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Can cleaning products be damaging your drainage system?

At some point almost all of us will experience a drain blockage of some degree, but how likely are you to call out a plumber as your first port of call? The chances are, you’re not. When signs of a blocked drain rear their ugly head, the likelihood is that you will pop to the shops and pick up a drain cleaner in the hopes that it does the job for you, quickly, efficiently and at a much more affordable cost than hiring help would!

But did you know that many chemical-based drain cleaners are incredibly toxic and actually have the potential to do real damage to your drains?

If not, you’re certainly not alone. Here at Total Pipes, we’re one of the most established retailers for plastic pipes in the North West, so we’ve seen our fair share of damaged drains over the years. The good news is that we know a thing or two about what it takes to safely and effectively unclog a blocked drain, so, if you’re guilty of relying on chemical drain cleaners, stick around as we shed light on the harmful effects they can have, and our top tips for alternative unblocking.

The truth about drain cleaners

Most households admit to reaching for familiar drain cleaning products in a bid to do away with any drain blockages that might occur, and we can hardly blame them! They’re advertised to clear drains quickly leaving them as good as new and are often cheap to buy. It seems like a no-brainer! However, the vast majority of chemical drain cleaners can strip away the materials in your drainage system, even causing more harm than the initial blockage itself.

But why?

There are dozens of different types of chemical drain cleaners on the market, but the main theme that connects them all is their use of strong toxic chemicals. The most common types of commercial drain cleaner include:

  • Caustic drain cleaners – containing free electrons which can dissolve grease and clear away solids more easily. They also generate heat in the process, which can cause detrimental damage to the drains.
  • Oxidizing drain cleaners – these are your bleaches, nitrates and peroxides, which work to remove electrons from clogged debris (oxidation). These too generate heat and add pressure to clogged drainage systems.
  • Acidic drain cleaners – less likely to be picked up from your local corner shop, but still on the shelves in certain supermarkets, acidic drain cleaners are used more often by professional plumbers. These utilise powerful acids to melt away the debris that is clogging up the drains. As you might imagine, on certain types of drainage systems, acidic products like this can cause serious damage.

Of course, there are certain exceptions when using chemical-based drainage cleaners, but for the most part, these toxic products can cause lasting pipe damage that, in the end, can often result in much costlier fixes.

Older houses with a dated drainage system, which still uses copper piping can suffer seriously from a chemical cleaner which generates heat. Whilst other cleaners can actually melt away pipes over time if used regularly. And modern drainage pipes aren’t an exception either, with warping being a major possibility through excessive heat generated from the chemicals in these products.

And let’s not even get started on the harmful impact these toxins have on the environment!

How can you unclog your drainpipes without using a chemical drain cleaner?

Okay, so the big question on everyone’s lips is, what’s the alternative then? We appreciate the convenience of these types of cleaning products is the main reason why so many of us reach for them. But- once you know how- checking your drains manually for a blockage can be just as quick and is much safer.

Using a plumber’s snake, you can rod out your drains to look for any obvious blockages such as hair or food. You can then proceed to take the drain apart using basic tools and give it a thorough cleaning with simple soap and water. If you don’t feel confident doing this, you could also try a more natural treatment such as a combination of baking soda and white vinegar to clear the drains up, followed by some hot water to wash it through.

Of course, you can also call out for a professional to come and look at your drainage network. This may be a little more costly, but in the long run, can save you huge amounts of stress and money later down the line.

Replace damaged drains with Total Pipes

If you are a dab hand and want to replace a damaged aspect of your drainage system, here at Total Pipes – we’ve got you covered! We appreciate not everyone is comfortable doing their own plumbing, and it is certainly not advisable if you’re not confident in your abilities! However, we stock every plastic pipe solution you could need to replace a damaged drainage system, and we’re the North West’s go-to both for the professionals in the trade and keen DIYers.

So, if you suspect its time to replace some or all of your drainage system, contact our team today or browse online to find the part you need! We offer a same-day service for almost all of our products, so whether it’s a routine fix or an urgent part you need, we can help.