Why DIY Drain Cleaning Can Be a Bad Idea
When you notice a sink beginning to back up or a slow-draining bathtub, your first instinct is probably to pour some chemical drain cleaner down the drain and forget about it. Although these chemical cleaners are easy-to-use and inexpensive, there are safer alternatives. There are a few at-home solutions that are pipe-friendly and can help minimize clogs. Even then, if you are experiencing a drain or sewer problem the best thing to do is hire a professional plumber. Contact our Red Oak plumbing team for prompt and reliable service.
Alternatives to Chemical CleanersIf you don’t have time to wait for a plumber or you would like to try something else first, there are a few at-home solutions you can try. But first, put the chemical cleaner down. Explained in depth below, chemical cleaners can cause major damage to your pipes, especially when used too frequently. Here are some easy and affordable alternatives:
- Very hot (not boiling) water: using very hot water can help to melt away and break down any clogs. Rinse with cold water afterwards.
- Plungers and toothed drain snakes: keep in mind that these are only solutions for toilets and shower drains. You can purchase these at most grocery or home improvement stores. Plungers can be used for regular back-ups and toothed drain snakes are great for hair clogs in showers.
- Vinegar and baking soda: pour half a cup of baking soda down the drain followed by half a cup of vinegar right. Leave it overnight with the drain covered and rinse it with hot water in the morning.
Dangers of DIY Drain CleaningWhether you’re using a chemical cleaner or a drain snake, every DIY drain cleaning method has risks. Take a look at some of the reasons why homeowners choose to hire a plumber rather than fix it themselves:
- Pipe corrosion: chemical drain cleaners may be easy, but they are the worst when it comes to taking care of your pipes. Many drain cleaners contain Hydrochloric Acid, which corrodes pipes. If you use chemical cleaners often, you could face a leaky pipe or worse.
- Septic system damage: chemical drain cleaners can also damage your septic system. The acid in these cleaners kill the beneficial bacteria in the system. This is a problem because this bacteria is a natural waste eliminator. When you kill the bacteria, you are actually increasing the likelihood of clogs in your pipes.
- Safety issues: some homeowners put their hands down the drain when they try to fix it. This is incredibly dangerous for many reasons. There is a possibility that your hand could get stuck in the pipe or worse. Not to mention the chemical burns that occur when homeowners use drain cleaners.
- Worsen the problem: using a drain snake or some other tool to remove a clog can result in pushing the clog further down the pipe. Similarly, when using chemical cleaners you could end up with major pipe damage.
Avoiding Drain IssuesIf all of this sounds like too big of a hassle for you, then the best thing to do is to avoid the problem in the first place. The most effective way to avoid drain clogs is to be careful about what you put down the sink or flush down the toilet. Here’s a list of what you should never put down the drain:
- Coffee grounds
- “Flushable” wipes
- Potato skins
- Cotton balls and swabs
- Animal bones
- Grease and oil
- Paper products
- Feminine products