Drain cleaners — also referred to as drain un-cloggers — are solutions that are used for clearing out clogged or sluggish drains. These are strong solutions that are designed to dissolve human waste, human hair, and food particles that can easily clog drains in the shower, tub, and even in the bathroom and kitchen sinks. There are different types and forms of drainers and therefore, it is very important to find the best one that gives you best results.
Background — What’s the Role of Drain Cleaners?
Before you jump to concluding what is the best drain cleaner, it is important to know a little more about this must-have product. Drain cleaners are available in different forms. The most common form is the liquid form even though you can find powders and other substances. The reason liquids are so popular because they can be easily poured into the drain and can travel deep down unclogging the drain as compared to powders and other more solid substances.
Types of Drain Cleaners
On the whole, there are two different types of effective drain cleaners available today. One is the commonly used, chemically laden, conventional drain cleaner while the other is more environment friendly, bio-degradable, and chemical-free drain cleaner. The former one, unfortunately, is considered more effective. As far as these effective chemical cleaners are concerned, there are further two types commonly used in the United States. One of these is based on acids and includes acidic chemicals like sulphuric acid.
While a cleaner containing sulphuric acid is considered the most effective, it is also the most dangerous of them all. This acid has the power to immediately react on any organic material that comes in contact with it. This indicates how sulphuric acid can instantly eat away human hair and waste that could be blocking the sink or other drains.
It is considered dangerous because it does not only eat away hair and waste but anything organic, which also includes skin. If the drain cleaner comes in contact with the skin of the user, there is very little time with the user to wash it off without causing damage to the skin. If immediate action is not taken, the chemical in the drain cleaner can burn and eat away the skin.
Other type of acid present in chemical drain cleaner is caustic sodium hypochloride. Most of the well-known producers of drain cleaners use this substance as a major ingredient in their product. They are not only cheaper to make as compared to the first one but they are not even as effective. However, they are much safer to use and does not usually burn the skin. It also allows the user sufficient time to wash off the affected area before any damage to the skin is experienced.
In any case, drain cleaners with chemicals present in them should always be used with extra care. It is highly recommended that users wear goggles and gloves before using drain cleaners because the chemicals can be harmful to the skin as well as the eyes. Other serious hazards are related to mixing of chemical drain cleaners with other household cleaners and products that contains other chemicals. The mixture can produce vapors that can be extremely harmful for the user.
Last but not the least, regardless of which drain cleaner you are using, it is very important that you keep it completely out of children’s reach.
As far as environment-friendly, bio-degradable drain cleaners are concerned, they are also used for cleaning the drains but their main purpose is not to unclog the drains. They are mild and thus not as effective as chemical drain cleaners in eating away material that clogs the drains.
However, using these products is highly advisable as these products are much safer and do not even damage the plumbing and piping. Also, they are considered effective because they have the ability to possible wreak damage to the clogging, which eventually helps with dumping down the organic material and unclogging the drain.
The Different Types of Blockages
In order to determine what the best drain cleaner available is, it is important that you understand the different types of blockages and how to deal with them accordingly. Cleaning blockages isn’t as simple as it may sound. Sometimes, you have to deal with extremely nasty and stubborn clogs. The following are the two most common drain blockages that you may experience. These are common in homes — both bathroom and kitchen — and something that we can take care by ourselves with the right products and techniques.
1. Main Line Clog
This could create an emergency situation because if the clog is in the main line, it will come without any symptoms or warning signs. When the clog is in the main line, the affected areas will be more than just the bathroom or the sink. In fact, you may face problem throughout your house and that’s the reason you must immediately pay attention to this.
The reason behind the main line clog clearly indicates that the blockage could be somewhere in the line that goes through the street or that lies beneath the surface of the house. Just knowing different drainage cleaner products or techniques of clearing up drainage might not help in this case. This is a bigger problem and requires professional help and a detailed plan to fix it up.
2. Sink or Drainage Clog
This is comparatively simpler to what we discussed above. In fact, this is where you can use the techniques and information about different products. After finding out the best drain cleaner, you can carry out this task on your own. While there’s no promise that cleaning a drain would be a decent job but cleaning a small clog in the sink or the bath is definitely a simpler job than the one explained above.
In most cases, a clog like this may occur when an object is unable to pass through the drains and gets stuck. Things like hair, lint, debris, soaps and other solid objects can cause this type of blockage.
Using the right and most effective (yet safe) drainage cleaner is surely going to help you unclog the drain. Once the drainage is unclogged, the accumulated water will start draining on its own.
Raw Material for Drainage Cleaners
In order to make effective drainage cleaners, it requires mixing a few important chemicals and turning it into the right product. Drain cleaners that are acidic and made from sulphuric acids also include other additives to increase its effectiveness. As far as sulphuric acid is concerned, it is a byproduct of the iron ore process of purification. Sulphuric acid has an oily consistency, is odorless and colorless, and is extremely corrosive.
It can immediately react when it comes in contact with organic material. It is extremely dangerous for human skin. Therefore, it is important to keep it away from coming in contact with skin.
Sulphuric acid also reacts instantly when it comes in contact with different metals — especially zinc. When a mixing tank is used for producing the drainage cleaner, it is very important to use a metal that sulphuric acid does not react to. Keeping this in mind, steel is commonly used by manufacturers as filling and mixing tanks.
