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Over the Counter Cleaners, a Drain Friend or Foe?

We all tend to reach for them if the kitchen sink isn’t draining well or when the toilet suffers a severe clog, but using over-the-counter drain cleaners can actually harm your drains and pipes over time. In this blog, we will explore the reasons and ways drain cleaners cause long-term damage to your drains and pipes, provide alternate temporary solutions and discuss when it’s time to call in the skilled Norfolk plumbers at Performance Plumbing, Inc.

How Chemicals in Drain Cleaners Harm Drains and Pipes

Before we discuss how drain cleaners harm your drains and pipes, it is important to understand how they work to unclog your drains. Kitchen sink clogs are normally caused by a combination of material, such as bits of food, grease, fat or oil that make it past your garbage disposal. Over time, these items build up in your pipes, to the point where they create a clog that prevents proper drainage and backs up your sink. Clogs in your bathroom can consist of toilet paper and human waste in the toilet or hair and soap residue in the shower. Whether in the bathroom or kitchen, clogs tend to occur deep in the pipes and away from the drain opening.

Drain cleaners use a variety of chemicals to break down the clogs and make it easier for the material to pass through the pipe. Damage to the pipes can occur in the way drain cleaners break down the substances of a clog, and this is normally accomplished by a chemical reaction, which gives off heat. This heat can soften polyvinyl chloride (PVC) pipes, and it can also degrade metal pipes, especially older metal pipes.

In addition to damaging pipes, chemical drain cleaners can also damage your fixtures, like your actual sink basin, toilet or tub. They also stain clothing, can damage your skin and release strong fumes. Lastly, if used long term, the chemicals in drain cleaners can damage your septic system by killing off good bacteria.

Drain Cleaner Alternatives That Don’t Ruin Your Drains and Pipes

There are a few alternate options when it comes to clearing clogs in your drains. There are plenty of homemade remedies that include natural substances such as vinegar and baking soda that help clear slow drains. For larger clogs, a plumber’s auger or drain snake, can help reach the clog and break it down or completely remove it.

If you are clearing clogs in your home, consider using a natural mixture or snake device before opting for over-the-counter drain cleaners. In the end, the alternative remedies can help preserve your pipes and save you money on repiping and drain replacement. Prevention is also helpful. Using a strainer or plug in the kitchen sink to catch large food particles and other items that should not go down the drain can help reduce your need for drain clogging remedies. In the bathroom, a hair catcher can trap troublesome strands of hair before they form a clog deep in your pipes, and being conscious of what you flush down the toilet can also keep clogs at bay.

Save Your Drains and Call Your Trusted Virginia Beach Plumbers

If you are clearing clogs multiple times a week, it’s time to call Performance Plumbing, Inc. at (757) 300-0212 for service. The issue with your drain could be much larger than a single clog, and our technicians have more than 18 years of experience providing plumbing services to the residents of Virginia Beach, Chesapeake and Hampton. Whether you need a full system drain flush or repair for a sewer backup, our experienced and courteous team is available for same-day service and even emergency service 24/7. Call us today to schedule your appointment!