When you have a clogged drain, Drano can seem like a quick and easy solution. Although it’s tempting to simply follow the directions on the bottle and let the chemical compounds clear your pipes, you may end up doing more harm than good. Liquid plumbing solutions often come with high risk for you, your home, and the environment. Read on to find out the top five reasons that plumbers advise against Drano.
Why Drano is Dangerous
Understanding the dangers of Drano begins with insight into what it is and how it works. Drano is an intense combination of chemicals designed to break down and decompose organic matter that is blocking your pipes. As a special blend of sodium hypochlorite (bleach), sodium hydroxide, sodium chloride, sodium nitrate, and aluminum, it creates heat to break down the clog until it can no longer hold to the pipes’ sides.
Unfortunately, this hard-hitting chemical combo also has the potential to damage anything it comes into contact with, including your body, your pipes, and your septic system.
The Top 5 Reasons Not to Use Drano
- Drano can Damage your Lungs, Skin and Eyes
The toxic chemicals in Drano are a risk to respiratory and dermal health. Since it relies on a chemical reaction to serve its function, it also produces potent and toxic fumes. The fumes released from Drano can cause irritation in the respiratory pathways, and if it’s inhaled in large amounts, these toxic gasses have the potential to enter the bloodstream. This is especially important for children, pets, or anyone with a respiratory condition. Also, with chemical compounds powerful enough to break down organic materials, Drano can cause severe damage if it comes into contact with your skin and eyes.
- Drano is Bad for Your Pipes
Most plumbers will advise you not to use Drano to unclog your drains. This is because the chemical compounds are hard on your pipes, causing corrosion and other long-term damages.
Drano is designed to continually react and generate heat within your drain until the clog dissolves. Over time, the continued use of Drano can cause your pipes to crack and fail. It’s also been known to eat away at the adhesive that joins pipes together. Plastic and older pipes are even more susceptible to damage.
- Drano Can Damage your Toilet and Septic System
Anything that goes into a toilet bowl will end up sitting there for a while, especially if there is clog and a problem with drainage. The chemicals in Drano will continue to generate heat inside your porcelain toilet bowl and may cause it to crack. On top of this, Drano can cause long term damage to your septic system because it breaks down all bacteria – including the “good” bacteria that help with the breakdown and decomposition of sewage. Without ample “good” bacteria, you could end up with larger blockages in your septic system down the road.
- Drano is Only a Short-Term Solution
For one time use, Drano may serve as a simple solution and you might be able to mitigate the risk; however, if the problem persists, there is likely a bigger underlying problem. The damages of Drano are cumulative. The more you use it, the higher the potential for harm. If you are noticing clogs in the same area over and over again, the best thing to do is call your local plumber to assess the situation and find a long-term solution.
- Drano is Bad for the Environment
Chemical solutions like Drano are bad for the environment, and have complex long term side effects for surrounding waters and wildlife. Liquid plumbing solutions cause aquatic toxicity and destruction of bacteria, as well as changing the PH levels in nearby waters. This can cause tissue damage to nearby wildlife, and in some cases death if the toxins are ingested before dilution.
Say No to Drano – Create a Natural Alternative
Now that you’re privy to the dangers of Drano, how can you clear your clogged pipes? Many drain blockages can be resolved with baking soda, vinegar, and hot water. If you have plastic pipes, don’t use boiling water. Start by pouring a combination of baking soda vinegar into your drain. Once it begins to bubble, cover the area and leave it for about 15 minutes. After 15 minutes or when the bubbling subsides, flush the drain with hot or boiling water.