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I was reading through Quora, and ran across a question that I hear quite often: Why is a drain cleaner dangerous? We’re going to answer that question for you right here.
Drain cleaner is made with sodium hydoxide (lye) or sulfuric acid. To make a drain cleaner that actually works, it needs to be corrosive. How else will it break down grease, hair, and any other items that might clog drains. The problem is, while sodium hydroxide (lye) and sulphuric acid break down organic material well, people are also organic material! It is also corrosive for the pipes themselves.
Hazardous to People + Animals
Chemical drain cleaner is dangerous when it comes into contact with any part of the body. If it touches your eye, you could lose your site. The cleaner can cause rashes, burns, or corrosion to the skin. Make sure children and animals stay far away from the drain cleaner. If it gets in their mouths, it could cause fatality.
The fumes can also be harmful. If you do choose to use a chemical drain cleaner, do so in a well-ventilated area.
Harms Plumbing Systems
The acids in a drain cleaner are harmful to any drain pipes (unless they are glass). If the cleaner gets stuck in the U-pipe or stuck behind a clog, it can eat through the pipe.
In addition to the pipes, the corrosive nature of chemical drain cleaners eats away at the rubber or plastic components of the plumbing system.
Sodium Hydroxide is a chemical called lye. The person who answered the question in Quora, Ross Trittipo told a story about a woman who was making soap using lye. A grain of the lye got on her finger unnoticed before she put on her work gloves. When she took the gloves off, the lye grain had eaten away at her flesh to the bone.
How to Unclog a Drain without Chemical Drain Cleaner
Chemical drain cleaner is not your only option. In our article, “Natural Ways to Unclog a Drain.” we wrote about 4 ways to remove clogs without chemical drain cleaner.
1) Use a plunger, snake, wire hangar, or snare (snares are my personal favorite.)
2) For grease clogs, use grease fighting dish soap and boiled water.
3) 1/2 cup salt, 1/2 cup white vinegar, 1/2 cup baking soda – wait 60 minutes.
4) 1/2 cup peroxide, 1/2 cup baking soda – wait 60 minutes.
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