What Are The Main Types Of Chemical Drain Cleaner?

English: Drain cleaner as sold in the hardware...
. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Keeping your drains clear will have direct impact on the efficiency of your sink. Every so often, you’ll come into contact with a blockage. You need to clear this as soon as possible, but you also need to make sure the blockage doesn’t quickly return a few weeks later.

Use the correct drain cleaner. We go through some of the main types of drain cleaner available for residential use.

Alkaline Cleaner

An alkaline drain cleaner is the main one you’ll find in your supermarket. It’s the best cleaner for convenience because you can pour it from the bottle into the drain. You don’t need to dilute the formula.

There are three types of active ingredient with this type of cleaner. There’s copper sulfide, sodium hydroxide, and sodium hypochloride.

Despite its widespread availability, it’s rarely an ideal cleaner. It will only get rid of the most superficial blockages, such as those caused by grease and hair. With anything else, the alkaline formula isn’t strong enough to remove the blockage, and it might just add to the problem.

sulfuric acid molecule
sulfuric acid molecule (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Acidic Cleaner

An acidic chemical cleaner is a more powerful version of alkaline. It comes with more safety precautions and requires a lot of attention to detail. Use too much, or use the wrong type of cleaner, and it can damage the plumbing system itself. They typically contain hydrochloric acid and sulfuric acid.

Hydrochloric acid damages both porcelain and metal. Sulfuric acid will only damage metal, but it can still affect stainless steel and aluminum. Due to these safety concerns, leave these cleaners for professional use. It’s what plumbers typically use to get rid of particularly large blockages.

Keep away from children. Chemical burns from acidic cleaners are common.

Enzyme Drain Cleaners

Enzyme cleaners are relatively new and have been praised for their environmentally friendly stance. They’re a method of caring for your plumbing system without damaging it. Use them as a preventative way of getting rid of a clot.

While they can work for removing a clogged drain, they work slowly. Most blockages will take 24 hours to disappear, which is why it’s best to use it before you start to experience a buildup of material in your pipes.

Copper Root Repellent

Primary and secondary roots in a cotton plant
Primary and secondary roots (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Copper root repellent has been used to eliminate plant roots from getting too close to your plumbing. Copper actively repels roots. In previous years, plumbers used to wrap pipes in strands of copper wire for this purpose. Now you can do it yourself with some repellent.

If you have a tree in your backyard, pour some of this down your drain and you’ll keep the roots away. You’ll have to treat your pipes a minimum of twice a year to get the best results.

Each brand differs radically, so expect to get different results from different brands.

Before choosing your cleaner, talk to a qualified plumber first. They’ll be able to inspect your pipework and determine what’s safe to use and what isn’t. With the variation in plumbing systems these days, this is crucial.

Chase Cullen, the author, is a software engineer and a wonderful writer. He enjoys blogging on a wide variety of topics in his spare time. He suggests his readers to hire drain cleaning services every fortnight to keep their house clean and pest free.

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