Liquid chemical drain cleaners can be found in most hardware, grocery, and corner stores, and advertise a do-it-yourself approach to removing clogs and blockages in your home's plumbing. However, despite the purported convenience, there are a number of reasons why you should avoid liquid drain cleaners and call a plumber when you encounter a problem with your pipes.
Commercial chemical drain cleaners contain a wide variety of corrosive and strong chemicals that are designed to break through organic buildup in your plumbing. Any exposure to skin can result in rashes or burns, which means that you have to be extremely careful while working with these cleaners. Additionally, the fumes from these chemicals can irritate your eyes, nose, and lungs, and can pose a serious hazard if inhaled in large quantities. Furthermore, the fumes from these cleaners can hang around for a while even after the cleaner has been completely used up and flushed away, increasing your exposure.
Damage to Pipes
The chemicals in liquid drain cleaners are highly corrosive, mainly to eliminate organic material. However, they can cause severe damage to your plumbing as well, especially after prolonged exposure, which can lead to leaks and breaks in the future, which can be costly to repair. Furthermore, the chemicals in these cleaners can eat away at the enamel and finish on surfaces in your bathroom if you accidentally spill the cleaner while in use, leaving unsightly blemishes that can ruin the aesthetic of your bathroom.
Beyond the damage that these chemicals can have on your plumbing and health, they are also bad for the planet. The liquid that is flushed through your plumbing will be cleansed by water filtration plants, but any residue in the bottles will end up in the garbage, where it can leak into the water supply and kill plant and animal life.
While liquid drain cleaners will eat away at blockages in your plumbing and help improve water flow, they will have trouble breaking through tough or complete blockages, such as tree roots or an almost complete blockage of a pipe. For the most effective pipe cleaning solutions, you should call a contractor who specializes in plumbing services, who will be able to identify the problem with your pipes and use specialized tools that are better suited for the job, ranging from simple drain snakes to more complex but comprehensive cleaners like hydro-jetting.