Is Drain Cleaner Bad for Your Pipes? Everything You Need to Know

If you’ve ever experienced a clogged drain, you know how frustrating it can be. Fortunately, many products are available to help you clear the blockage, including drain cleaners. But are these products safe to use? In this article, we will discuss whether drain cleaners are bad for pipes and what alternatives are available.

Clogged Drains

Clogged drains are a common household problem. There are many reasons why your drain can become clogged, including hair, food scraps, soap residue, and more. These are often called F.O.G. (fats, oils, and grease). When you have a clogged drain, the first thing you might think of is using a drain cleaner to fix the problem. But before you do, it’s essential to understand the potential risks and benefits of using drain cleaners.

How do Drain Cleaners Work?

Drain cleaners are products designed to break down the materials causing a clog in your drain. They work by using chemicals to dissolve the blockage, allowing it to move through the pipe and out of your home. There are two main types of drain cleaners: acidic and caustic.

Acidic drain cleaners use acids like sulfuric acid and hydrochloric acid to break down the clog. These products are most effective on clogs made of organic materials like hair and soap. However, they can be dangerous to handle and can cause damage to your pipes if not used correctly.

Caustic drain cleaners, on the other hand, use alkaline substances like lye and sodium hydroxide to dissolve the clog. These products are more effective on clogs made of grease and oil but can also cause damage to your pipes and are hazardous to handle.

Are Drain Cleaners Bad for Pipes?

The short answer is yes, drain cleaners can be bad for pipes. While they may help to clear a clog, they can also cause damage to your plumbing system. The chemicals used in drain cleaners can eat away at your pipes, causing them to weaken and eventually break. Additionally, if the clog is not entirely cleared, the chemicals can sit in your pipes and continue to eat away at the material, leading to further damage and becoming a hazard for any professional drain cleaner that would need to be called to open the clogged pipes.

Over time, the repeated use of drain cleaners can also cause corrosion and other forms of damage to your pipes, leading to leaks and other costly repairs. If you have an older home with older pipes, using drain cleaners can be especially problematic.


Alternatives to Drain Cleaners

Fortunately, there are many alternatives to using drain cleaners that are safer for your pipes and your health. Here are a few options to consider:


For minor clogs, a plunger can be an effective tool for clearing the blockage. It’s good practice to always keep a plunger on hand in case of emergencies and small issues. Remember to use the correct type of plunger for the job at hand in order to be most effective.

Drain Snakes

A drain snake is a long, flexible tool that can be inserted into your drain to break up and remove the clog. Using a drain snake requires skill and proper training to use to avoid damage to property and injury. While they can be found in most hardware stores or local shops, the type of drain snakes found there will only be useful on smaller clogs, and their ability to be effective will be determined by how well-trained the person operating them is. Depending on the clog, the time and cost to acquire the tools, and the risk of injury or damaging property attempting to unclog the drain might not be the best return on investment as compared to hiring a professional.

Homemade Drain Cleaners

You can make your drain cleaner using ingredients like baking soda, vinegar, and hot water. There is tons of information online and multiple methods on how to make homemade drain cleaner. But this can be extremely dangerous if you don’t know what you’re doing. Some chemicals when mixed improperly can produce deadly gases and kill you instantly. Due to this risk, this is NOT a recommended approach. If you decide to go this route, you are encouraged to exercise caution.

Professional Drain Cleaning

If you have a severe clog or are uncomfortable handling the problem, you can hire a professional plumber to clean your drain. When in doubt, this is often the safest, cost effective, and most reliable way to go.

The Bottom line

While drain cleaners may seem like a quick fix for a clogged drain, they can actually cause more harm than good. The chemicals used in these products can damage your pipes and lead to costly repairs over time. When considering the alternatives, it is best to be safe rather than sorry.


Can drain cleaners damage my septic system?

Yes, the chemicals in drain cleaners can harm your septic system and should be avoided.

How often can I use a plunger to clear a clog?

You can use a plunger as often as needed, but if the problem persists, it’s best to try another method.

Are homemade drain cleaners effective?

These are rarely effective even on minor clogs and potentially dangerous and lethal if you don’t understand chemistry. We would not recommend it due to these risks.

Can I use drain cleaners on all types of pipes?

No, some pipes are more sensitive to the chemicals in drain cleaners and can be damaged more easily. Check with a professional drain cleaner to see if your pipes are safe to use with drain cleaners.

How can I prevent clogged drains in the first place?

Some ways to prevent clogged drains include using drain covers, avoiding pouring grease down the drain, and regularly cleaning your drains with our BioPro SRS, specially formulated to naturally and safely digest F.O.G (fats, oils, and grease)

Share this post

Are you experiencing a clogged drain, backed up sewer or problems with your septic system? Rapid Flush of Michigan is here to help. With over 80yrs. in business, our expert sewer, drain and septic professionals can solve any problem big or small. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and get your plumbing working again. Don’t let a small problem turn into a costly disaster – call Rapid Flush now!