Clogged drains may be a pain, but liquid drain cleaners are even worse. They’re no friend to the environment with their high toxicity levels that make them hazardous water pollutants. And their fumes are bad for air quality and unhealthy to inhale. Even if you plug your nose while you pour the stuff down the drain, the fumes hang in the air for longer than you’d think.
Basically, these products cause damage everywhere they go. The chemicals in the cleaners are corrosive to plumbing lines made of iron and steel. And if your lines are made from PVC, the chemical reaction that occurs creates heat and can soften the plastic. The liquid is likely to end up sitting in your pipes, so the more you pour, the weaker they will get. In the end, you’ll end up with rusted or even broken pipes, which will cost you a whole lot more to fix than a clog should.
It’s also important to know what kind of clog you’re dealing with. Drain cleaners only have the potential to be useful if it’s organic material that’s backing things up. If there’s a sewage problem, on the other hand, or if you have a broken pipe, those cleaners won’t do a thing.
All in all, it’s much smarter and safer to go with an alternative. A plumber’s auger is like a shorter, manual drain snake and can break up clogs from hair and grease. There are also plungers that can loosen the clog, and enzyme and bacteria-based cleaners that can break down matter without harming you, your pipes, or the environment.
So don’t take the easy way out. In the end, liquid drain cleaners cause much more harm than good, and the alternatives are more effective anyway. If nothing else works, you can always depend on your trusted and licensed handyman or plumber.