On the other hand, drain cleaner that is caustic is based on sodium hypochloride. This substance is alkaline in nature and made from the mixture of water, sodium hydroxide (also known as caustic soda), and chlorine. Surfactants is also a major ingredient used in the drainage cleaner in order to reduce surface tension, reduce foaming, and most important for promoting the mixing of different solutions.
So Does that Mean Acidic Drainage Cleaners are the Most Effective?
If you are using drainage cleaner available in the market, you might find the acidic one highly effective. However, this does not really mean they are the best for drainage cleaners. Also, here we are talking about clogs of drainage, sinks and baths and not the main pipelines that usually require professional attention. Therefore, it is not considered safe to use these highly acidic and dangerous drainage cleaners for domestic use.
Since the ingredients present in them are highly effective and helps eats away every organic material that causes the blockage in the drainage, using it without any caution can be highly risky. It can burn and damage your skin if it comes in contact with y our skin – which is very easy as these are mostly in liquid form and quite challenging to handle.
Moreover, cleaning the drainage is a nasty job in itself and the clogged areas usually have accumulated water around it. Using a liquid drainage cleaner with sulphuric acid in it does not sound like a very good idea, especially if you have never done this by yourself before.
So even though these are effective options, these are not considered the best options for drainage cleaners.
What is the Alternative and Effective Solution?
The best drainage cleaner for you will be the one that helps you with unclogging the drainage without any risk or threat. You might want to give some DIY ideas and homemade drain cleaners a try. Some of these can be really effective and may require only 10 minutes of your time to get rid of clogged drainage in no time.
If you have never made a drain cleaner before, you can use the following tips to get started now. These are the simple, everyday things you can easily find at home that will help guide you through.
1. Hot Water and White Vinegar Combo
The simplest of them all! Fill up a pot with water and place it on high heat. Keep it on until the water starts boiling. Meanwhile, fill a glass with white vinegar and pour it down the drainage – in the sink or bath – and let it be. Wait until the water starts boiling – this might take up to 20-30 minutes.
Pour the water in the same drainage. Be careful with handling the hot water and do not step in bare foot or in slippers if the clog has caused accumulated water in the affected area. The hot water might burn your feet.
You may not want to pour all of the water at once. Take your time and go easy with the process. This is especially important if there is accumulated water in the area. This process will not only help you clear the minor blockage in the drainage but will also help with getting rid of any bad smell as well.
While this method works wonderfully with minor clogs – such as hair – there are other methods too. In case this does not turn out as expected, try the following and see if it makes any difference.
Bad odor and stains on the surface are two problems you may face as a result of clogged drainage system. This is where a bleaching product might help you. While this isn’t as harmful as acidic drain cleaner, it is important that you handle it with caution too.
Also, when buying the right bleach for clogged drain, it is important that you pick the right product. Only bleach products that are porcelain-friendly should be used for the drain as they do not harm or damage the pipe during the process. Pour the bleach directly into the drain and let it pass through the pipe. Do not empty the entire bottle at once. Pour it in batches for best results.
Leave it once you see the water starts draining through the pipe. Wait and pour water to rinse the bleach around the surface. Let the water drain through the pipe. Pour more bleach if required.
Not everyone can deal with bleach effectively. People have severe allergies with the smell and using bleach for clogged drain can be a risk for them. If you have had a similar experience in the past, it is advised to steer clear the bleach and use the natural bleaching agent — lemon – instead!
You will be surprised on the wonderful results lemon can offer you with both clogged drain and dirty sink. This is one of the safest methods as it does not include handling harmful or hot products. All you need to do is add some lemon or lemon juice on the affected area for it to work.
Another great thing about this method is that you can leave the lemon for as long as you want to help clogged drain as well as to make your sink and affected areas cleaner.
Lime juice or lemons are a very common ingredient that we can easily find in our homes. Use it as an effective treatment for drain cleaner for amazing results. You can even mix some lime juice with hot water if you like to help clear minor clogs in no time.
4. Vinegar and Baking Soda Technique
If you are looking for the best drain cleaner, this mix might surprise you! Most people avoid the hassle of handling risky things by simply turning to this method as a best drain cleaner. The combination of vinegar and baking soda can do wonders in helping you clean clogged drains without any hassle.
It is one of the most effective and most commonly used methods that cannot go wrong. The following is the right way to use this technique for clogged drains:
- Combine 1 cup of vinegar with an equal amount of baking soda. It is ideal to use a measuring cup to ensure exact quantity of the two ingredients.
- As you start stirring it, the mixture will become a little fizzy. This will not take very long so make sure you are prepared and not far away from the affected area.
- The moment you find the mixture fizzy, pour it directly into the drain pipe that is clogged. The fizzy mixture will instantly and effectively work in getting rid of the clog without causing any hassle. The combination of vinegar and baking soda can help you remove a major portion of gunk that keeps water from freely passing through the drain pipe.
- Allow the mixture to stay in the pipe and do not pour water for at least 20 minutes. Let the mixture work through the depth so that the clog does not occur again. Meanwhile, heat water in a pot and pour only hot water to rinse everything off. This will further help clear the clog effectively.
The best drain cleaner is one that helps you get rid of clogged drainage at once. While you can pick up a product readily available in the market, you cannot be really sure of the ingredients and the risk of using them. Therefore, it is important that you conduct a little market research before picking up any product randomly.
On the other hand, you can keep it safe and make it more effective by simply making your own drain cleaner. Not every method will work for you so make sure you try a few and see which one works best for you. Using these simple methods can help you get rid of a clogged drainage system and enjoy a hassle free life.