Many homeowners use chemicals such as Drano to clear their clogged toilets, but many reputed plumbers claim that Drano can do more harm than good.
If you’re one of the millions who use Drano to clear bathroom toilet clogs, clogged pipes, and even your septic tank, you need to stop using Drano for a toilet clog or clogged sink drain asap for several reasons.
Using chemical-based products for bathroom clogs or even your sewer isn’t a good idea, most notably because this household drainage cleaner can damage existing plumbing, cause septic tank damage, and is potentially dangerous for your skin, eyes, and lungs.
What is Drano?
Manufactured by S. C. Johnson & Son, Inc. – a leading American multinational manufacturer of household cleaning supplies. Drano, styled as Drāno is a household drainage cleaner that’s made from sodium hypochlorite (bleach) and other chemicals.
It is also formulated with other active ingredients such as polydimethylsiloxane, Sodium silicate, and Sodium hydroxide.
This chemical-based product offers a long list of products like Drano Max gel Clog Remover, Dual Force Foam Clog Remover, and Drano Liquid Drain Cleaner. It was first launched in 1923, and at that time was produced in crystallized form.
How Does Drano Work?
Drano’s entire family of products are designed to clear a clogged drain, toilet drains and jams in a sewer line and assist with other plumbing problems.
But it’s worth mentioning that even though chemical-based products are geared toward clearing pipes and drains, not all formulations are the same.
For example, Drano Dual-Force Foamer also contains hydrogen peroxide, which basically serves as a foaming agent that fills the drain pipe and PVC pipes and clears stubborn clogs.
Drano Liquid, with its harsh chemical formulation, creates reactions that dissolve organic matter like hair and soap scum.
Adding to this, Drano Liquid also contains water and other types of chemicals such as bleach, which work collectively to protect pipes from organic wastes and prevent foam from forming.
Drano Max Gel comes with an extra ingredient-a thickener that allows the product to cling to clogs and give the sodium hydroxide more time to break down the clogs in your bathroom sink, toilet bowl, and/or corroded pipes.
Sodium hydroxide, also known as lye is the main ingredient in most chemical-based products and is a substance that’s responsible for creating a strong reaction that decomposes most organic wastes including hair and grease.
Many, if not all Drano products also contain small shards of aluminum, which, when mixed with lye, creates a strong reaction that produces heat at near-boiling temperatures to accelerate the decomposition process.
But that’s not all, lye and the other caustic chemicals in Drano products react with tap water in your pipes and generate heat to soften the deposits lining your dirty plumbing pipes , plastic pipes, and any toilet blockage.
Lye then works overtime to react with the softened grease, resulting in soap that is dissolved by the water, and once again with the aluminum to form hydrogen bubbles.
The bubbles’ main job is to loosen the clogged particles, so that they can be easily carried down the drain by the hot water.
With a single slosh of Drano, you get intense heat, soap, bubbles, and fat and grease breakdown, which at times is too much for your drain to handle.
Why You Shouldn’t Use Drano?
Well, for many reasons but here are the four important ones.
1. Drano damages plumbing systems
Drano is a harsh chemical formula that is in most cases ineffective, and in worse cases, can damage your plumbing systems. First, this chemical reaction creates extreme heat, which is often much more than your drain can handle.
Next, this chemical-based unclogger can also cause corrosion in metal pipes, and easily break down your aging plumbing.
Adding to this, chemical-based products can also split pipes and deteriorate the glue holding them together, and sometimes dislodge silicone or plumbers putty around joints, leading to an expensive professional plumber’s bill.
When used in your toilet drain, Drano can also crack your toilet bowl, and can sit at the toilet trap even after a single use.
2. Drano can be harmful to you
Drano is one of the many chemical clog cleaners that can be harmful to your bare skin, eyes or mouth.
When in contact, Drano can cause rashes and even burns if left unattended. This is why it’s highly important to use gloves when working with any chemical-based product, and wash the area that’s come in contact with the product immediately.
Another great way to neutralize a skin burn caused by the alkaline chemicals found in Drano and many other household chemical cleaners is with old-fashioned vinegar.
After rinsing the area with water, simply apply two cups of vinegar. Vinegar works faster in roughly 10-15 minutes than water, and can potentially prevent more skin damage and pain caused by the harsh ingredients in Drano.
3. Septic tank damage
Even though adding Drano can kill bacteria in septic tanks, it can kill good naturally occurring bacteria as well.
These good bacteria aid in the decomposition process and help break down the sewage in the septic tank. When Drano kills these bacteria, large blockages can occur, resulting in more long-term issues.
4. Drano can react with other tools
Chemical-based products can splash up and burn your skin and eyes when using them with tools such as a toilet auger, toilet snake, or plunger.
Further, chemical-based products can stay in your toilet outlet or toilet inlet long after application, and even the smallest amount left behind can react with other chemical cleaners to create toxic fumes.
What are the Alternatives to Chemical-Based Products? How to Deal with Clogs Safely and Effectively?
Can you unclog sink clogs, shower drains, toilets and a clogged toilet yourself without pouring chemical drain cleaners such as Drano or Liquid Plumr, or any of the multitude of drain cleaning chemicals available?
The answer is yes, and the good news is that there are several to unclog a drain and clear toilet blockage of baby wipes and toilet paper buildup without using chemical-based products such as a toilet plunger, dish soap or baking soda and vinegar.
How to Unclog Drains and Toilets with Baking Soda and Vinegar?
You can use a mixture of baking soda and vinegar to clear minor clogs in porcelain toilet bowls, and drains.
- Make a mixture with equal parts of baking soda and vinegar, so for one cup baking soda, add 1 cup vinegar.
- Once you combine the two together, you will notice some fizzing, which will subside quickly, after which let the mixture rest for a few minutes.
- After pouring the baking soda and vinegar mixture into the toilet, pour a hot cup of water, and check of the clog is released.
- Lastly, flush the toilet once or twice to ensure everything is working properly.
How to Unclog a Kitchen Drain or Clogged Stubborn Toilet without Drano?
The most effective and cost-efficient way to fix a toilet stuffed with large quantities of toilet paper, paper towels, makeup wipes, wet wipes, heavy paper products including wet cardboard toilet paper rolls, is with a bell-shaped plunger or flange plunger.
You can also use a toilet snake to dislodge clogs in plumbing that cannot be loosened with a plunger.
To unclog your toilet or plumbing system with a bell shaped plunger, first thing to do is stop flushing the toilet, and locate and close the water supply.
- Submerge the plunger so that the top bell is covered with water, and make sure the rubber ring is inserted directly into the drain opening.
- Apply force, and downward push and pull the plunger continuously for 15 seconds. This is all the time it takes to clear a nasty clog.
- If the jam isn’t clear after using the plunger, another recommended tool to use is a toilet auger aka snake.
Toilet augers are regarded as one of the most sophisticated tools to unclog toilets in your bathroom and clogs in other drains, and are easy to use by simply pushing the end of the snake into the drain, and rotating the handle until you reach the clog.
How to Use Dishwashing Soap to Clear Jams in Toilet and Drain?
Liquid dishwashing soap is a great way to release any clogged material in bathrooms and kitchens. Squirt the dish soap into an empty drain, and then flush it down with boiling water, and voila, the accumulated grease is eliminated.
Professional plumbers never use chemical-based products to clean clogs, and you should forget using them too!
Chemical-based products contain caustic ingredients that can damage your plumbing systems and cause harm to you as well. Instead, use tools such as a toilet snake or plunger or call professional help to get the job done right.