Are Liquid Drain Cleaners Bad?

You’ve probably used liquid drain cleaners before, but at Terry’s Plumbing, we encourage our customers to consider alternatives products. Among other things, liquid drain cleaners are bad for the environment, bad for your body and bad for your pocketbook. It’s important to understand all the ways in which liquid drain cleaners can be a problem for you and your family.

Environmental Hazards

Liquid drain cleaners are known to have hazardous effects on water supplies and can even contribute to air contamination. The more these products are used, the worse the pollution becomes. Inhaling fumes from liquid drain cleaners can cause illness or toxicity, and can reduce your home’s indoor air quality.

Limited Usefulness

Drain cleaners only work for certain types of clogs. If the clog is made up of organic material like hair and food, drain cleaner usually works fairly well. If the clog is a result of something more complicated like a sewer clog, drain cleaner is unlikely to help.  

Bad for Pipes

Because it’s corrosive, liquid drain cleaner is bad for pipes made from galvanized steel and cast iron. Liquid drain cleaner is less of a problem when used in pipes that are made from PVC.


Some pipes clog a lot, so buying drain cleaner repeatedly can get expensive. Although buying in bulk can make drain cleaner more affordable, drain cleaner is still more expensive than many other drain cleaning options.

Hazardous to Children and Pets

If you have children and pets in your home, caution should be used with chemical drain cleaners. Drain cleaners must be kept up and away from children to ensure that they will not drink or touch the chemical. If you do keep drain cleaner on hand, we recommend storing it in a cabinet that your children and pets cannot access.

Know The Alternatives

Fortunately, there are many alternatives to liquid drain cleaner. Some of our favorite options include:

  • Plumber’s auger: A plumber’s auger is similar to a drain snake. However, augers are manually controlled and cannot go as far down into the pipes as a drain snake. Augers cost around $30 and can be purchased at any hardware store or home improvement center.
  • Vinegar and hot water: Vinegar helps to clear slow drains and keep them flowing smoothly. To use vinegar, pour it down your slow drains and leave it sitting in the drain for several hours, then flush the vinegar out with hot water.
  • Plumber: If your home’s drains become completely clogged, and the plumber’s auger won’t take care of the problem, call a licensed plumber. Your plumber can use non-toxic, non-hazardous tools to clear clogs from your drain and keep your drain flowing smoothly.

Contact Terry’s Plumbing

At Terry’s Plumbing, we use all the best tools and employ all the best professionals to clear drains, repair leaking pipes and install plumbing fixtures in homes all across Pittsburgh. To make an appointment for plumbing repair or installation, contact us today at (412) 364-9114.