There are advertisements for liquid clog removers on television all the time, and you see these products on end caps at big box stores. From their prevalence, you might assume they are an effective and safe way to remove stubborn clogs from your sink drains. That's what they're advertised to do, after all. The truth is that while liquid clog removers may unclog your drain, they are far from the best option for doing so. Here's why:
Risks of Using Liquid Clog Removers
The chemicals in liquid clog removers are made to eat away at any material that is clogging your drain. Unfortunately, they're so strong that they eat away not only at the clogging material, but also at the pipes themselves. If you have any PVC in your pipeline, using a liquid clog remover could lead to a big leak and an emergency call to a plumber, such as Roto-Rooter Sewer And Drain Service. Even if your plumbing consists solely or metal pipes, over time, putting drain cleaning solutions down them will cause them to weaken and may lead to cracks.
In addition to being dangerous for pipes, drain cleaners can also eat away at the porcelain in sinks. Not to mention, the chemicals are pretty harsh and lead to pretty nasty consequences when inhaled or allowed to come into contact with your skin or eyes. Even a small amount can cause abdominal pain, a rapid drop in blood pressure and swelling of the throat.
Pipe-Safe Unclogging Alternatives
If you can't use liquid clog removers, how do you unclog your drain? Thankfully, there are many alternatives. First, try pouring boiling water down the drain. This is great for loosening clogs caused by grease or food debris. If that does not work, a mixture of baking soda and vinegar can be used. Try plunging the drain, too. Plungers are not just for toilets – they work on sink and shower drains, too.
If you're unable to unclog the drain using the methods above, you can try using a pipe snake, which is a long, hooked wire, to reach down the drain and pull up the offending debris. Keep in mind, this won't work for a clog that's a long way down your drain in one of your larger pipes – but then again, neither would liquid drain cleaners. For stubborn clogs that just won't budge, there really is no better solution than calling an experienced plumber. Unclogging a sink or toilet is generally a quick job, and it will cost you a lot less than replacing pipes that have been worn by years of liquid drain cleaner.