drain cleaners

So What’s The Real Scoop On Drain Cleaners

We’ve all experienced a clogged drain at some point. We usually do what comes naturally and grab our faithful plunger. More times than not, our plunger usually does the trick, especially on a clogged toilet or bathroom drain. The problem with a plunger is that it cannot eliminate hair and slime from a slow-moving sink. Most chemical drain cleaners get used in our sinks, and most plumbers will tell you not to use them. That’s because they claim they’re bad for our pipes. But honestly, that myth has been handed down for generations. It’s like telling homeowners to use ice to sharpen the blades in their garbage disposal. Unfortunately, garbage disposals do not have blades, but hundreds of articles online tell us to sharpen them.

Big B's Plumbing - Your Plumber for Life!

Three Types of Drain Cleaners

There are three types of chemical drain cleaners: caustic, oxidizing, and acid drain cleaners. Caustic drain cleaner contains lye and potassium hydroxide, which you will also find in industrial products. There are two familiar drain cleaning brands that we easily recognize, Drano® and Liquid Plumber®, both of which are caustic drain cleaners that have the compound sodium hydroxide.

Lab Test Prove That Liquid Plumbr® is Safe On Drains

Drano® clearly states that their product is suitable for all clogged drains but also states not to use the product on clogged toilets. Drano® Max Build-Up Remover claims, if used regularly, it can help keep your bathroom sink and shower drain moving freely because it releases essential enzymes to break down residue. Lab tests have concluded that Liquid Plumbr® is safe on all household pipes, including PVC. It is also safe on marble, fiberglass, chrome, and porcelain sinks. 

Oxidizing drain cleaners contain basic household substances such as bleach, peroxides, and nitrates. The product works by breaking down the organic material found in a clog. The product easily moves through water because it’s heavier than water; once it hits the clog, it releases heat and gas to help clear and break down the obstruction. 

What Plumbers And Plumbing Companies Are Saying About Drain Cleaners

One company said,” The caustic materials in the cleaners can eat through the pipe itself while they clear through the clog.” Really? These companies are misinformed. Another company said, ” it doesn’t even matter what type of pipes you have, whether copper, galvanized steel, PVC, or cast iron, drain cleaners will eat right through them.” Another company said, “the caustic material creates enough heat to melt your PVC pipes.” Nothing could be further from the truth. Could you imagine a product so harmful to your plumbing system that it lasted 60 years and is still selling well in our supermarkets? Has any friend or family member ever told you that their drain cleaner ate through their pipes–––never! 

Here’s another one “drain cleaner can cause painful burns that will eventually lead to serious scarring, and inhaling fumes can cause serious damage to your lungs.” So let’s cut the drama and start acting like responsible adults. Please read the label and follow the instructions and treat it with care like any other harsh acidic product in your home. Additionally, keep out of reach of children, and if you need to call a plumber, let them know that you have used a drain cleaner. It’s called using common sense.

The Common Sense Approach To Drain Cleaners

Liquid Plumbr® has been in the market for over 60 years. Could a product that has withstood the test of time have lasted if it ate through your pipes? Of course not! We’re not advocates of any drain cleaner, but we also take a common-sense approach to plumbing. If a consumer needs to clear a bathroom drain that’s been clogged by hair and bathroom products, why not use a quality drain cleaner. As long it’s isolated to the bathroom and shower drains, it’s perfectly safe, and it will save a customer a service call. 

Avoid Acid Drain Cleaners 

However, avoid acid drain cleaners at all costs. They contain sulfuric acid or hydrochloric acid, and if used incorrectly, the product can damage aluminum, porcelain, and metal. While sulfuric acid is less damaging to metal plumbing, it still can cause damage and should only be used as a last resort and only dispersed by a professional.

Take An Organic Approach To Cleaning Drains

While there are many quality products on the market, you may want to take an organic approach to your clog. First, make a hydrogen peroxide solution. Start with a cup of peroxide water, then pour it down your drain. A mix of vinegar and baking soda is good for breaking down soap scum and slime. Next, consider a natural drain cleaner Zep® Drain Defense which releases natural enzymes to clear a clog and opens slow-moving drains. 


  • Be cautious and read the labels and strictly follow the instructions.
  • Quality drain cleaners such as Drano® and Liquid Plumbr will not harm your pipes; they’ve been in the market for over 60 years.
  • These products will work perfectly on small bathroom drains.
  • Never pour a drain cleaner into your toilet.
  • Avoid Acid Drain Cleaners
  • If your drain cleaner does not clear remove the clog, call a plumber.
  • Drain cleaners are designed for very minor clogs.
  • Please don’t believe everything you read online and use common sense when it comes to your plumbing system.
Brandon and Family, Licensed plumbing contractor

Family Owned & Operated

My name is Brandon Mageno. I'm the founder, President, and CEO of Big B's Plumbing Company. As the founder, I never thought about being average or good. My passion for being the best plumbing company in Southern California has always been the same. Providing plumbing services to this great county is simply in my DNA. Nothing makes me happier than to see a satisfied customer. Learn More About Us

2 thoughts on “So What’s The Real Scoop On Drain Cleaners”

  1. Thanks for mentioning that liquid plumber is a good way to clean your drains. I think my kitchen drain is clogged and I’d like to hire a professional to clean it out. I know they’d do a better job than I could, so I want to reach out to them.

  2. It’s helpful to know that we must be cautious when picking a drain cleaner for our house. This morning, I noticed that my kitchen and bathroom drains were clogged, and nothing I did worked, so I think I’d call a plumber to help me out this time. I appreciate your insight on avoiding acid drain cleaners and reading their labels before buying a drain cleaning.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

What People Are Saying...

I called Big B's Plumbing because I the hot water would not turn off in our master bathroom. I tried to turn the valve off under the sink and it broke off, so I had to shut off the main water to the house. It was noticeable the valves were original to the home. When I called, the rep stated that I would be informed about the service tech and their experience along with services offered "On The Spot". I was on a bit of a time crunch...
Read More on Google My Business


Vill M

Found them on Google and they had good quality reviews. Made the call and set up the appointment for same day. Dispatch called me a few hours later to confirm our appointment and let me know that the technician Mathew was on the way. This was supposed to be an easy job once Mathew arrived. But it turned out to be so much more than that. Without hesitation or a sour look on his face, he dove deep into his van...
Read More on Google My Business


Jeremy T

Randy was very knowledgeable and professional. He helped us figure out what we could do with the space given for our bathroom with our remodel. He picked out perfect fixtures and the work he did was beautiful. The cleaned up properly when they were done and everything was handled in one day! I will be calling for Randy anytime we have any plumbing needs. Thank you for doing such a great job!
Read More on Google My Business


Crystal M

Call Today!
Your Plumber For Life!

Contractors License #986152

Scroll to Top