What chemicals are used to unblock drains

Sep 26, 2022 | Drain Clearing, Frequently Asked Questions

Choosing the correct type of drain cleaner can be more tricky than you may think. There are many options to choose from, both on the internet and in-store. Many brands claim to be the best when it comes to offering a solution to clearing your drain. So, what chemicals are used to unblock drains?

What Chemicals are used to unblock drains:

To begin with, there are two common types of drain cleaners; enzymatic and chemical. Most people make use of chemical drain cleaners. The ingredients include caustic soda, also called sodium hydroxide, as well as sulfuric acid. Those are corrosive materials that will dissolve the debris that blocks your drain. However, be wary of corroding your metal pipes that can cause damage to your skin. It is advisable that you only utilize them on a slow drain, but not on a completely blocked drain. The latter causes the chemicals to remain on the pipe for longer than it should.

Other chemicals that are used to unblock drains

Other common chemicals used to unclog sinks are Drano and hydrochloric acid. Chemical drain cleaners are highly effective at unclogging even the toughest blocked drains. They come in various forms, such as gel, powder, or liquid, so select one is most relevant to your situation.

All chemical reactions are just moving electrons, and drain cleaners either give or take electrons to the clogging materials, producing heat in the process.

There are three primary types of drain cleaners:

  • Caustic drain cleaners are made up of substances like lye and caustic potash. Those are bases, they give electrons to the blockage, and their hydroxide ions generate the reaction that unblocks the clog. Their alkaline chemicals produce heat and transform the grease into a soap-like substance that can dissolve more easily. These drain cleaners are generally stronger than water, which allows them to unblock the clog through standing water.
  • Oxidizing drain cleaners contain substances, like household bleach, peroxides, and nitrates. These chemicals make the organic material of the clog lose electrons and become oxidized. If you have a clogged toilet, you need to use an electronic toilet auger to break up the blockage.
  • Many people find it difficult to clean drains or remove blockage from their pipes using ordinary drain cleaner, and that’s why making use of plumbing services can be more effective. The typical ingredients of an effective drain cleaner include high concentrations of sulfuric or hydrochloric acids, substances that increase the number of hydrogen ions in a solution, and substances that attract electrons. Hydronium ions react chemically with the material in the clog, and the reaction releases heat, which melts congealed grease.

How does it work?

Because heat is generated during the processing of some of these products, they may soften the PVC, or polyvinyl chloride, in pipes found in most homes today. Drain cleaner is a hazardous material, so keep it away from children, pets, and plants. If you use it properly, drain cleaner will not cause any harm.

Keep in mind that aside from their useful benefits, there are disadvantages to using chemical drain cleaners. They are extremely toxic if consumed, and they can cause burning eyes, irritation of the skin and mucous membranes, and dissolve clothing material. They can release poisonous fumes, and if used incorrectly, they can cause explosions. Drain cleaning products can also cause harm to septic systems by killing off useful bacteria, and they can damage bathroom and kitchen fixtures.

If you make use of chemical drain cleaners, study the directions properly and heed all safety warnings. Only use the chemicals in a well-ventilated area and wear rubber gloves. Never combine different drain cleaners, and don’t use them in conjunction with plungers.

It is advised that you wait at least 15 minutes after pouring the chemical into the drain before flushing them with hot water. If your drain is still blocked afterward, you may need to repeat the process.

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