Drain cleaners like Drano are popular solutions that homeowners use every time they notice a clogged drain around the house. Is cleaning a sink with Drano a chemical reaction?
While drain cleaners may sound like the best solution for your dirty sinks, they happen to be among the most commonly misused cleaning items out there. Ask any plumber, and they will surely advise against using it.
Now, you might be wondering why this is the case. Drano, after all, is among the most well-known and most extensively used drain cleaners that you can find on the market. What is so bad about Drano and drain cleaners as a whole? Why are plumbers so vehement in discouraging people from using it?
What is drano and how does it work?
Drano is one type of household cleaner made up of different harsh chemicals. The said chemicals include aluminum, bleach, lye, sodium nitrate, and salt. This is available in crystal or liquid form. This product is dubbed as a quick and affordable fix for various plumbing issues.
The numerous ingredients in Drano work together to create different chemical reactions to clearing blocked pipes.
Lye is the first one that gets to work. The main purpose of this specific element is to quickly decompose organic materials like dead skin cells, hair, and grease. Together with aluminum, lye will heat up to almost boiling temperatures to help speed up the process of decomposition. Tap water will add to the reaction and help produce more heat.
The lye will now react with the grease that has now turned soften to form a sudsy substance. The hot water will dissolve the soapy solution, and it will go through a different chemical reaction with aluminum. It will form hydrogen bubbles, and the bubbles will loosen up the clog to help the hot water carry the particles down the drain.
The entire process can be very harsh on the drain.
Why you shouldn’t use drano when cleaning the sink
Aside from being ineffective, Drano can be extremely damaging to the plumbing system as well. The heat that the chemical reaction produces is more than what your drains are meant to endure. Aging and corroded plumbing can break down all too easily. The pipes could split while the glue that holds them together may disintegrate. It can even cause cracks in the toilet bowl.
The drain cleaner may even be left lingering in the pipes long after just a single-use. It could then lead to the risk of its reaction with other chemical cleaners that can create dangerous fumes. The product’s chemical content can also pose serious threats to the safety and health of anyone who works with it.
Drano is also caustic. This means that it could corrode the organic tissue through chemical action. Any direct contact with the skin may cause burns and irritation. If you have already poured this down your drain and this splashes back up, this can result in injury and irritation. It can also mean serious problems for your lungs if you inhaled the fumes.
Due to the nature of the danger of drain cleaners, most plumbers refuse to accept an appointment if you have recently used them.
Even if things go off without a single hitch, with the cleaner flushing away with no problems at all, this may still pose danger outside of your house. The lye as well as the rest of the chemicals found in Drano and other similar solutions may find their way through the sewer systems then out to the lakes, rivers, and oceans. It may result in lots of damages not only to the surrounding ecosystems but also to the food supply.
Last but not the least, Drano can be a hazard for people with small kids and pets. As you might already know by now, this drain cleaner contains lots of dangerous chemicals that may cause burns on the skin. Pets and children are the most curious and vulnerable members of any family. This can be a fatal combination if they get accidentally dipped into the rest of your cleaning supplies. These can cause chemical burns at best and jeopardize their life at worst.
How to deal with blocked drains
If you ever notice a blocked or slow drain, try to curb that impulse of reaching for the Drano even when it is an emergency case. There are still many other better alternatives that you can try and are considered to be more effective.
For one, using a plunger is the tried and tested remedy for blocked drains. There are times when the only thing you need is a good old fashion plunging that will help loosen up a clog. You can use different types of plungers made especially for various kinds of drains. So, instead of doing anything else, you might want to give this dependable tool a try first.
A drain snake is one more tool that you should always keep in your arsenal. It is a long and slender auger that you can use to clean up tough clogs that you cannot loosen up with your plunger alone. All you have to do is insert the snake through the opening of your drain and turn the drum’s handle to uncoil it. Continue to crank until you reach the clog. The snake should be rotated until you feel that the clog has loosened, then reel it back up. Doing so will likely pull the clog out.
It is always recommended to get the help of the experts if plumbing issues occur. It is the best way to ensure that your plumbing problems will be solved in the best way possible. There are times when a clogged drain may lead to underlying problems that could pose a more severe threat to the plumbing system.
Drano doesn’t work all the time
At the end of the day, remember that not all problems with the drain could be solved by simply pouring down chemicals into the drain. If you have some problem with your sink, pipe, or sewer line, remember that no chemical drain cleaner, including Drano, can fix it.