Safety Tips for Using Chemicals To Unclog Drains

When soft obstructions accumulate inside of a drain, it’s common for homeowners to reach for a chemical drain cleaner to solve the issue. Chemical drain cleaners are sold on the market for consumers to unclog sewer pipes or water waste drains without the assistance of a professional. The most effective chemicals to dislodge pipes contain acid or lye. Homeowners often prefer to pour a chemical down their drain and then undergo the manual process of snaking through it. Whether you choose a sodium hydroxide cleaner like Drano or an intense class of chemicals, it’s important to know how to utilize these clog-eating chemicals safely. Explore these safety tips for using chemicals to unclog drains.

Read the Label

The properties of different chemical drain cleaners vary, so it’s important to carefully read the packaging before opening it. The labels contain instructions and hazard warnings that people can overlook if they assume hydrochloric acid is the same as sulfuric acid.

Wear Safety Gear

Whenever you’re handling chemicals, it’s safest to gear up with personal protective equipment. Every drain cleaner is caustic, meaning it has chemical properties that damage organic tissue like skin, eyes, and mucus membranes. Be sure to wear goggles, gloves, and a respiratory application to protect yourself during the unclogging process.

Prevent Splash Back

When you pour liquid chemicals down a unit containing water, you’re at risk of the chemicals splashing up and burning your skin. The best way to prevent splashing is careful pouring and removing a level of existing water from the clogged fixture if possible. The risk of splashing caustic liquids is also a major reason to protect exposed skin and eyes.

Ventilate Your Space

The safety risks of using drain-clearing chemicals aren’t limited to the person using them. Be sure your windows and openings are allowing fresh air to ventilate through your home to avoid the risk of inhaling chemical fumes.

While chemicals are a convenient method for unclogging drains, it’s important to assess if the health risks are worth saving time and labor over. It’s recommended to use chemicals as a last resort for clearing pipes, and it’s safest to consult a technician for any plumbing jobs that require advanced chemicals.

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