Can Liquid Drain Cleaners Damage Pipes?

May 31, 2022

Quick and easy fixes may feel convenient; however, they can often do more harm than good. This can be the case with liquid drain cleaners. In the short term, they can clear a clogged pipe here and there, but at what cost?

If you rely on liquid drain cleaners too often, you can permanently damage your pipes, leading to expensive repairs. More importantly, it is important to know if liquid drain cleaners are even safe to use. 

Usually, the best option is to contact a plumber and have your drains professionally cleaned.

Are Chemical Drain Cleaners Effective?

Whether you go for the gel, powder, or liquid form, most of the chemical drain cleaners at superstores and home improvement stores are made out of harsh, toxic chemicals. Without getting too scientific or technical, chemical drain cleaners generate heat, which breaks down hair, grease, and soap scum in drains so they can be easily dissolved.

The three main types of chemical drain cleaners include:

  1. Caustic drain cleaners (they may contain lye and caustic potash)
  2. Oxidizing drain cleaners (these typically contain bleach, nitrates, and bleach)
  3. Acid drain cleaners (they usually have high concentrations of hydrochloric and sulfuric acid).

While harsh chemical drain cleaners may be effective in the short term, ask any plumber and they’ll quickly say that they are not permanent, nor ideal solutions. Since these cleaners generate heat, they can soften PVC pipes, which are typically installed in most modern homes; however, it’s more likely that they’ll damage metal pipes used in older homes. The real concern…is safety.

Are Chemical Drain Cleaners Safe?

Chemical drain cleaners are very toxic, especially if they are swallowed. They can also:

  • Burn the eyes
  • Burn the skin
  • Burn the mucous membranes
  • Eat through clothing
  • Release dangerous fumes
  • Cause an explosion if used improperly
  • Harm septic systems because they kill good bacteria
  • Damage bathroom and kitchen fixtures

Our advice is to avoid using harsh chemical drain cleaners and to instead contact Winters® Home Services for professional drain cleaning services in Boston that are non-toxic and chemical-free. This will provide you with a long-term solution, not a quick and toxic fix that puts your family’s health at risk.

Benefits of a Professional Drain Cleaning

Professional drain cleaning provides several benefits, especially when compared to DIY drain cleaning solutions, including:

  • Effective – A plumber will be able to determine what is causing the clog and the best way to unclog the drain. Using a liquid drain cleaner to unclog a drain is no guarantee. In some cases, they don’t work. In other instances, they work initially, but because they don’t solve the issue causing the clogs, the clog comes back. A professional drain cleaning will ensure that the clog is cleared effectively the first time and that the issue causing the clogs will be solved as well.
  • Avoid Damage – The chemicals that make up liquid drain cleaners are hazardous. They can be dangerous for you to use if you’re not careful, including causing you health problems. In addition, they can damage your pipes, especially if used too often. The corrosive chemicals in liquid drain cleaners can wear away at your pipes, which can lead to pipe leaks and burst pipes.
  • Less Hassle – Most people don’t want to do their own plumbing. It can be time-consuming and messy. Having a professional take care of your plumbing needs allows you to avoid the hassle that comes with handling plumbing problems on your own.

Five-Star Drain Cleaning Review

“My bathroom sink went from a slow drain to being clogged & backed up. I YouTubed a fix & followed the directions, discovering that the clog wasn’t within the pipes underneath. I called Winters on a late Thursday afternoon & set up an appointment for the next day. As advertised, Vinny called 1/2 hour before he would arrive & got here on time. He was friendly, personable & professional. He quickly diagnosed & fixed the problem. The was some water spilled & he offered to clean up. Vinny noticed my sports memorabilia & chatted me up about Boston sports which was a nice touch that didn’t go unnoticed. I filled out the paperwork & paid the quoted price. It was fast, simple & easy. I’ll keep Winters in mind next time I have any plumbing issues.”

– Gerry

Check out what other people have to say about working with Winters here.

Need Help with a Clogged Drain in Your Boston Home? Get in Touch with Our Drain Cleaning Experts Today!

For nearly 30 years, Winters® Home Services has been the helping hand homeowners in Boston and its surrounding areas could count on to handle their plumbing needs. To this day, that hasn’t changed. Our licensed, insured, and bonded plumbers are just a phone call away. We can determine what is causing your plumbing problems and get your plumbing system back up and running in no time.

Call us at 617-221-5899 today. Same-day appointments. Ask us about our discounts and our maintenance plans!