or recently used a homemade clog removal solution – NEVER use Drano! The chemicals in Drano are caustic, meaning that if they splash in sitting water, it could be tremendously dangerous.
Lastly, if there’s any chance a pipe may be leaking underneath the surface of your flooring or walls, never reach for the Drano bottle. You run the risk of the chemicals leaking out to other areas, which could be dangerous or cause further damage.
What Should I Use Instead of Drano?
If you’re looking for an alternative to Drano, look no further. The tried and true plunger is the first thing you should try with a clog. Often, a plunger can push less stubborn clogs down the drainpipe.
Another natural and effective solution for clogged sinks is simply boiling water. Boil a large pot of water and pour it into the drain, one cup at a time. This especially helps to dissolve and break up fats and grease clogs.
You may also want to try baking soda and vinegar. Start by pouring half a cup of baking soda down the drain, followed by half a cup of white vinegar.
If you have one, put a rubber stopper in the drain, allowing the mixture to work. It will start to bubble up and dissolve any build-up. After about 15 minutes, unplug the drain and run hot water to flush out the drainpipe.
What’s the Strongest Thing to Unclog a Drain?
Believe it or not, the mixture of baking soda and vinegar, followed by boiling water, is the strongest thing you can do to unclog a drain. When mixed together, the vigorous reaction between baking soda and vinegar can clear even the most stubborn clogs.
Though boiling water can sometimes clear some clogs on its own, it’s also an excellent follow-up to the baking soda and vinegar mixture to flush everything down the drainpipe.
What Do Plumbers Recommend to Keep Drains Clean?
It’s much easier to keep drains clean than to learn how to unclog them and plumbers have a couple of tips to do so.
The simplest way to keep drains clean is hot water. About once a week, boil a pan of water and pour it down the drain. It’s that simple and can easily be done in the kitchen, as well as in bathroom sinks and tub drains.
Another method that some plumbers recommend is using dish soap. Simply pour a few tablespoons of dish soap down the drain and let it sit for several minutes. Then fill up the sink with cold water or fill a container with about a gallon or so and flush the drain with the water.
Try a Better Alternative to Drano
Now that you know how to unclog your drains without using a caustic solution like Drano, how about you utilize the tips we offered for keeping them clear in the first place?
But wait! We’ve got one more tip for those of you that want to go the extra mile to give your drains the best possible chance at remaining clog-free…white vinegar!
You’ll probably do just fine by following the methods above, but plumbers agree that white vinegar is a solid preventative measure. It’s environmentally friendly, inexpensive, and only takes about two to four cups per drain every three months or so.
Just pour the white vinegar down the drain, let it sit for 10 minutes, then flush the drainpipe with hot water. The acid in the vinegar helps break down any build-up and gives that added insurance that your pipes remain clear.
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