No matter how hard you try to avoid it, chances are you will encounter a clogged drain at some point in your life. When a drain clogs, many people’s first instinct is to grab the Drano, but there are many safer, healthier Drano alternatives that you should consider first. Drano is effective as an occasional solution, but it can have harmful side effects on both your septic system and your health. Keep reading to learn some of the reasons to avoid Drano and some of our favorite Drano alternatives.
Why You Should Avoid Drano
Drano seems like a bit of a cure-all for clogs, but it is not as perfect as it looks. If you don’t use this product correctly or use it too often, you may find that it does more harm than good. There are three primary reasons for avoiding Drano.
Chemicals are Hard on Plumbing
While the chemicals in Drano can be incredibly effective in removing clogs, they also tend to be corrosive and can end up causing damage to your plumbing. Additionally, when used in toilets, Drano can end up sitting in the bowl for a while and may seep into the porcelain causing cracks or even explosions, in the most extreme cases. Occasional use is okay, but repeated use can lead to much deeper problems than a clog.
It Can Harm Your Health
The purpose of Drano is to dissolve organic materials that cause clogs in your drains, so it has the potential to cause rashes or even burns if it comes in contact with your bare skin, eyes, or mouth. If you use this product, it’s best to do so using gloves to protect your hands. Also, avoid extended exposure to the chemical to prevent any burns or rashes.
It’s a Band-Aid Fix
Using Drano once or twice is nothing to be too concerned about, and it likely won’t cause damage to your pipes. However, if you find that a clog is showing up repeatedly, this can be a sign of deeper plumbing issues that should be addressed by a professional. Drano may work for a short period, but it generally doesn’t work as a long-term solution.
Chemical drain cleaners contain harmful substances that can have a negative impact on the environment when disposed of improperly. These pollutants can find their way into waterways and harm aquatic life.
Not Effective on Certain Clogs
Drano may not be effective on certain types of clogs, such as objects or non-organic blockages. In fact, it can make clogs worse by pushing the obstruction deeper into the pipes.
Potential Pipe Damage
In some cases, the chemicals in Drano can react with the material of your pipes and lead to chemical reactions that weaken the pipes over time.
The fumes emitted by Drano when it interacts with clogs can be toxic and harmful if inhaled. Proper ventilation is necessary when using such products or opting for one of the best drano alternatives listed below to avoid any potential health hazards.
Expensive Over Time
Continuous use of chemical drain cleaners like Drano can add up in terms of cost. It’s often more effective to address issues at their source, even if the upfront cost is higher than relying on repeated chemical treatments.
Safety Concerns for Children and Pets
As noted above, there are toxic fumes associated with drano. Having these drain cleaners in the household poses a risk to children and pets, who may accidentally ingest or spill the product, leading to more significant health concerns and unnecessary risks.
Luckily, there are several safe, natural alternatives to Drano that you can use if you encounter a clog. These solutions are not only better for your health but are also much easier on your pipes, which can help you avoid having a plumbing emergency further down the line. Here are the best Drano alternatives to keep on hand for unexpected clogs.
Baking Soda and White Vinegar
This mixture is a great green alternative to Drano because most people have these items somewhere in their kitchen. To use this method, pour half a cup of baking soda into the clogged drain and follow it with a half cup of white vinegar. Let this mixture sit for about 20-30 minutes, and then pour about half a quart of boiling water down the drain. The chemical reaction between the vinegar and baking soda breaks down whatever is clogging the pipe, and the boiling water washes it away. Keep these items in your pantry to ensure that you’re ready to clear out any unexpected clogs.
Soap and Hot Water
One of the most common reasons for a drain to clog—especially in the kitchen—is grease buildup from cooking. If you’ve ever tried to wash a pan covered with grease, you know just how stubborn that grease can be if you aren’t using enough soap. The same goes for grease lodged in your drain. To loosen the grease, pour about ½ to 1 cup of dish soap into the drain, followed by a gallon of boiling water. The combination should help relieve the stubborn grease and allow water to flow more freely; be careful, however, not to burn yourself when pouring the hot water.
Another convenient replacement for Drano is simple table salt. You can either pour about half a cup of salt directly down the drain followed by some boiling water or mix the two in a cup and then pour the mixture into the clogged drain. If this doesn’t work immediately, add more salt and pour the salt in a circular motion to ensure the salt affects the entire drain. Salt has naturally abrasive properties, meaning it can help destroy bacteria, grease, and grime while warding off unpleasant odors and mold growth. Additionally, you can add salt to the mixtures listed above to power your natural drain cleaners.
If liquid solutions aren’t cutting it, you can always break out the trusty plunger. Contrary to popular belief, the standard plunger is designed for clearing drains rather than toilets. You can clear plenty of clogs with minimal effort by using a plunger. For the best results, be sure to cover any overflow openings in the sink with wet rags to avoid spillage, then plunge 5–10 times to try to loosen the clog. If this doesn’t work, run some hot water down the drain before trying again. Also, remember to cover the second drain if you’re trying to clear a double sink.
Wire Coat Hanger
If the clog is close to the drain opening, straighten out a wire coat hanger and create a small hook at one end. Insert the hooked end into the drain and fish out any debris or hair causing the blockage. This method is effective for minor clogs near the surface. You can also purchase tools specifically for these types of clogs if a wire hanger is not accessible!
A plumbing snake, or a drain auger, is a flexible cable that clears blockages deep within the drainpipe. Insert the snake into the drain and rotate it to break up and remove the clog. Plumbing snakes are available in various lengths and can handle some of the more stubborn clogs.
Enzyme-Based Drain Cleaners
Enzyme-based drain cleaners use natural enzymes to break down organic matter in the drain. These are some of the best drano alternatives because they are safe for your pipes and the environment. Simply pour the recommended amount down the drain, wait for the specified time, and then flush with hot water.
Wet and Dry Vacuum
If you can access a wet and dry vacuum, you can use it to remove clogs. Set the vacuum to the wet mode, create a tight seal around the drain, and turn it on. It can help dislodge and remove clogs by creating suction.
Hydro jetting is a powerful method used by professionals to clear stubborn clogs. It involves shooting a high-pressure stream of water down the drain to break up and remove blockages. This method is effective for major clogs but should be performed by a trained plumber. If the DIY methods above don’t work, contact the expert team at Goodbee!
Call Goodbee Plumbing and Drains for Stubborn Clogs
Dealing with a clogged drain can be incredibly frustrating, and even with the best Drano alternatives, sometimes a clog just won’t come out. When you feel like you’ve tried everything to clear a clogged pipe and still aren’t having any luck, turn to the experts at GoodBee Plumbing and Drains. Our experts work hard to ensure that you receive the best possible care at the best possible prices. We offer services across five cities and four parishes, so you can rest easy knowing that a professional is within reach. No one wants to deal with plumbing problems, and there are several ways you can avoid these issues, but if you find yourself in a bind, we are here to help. Contact us today to find out more about our range of plumbing services.