Can chemical drain cleaners Damage your pipes?

Home drain cleaners like Draino and Liquid Plumbr are great options for cleaning out organic drain clogs. The products work by chemically corroding and dissolving the built up organic matter. After pouring the liquid down your clogged drain, wait a designated amount of time, then rinse thoroughly, the clog should be dissolved. But if those chemicals do away with organic material in such a short time, what is it doing to your plumbing? Lets see what kind of damage chemical drain relief can cause especially with improper use.

1) Corrode pipes

These harsh chemicals are not good to use frequently on your metal pipes. They can corrode the inside of your pipes which will lead to cracks in piping. The negative effects of liquid chemicals are intensified with prolonged use.

2) Melt pipes

Just because you don’t have metal pipes doesn’t mean that you are safe. The chemicals will react with organic materials and create gasses that have the potential to melt plastic pipes.

3) Safety hazard

The chemicals in these drain agents are toxic to the body if ingested. Same goes for the skin; it will corrode and burn skin. Chemical drain cleaner is dangerous to children and animals, so it must be used with the utmost care.

4) Environmental risks

All the water that runs through our house, in one way or another ends up in our waterways or onto the ground. So, when corrosive materials are flushed through the pipes it can damage the environment it resides in. For example, corrosive material on the ground will kill any life in that area and have effects for potentially years. The same can be said for aquatic life, even small amounts of corrosive material can have disastrous impacts on marine life.


The first solution is obvious prevention. Your best bet to avoid the use of chemicals is to prevent clogs. Invest in fixtures on your sinks and showers to catch debris before it makes its way down the drain. This can prevent his clogs especially. However some things cannot be caught like soap scum, oils and grease. There are limited ways to prevent these materials from building up (though buildup takes much longer). In that case, look into enzyme cleaners like Bio Clean. Bio Clean uses bacteria and enzymes to break down organic materials. Homemade drain cleaners can be useful as well. A mix includes vinegar, baking soda, and boiling water can clear out blocks. If none of the less abrasive techniques work, it is time to call a plumber. Calling a plumber ensures the job is done correctly, and doesnt balloon into a plumbing emergency.
In conclusion, while chemicals like Draino, and Liquid Plumbr may work, they can cause more harm than good. They are bad for metal pipes, leading to corrosion. They are also bad for PVC pipes as chemical reactions within the pipe create PVC melting gases. And finally the safety and environmental aspects of the chemicals are less than ideal. THere are alternatives and if you are unsure, calling a plumber is always a good idea.