The Dangers of Liquid Drain Cleaners

We're not trying to scare you. But we do want to point out that using liquid drain cleaners is a bad idea – both for you and for your plumbing. (And we want to offer you an alternative, of course, because otherwise we wouldn't be very helpful, would we?)


dangerWhy You Should Watch Out

Liquid drain cleaners are sold over the counter at hardware stores and – unfortunately – they contain a number of harmful chemicals. The two main types of chemical drain cleaners are acidic cleaners (containing chemicals like muriatic, sulfuric or hypochloric acids) and caustic base cleaners, containing lye or bleach. (Liquid PlumR® and Drano® are two of the most popular caustic base brands.)

Both types of drain cleaners can be dangerous to humans and animals, even in small concentrations. Acids and caustic bases are designed to dissolve organic waste matter in your pipes – so that means they can also cause serious injuries if they splash onto your skin or into your eyes. Worse, when these chemicals come in contact with other household chemicals used in the kitchen or bathroom, they can create toxic fumes. (Pro tip: You probably don't want these chemicals anywhere near your water supply, either.) (For more information on the problems with sulfuric acid drain cleaners, you can read our previous blog post here.)

If you think you're going to be coming into contact with any type of liquid drain cleaner, make sure you're wearing industrial-grade eye protection, long sleeves and pants, and heavy-duty gloves. Don't breathe in the fumes, and don't let the chemicals touch your skin.

Liquid drain cleaners do break up clogs, but they can also damage your plumbing. (After all, they're strong enough to destroy organic substances – they can eat away at metal, too.) Acids and caustic bases can etch and damage sinks and tubs, but most often, they corrode pipes. Kitchen lines that run under basement floors are especially susceptible to damage. It's sad but true: using liquid drain cleaners can cost you a total replumb. We've seen it happen many times.

So, liquid drain cleaners are out. What's in?

What You Should Do Instead

We recommend periodically cleaning out your drains with a preventive drain cleaner called BioClean. BioClean is safe, bio-degradable and non-poisonous, and creates no fumes. It only attacks organic waste, not live tissue or inorganic materials, so it's safe for people, animals and plumbing.

BioClean is a natural blend of bacteria and enzymes that digest waste particles, turning them into harmless carbon dioxide, water and mineral ash. These substances drain out of the waste system and actually help plants – pretty unusual for drain cleaner run-off.

Keep in mind, BioClean isn't caustic or acidic, so it's a preventive measure, not a cure. If you're starting with a severely clogged drain, you may want to call us so we can get rid of the blockage. Then afterwards, you can keep the pipes flowing with periodic applications of bio-degradable drain cleaner.

For more information on BioClean, you can visit their site here.

And don't forget – if you have questions about drain cleaning, chemicals, or getting your system overhauled, give Michigan Power Rodding a call at 734-761-7154.

Stay out of danger, folks!


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Michigan Power Rodding

818 Phoenix Dr
Ann Arbor, MI 48108


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No extra fees on weekends