Wednesday, August 26th, 2015

Do Liquid Drain Cleaners Really Work?

I love those “As Seen on TV” commercials – seemingly, a year’s worth of hair/toothpaste/soap scummy drain buildup can be blasted out in minutes with a good dose of some mystery liquid known as a “liquid plumber.” Seems legit, right?

According to, “Liquid drain cleaners …will at best mask the problem and, at worst, do nothing. A good analogy is someone who uses mouthwash but never brushes their teeth.”

Drain Cleaners are Potential Problem-Causers, not Problem-Solvers
Liquid drain cleaners rely upon proper creation of a chemical reactions between three main ingredients: water, sodium hydroxide (i.e., lye) and sodium hypochlorite (i.e., bleach). The lye and the clogged-drain-water combine to create a heat reaction, which allegedly blasts out the clog. The bleach aids to break down any hair in the drain. If the clog is too dense, the cleaner can fail. The longer the cleaner rests in your pipes, it may start to attack the pipes themselves, creating leaks. Additionally, lye and bleach must be handled with care. If the chemicals are inhaled or come into contact with skin, respiratory damage or burns may occur.

NOTE: Should you contact a plumber after a liquid drain cleaner failure (by that, we mean that your drain is now a combination of standing clog + drain cleaner), you must advise the plumber of the chemical recipe in the sink so he/she can take proper precautions

When NOT to Use Liquid Drain Cleaners
• Never use liquid drain cleaning products on toilet clogs. The chemical heat reaction may cause the toilet to crack or explode. We don’t even want to go there in this blog. Let’s just say – snakes and plungers are for toilets. Avoid chemical approaches at all costs.

• Never use liquid drain cleaner on “non-moving-water” clogs. If your sink drain is at a standstill, call a plumber. See “Guidance on Using Liquid Drain Cleaners” section below.

Guidance on Using Liquid Drain Cleaners
We understand TV drain cleaners look like a dream come true. If you go that route, make sure your clog is a “moving water” clog – the water drains eventually, just very slowly. In order to break the clog, the drain cleaner has to reach the clog. In a non-moving-water situation, the drain cleaner remains in your sink basin, creating a dangerous situation. Also, only use drain cleaners on drains made of ABS (plastic, not copper).

Water You Waiting For? If liquid drain cleaners truly worked, there would be a lot fewer plumbers around. When you need a clog busted, fast, the trained professionals at Allied Reddi-Rooter can help. Call Ray today for a free estimate: 513-396-5300. And, as always, visit our money-saving coupons page for an even better price.