It’s shockingly common now.
Even supermarkets are selling off-the- shelf drain cleaners. These seem great. They’re cheap, cheerful, and have bright packaging. Many promise to be
environmentally sustainable. Some guarantee effectiveness. Most advertise themselves quite well indeed. There’s one big problem. It’s a con. You read that correctly: chemical drain cleaners are a massive lie. Not only do they not clean your drain, you’re dumping toxic chemicals through your system that may actually lead to future worse blockages. There’s one exception to this rule, of course, that we’ll cover here, but yes. Chemical drain cleaner: the biggest con in plumbing?
How chemical drain cleaners “work”.
A chemical drain cleaner “works” by breaking down waste or other matter inside your pipe system through a chemical reaction. More often than not, caustic chemicals are a feature of drain cleaning chemical systems. Caustic soda, by itself, is a great way to clear out a blockage, especially when mixed with vinegar. However, the harsher causticity of many manufactured drain cleaners means you’re running the risk of permanent damage to the pipe ecosystem. Because caustic chemicals kill a large amount of bacteria in the process of breaking down the waste, your system is going to end up blocking more often, and more severely.
Your pipe ecosystem
What do we mean by that?
There’s a huge community of microbes that live inside the sewer system. This is fine; there is very little reason you would ever come into contact with any of these microbes. And, they work for you. Many of the bacteria colonies inside your sewer are responsible for the breakdown of organic matter. As it is flushed through the system, the enzymes applied by various microbes ensure that waste is effectively reduced to the smallest form, the majority converted into gas of some kind or another.
This in turn means that your drain remains clear. Where a blockage develops, there might be an imbalance in the microbial colonies, or there might be something kill them off, such as wet wipes. Anything that affects the delicate balance of the pipe ecosystem is going to be likely to impact the possibility of blockages. In short, by reducing the numbers of the microbes who break down your waste through applying caustic chemicals, you’re clearing one blockage but laying the groundwork for a future problem. This isn’t even to mention the next issue: grey water.
Your water isn’t just yours.
The sewer system, and water more generally, links from house to house, across your street, suburb, city. This means that anything you’re doing in your own home that’s having a negative impact on the health of the water or the drains can actually cause problems further down the line. Caustic drain cleaner can be a great way to lead to a blockage in a sewer main: a real nightmare for all involved. The mains, connecting properties to the central wastewater disposal system, need to be kept clear for efficient running. Blockages such as fatbergs can be caused not only by wet wipes, but also by other antibacterial agents preventing the proper breakdown of material.
Furthermore, the river systems and creeks around Sydney are all dependent on clean water from run offs. Caustic chemicals etc that entire natural systems wreak havoc. From the microbes up, the entire food chain is disrupted, leading to pollution and death of fauna and flora, up and up until you reach the iconic Australian birds and mammals. If you want to look a bit closer to home, think of your own garden. Caustic run off may reach your
garden; and your plants are not going to approve. This is called “grey water”: the waste water that’s not dirty enough to require a sewer, but not clean enough for consumption. This is the water from baths and showers, and your sinks. These are places people often apply drain cleaners; with terrible effects.
Grey water run off or sullage is also key to water recycling projects, which are rendered impossible if the water is contaminated with these chemicals. As such, think carefully about using drain cleaner; both for the sake of your pipes, and for the wider community.
Your water isn’t just yours.
There is one big exception to our despising of drain cleaners. Enzyme based cleaning products, such as BioClean, are a great step forward in innovative
technology, making it possible to have all the benefits of a drain cleaning chemical (quick, easy to apply, effective) without the downsides.
This is because enzyme based cleaners mimic, or actualise, the same work as the microbial systems of cleaning. That is to say, the enzymes break down material of waste matter in the same way microbial colonies and bacteria do. This means you’re not risking the health of your drains in the same way; you’re actually supporting the work of the microbes, rather than fighting against them.
This is good news. Keeping your pipes free of blockages is one thing, but doing it in such a way that it’s not going to produce future problems is a step up altogether. In this way you can ensure you’re getting the best quality drain cleaning with home drain cleaner without having to risk the ongoing health of your drains.
Your water isn’t just yours.
We recommend calling our team before you attempt a home drain clean with drain cleaner. Identifying the root cause of a drain problem is important; this also must be done prior to the working out of a good solution. Which is great news. Because, as we’re available 24/7, 365 days of the year, we can give you a helping hand finding the best economical solution to your problem, any time you need.
So don’t wait: call the blocked drain experts© today. Called Blocked Drains to the Rescue! With over 30 years of experience unblocking every kind of drain, we’re your trusted team. Don’t hesitate. Call the experts who know drains. We’re always nearby, and we’re always ready to rescue you!