Chemical Free Drain Cleaning

drain_cta_revToday’s Soap Box is on liquid drain cleaners. If you’re unsure what I mean, I’m referring to products like LiquidPlumbr ™ and Drano ™.

One of my technicians suffered chemical burns as a direct result of cleaning a drain after a liquid product failed to clear a line. The homeowner also failed to tell us that they had treated the line with the “drain cleaning” product. Those are air quotes, because it didn’t end up cleaning anything.

The Drano ™ website states the following precautions:

Open carefully. Do not squeeze bottle. Avoid splashing. Clean up spills at once. Keep hands, face, and children away from drains while using Drano® Max Gel Clog Remover. Never use a plunger during or after use of Drano® Max Gel Clog Remover because Drano® Max Gel Clog Remover may still be present if drain did not clear…

Read product label for additional information and precautions. Source: http://www.drano.com/standing-water

The bolded text above, is my emphasis — plunging, or otherwise trying to get through the line, may cause a splash into your eyes or on skin, and, the precautions warn against this.

Safer things you can do to unclog your drain:

PREVENTION:

1. Use a screen (and an additional screen if needed) to stop items from going down the drain. This is true for showers, tubs, sinks and kitchen sinks. Take the captured items and dispose of them in the trash.

2. Soap scum can develop in the lines. These are greasy substances and can be found in laundry lines as well as sinks and tubs or showers. To remove this greasy substance, use VINEGAR. Straight, undiluted vinegar can help keep the lines from building up too much soap scum. You can run a load of hot water and vinegar in your washing machine to help clear lines. This is not a drain cleaning solution, but rather preventative care.

ONCE YOU HAVE A CLOG:

  • Shower: remove the screen and see if there is hair attached to it- this is the most common problem. Remove the hair and throw it in the trash. If this is not the cause, the clog may be further down the line and you should call a professional. Traps under showers can cost a lot to replace and you don’t want to damage them by using corrosive materials or the wrong equipment.
  • Toilet: purchase a plunger and use it. It is a homeowner necessity. Most toilet clogs can be cleared this way. If this is a recurring problem, see my blog on Bad Toilet Paper. If a toy or other non-waste item falls into the toilet, you may call a professional as the toilet may need to be removed to retrieve the item. Do this before you need sewer cleaning.
  • Sink: pull up the stopper and check for a clump of hair or other debris, remove it and discard it in the trash. If this isn’t the problem, the clog could be further down the line. You may call a professional, or remove the p-trap under the sink and use a flashlight to see if you can locate a clog in the pipe. You may be able to use your hand or a snagging type tool (found at hardware stores) to grab and remove the blockage.
Here’s a video if you’d like a visual of what I’m recommending for small lines.
As always, if you have questions, please don’t hesitate to ask! AskPlumbingGirl@hotmail.com
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