You have friends coming to your home for lunch and for carrying out a chemistry experiment later in just a couple of hours. However, your bathroom is choked and you are the type who wants everything to be perfect, but this issue isn’t complimenting your best efforts. So following your natural instinct, you decide to take out the drain cleaner and unblock your bathroom. And of course, you are successful.
But before you can truly celebrate, you remember that you also have to carry out a chemistry experiment for your science report using a drain cleaner, but you keep wondering on what is pH of drain cleaner. What can be more frustrating and depressing for you at that point in time, then not having any knowledge of the pH of drain cleaners when you require it the most?
Well, you don’t need to fret; more importantly, there is no need to panic as you aren’t alone. Many of us ponder over the question what is pH of drain cleaner.
When such circumstances come up, you probably realize the importance of a drain cleaner and how it helps to unblock your lavatory and kitchen sink, especially when you really want them to function properly. This is why it is also essential to know how to utilize a drain cleaner.
So, before you try to determine a drain cleaner’s pH value, you should also know how to use one properly. If you want to find out how they work to unclog blocked drains, then you have come to the right place.
Drain Cleaners: What are they?
If you are concerned about the query what is pH of drain cleaner, you must first understand what they really are. A drain cleaner is basically a chemical cleaning product that has the ability to prevent your kitchen and lavatory drains from getting blocked and clogged, such as due to muck, grime, and particles trapped in the sewerage pipes.
Normally, the term ‘drain cleaner’ refers to the product itself, but at times, this term may also refer to the one who performs the cleaning of sewerage pipes using a chemical drain cleaning device. Broadly speaking, drain cleaners can be classified into two categories; chemical drain cleaners and enzymatic drain cleaners.
If you are trying to determine the proper use of drain cleaners, you should keep in mind that there are some sub-types under these two categories based on which clogged drains require cleaning. For example, if a single toilet, shower tub, or sink drain is clogged, the first options that should be considered for such types of drain cleaning are chemical drain cleaners, plungers, handled drain cleaners, home remedy drain cleaners, and air burst drain cleaners.
However, the correct use of drain cleaners is important if you want to clean the drains effectively, no matter their type. Hence, you must remember that such types of drain cleaners are always used for soft obstructions such as hair, grease, etc. that can be easily extracted without any extra efforts. On the flipside, if you want to know the core of the query, what is pH of drain cleaners, you may be interested in knowing the types of drain cleaners that are used for more than one kind of plumbing.
In the event that you have multiple clogged fixtures which require plumbing, the available choices for drain cleaners are electric drain cleaners and sewer jets. Typically, such types of clogged drains have hard obstructions, but people often try home remedies and simple plungers for this as the first option. When the obstructions do not come out, they go for the electric ones.
The Types of Drain Cleaners
To know the answer to what is pH of drain cleaner, you should first understand the types of drain cleaners. As mentioned above, drain cleaners fall under two categories. The first one is chemical drain cleaners and the other one is enzymatic drain cleaners.
1. Chemical Drain Cleaners
Chemical drain cleaners normally come in two forms; solid and liquid. To determine what is pH of drain cleaner, you should also know that drain cleaners are readily available in several hardware stores, except the ones which contain an acid. You might not be able to get them because they are only intended for use by licensed plumbers.
So, you should keep in mind that you may not be able to get some drain cleaners in the market easily and you may need to call a professional plumber to buy it for you. Not only that, but you will need one to sort out your clogged drain issues as well.
Before answering what is pH of drain cleaner, you should remember that chemical drain cleaners cannot be used by everyone and you would require a professional for this as drain cleaners can even harm you. Hence, you should be cautious before using them. There are three types of chemical drain cleaners.
- Caustic Drain Cleaners
To get a clear understanding of the question what is pH of drain cleaner, you should know what caustic drain cleaners are. Caustic drain cleaners are drain cleaners that contain substances like lye and caustic potash. These two substances actually work as hydroxide ions and have electrons to clear and unclog drains.
These substances are basic chemicals that have the ability to turn grease into a soap-like substance by heating it, so that it can be easily dissolved. Additionally, such drain cleaners are heavier than water, enabling them to reach the clogged particles through the stagnant water.
- Oxidizing Drain Cleaners
Oxidizing drain cleaners are chemical cleaners that cause the organic material to lose electrons and become oxidized. Normally, such drain cleaners include household bleach, peroxides, and nitrates.
This type of drain cleaner is also heavier than water, just like caustic drain cleaners. It permeates the standing water in the entire pipe. In order to use it, you just have to pour the oxidizing drain cleaner in the blocked drain. It will release gas and produce heat which will automatically clear the blockage.
- Acid-Based Drain Cleaners
Acid-based drain cleaners are one of the most effective types of chemical drain cleaners. They have the ability to work better and efficiently than other drain cleaners. Also, they should be used cautiously as they contain sulfuric acid which is corrosive.
Hence, if you are trying to determine what is pH of drain cleaner, you should keep in mind that you will not be able to find them in local stores easily as they are only sold to professional and licensed plumbers.
These drain cleaners also contain hydrochloric acid and various other chemical compounds that contain hydronium ions that have the ability to draw electrons from substances in the clogged drains. To use an acid-based drain cleaner, all you need to do is pour the acid-based drain cleaner inside the drain. The hydronium ions will chemically react with the material in the blocked drain and generate sufficient heat which will melt the different substances, grease, and muck.
The purchase of acid-based drain cleaners should only be reserved for occasions when a drain is severely blocked and cannot be opened by ordinary drain cleaning products. Therefore, it is better to hire a professional plumber and let them clean your clogged drain using an acid-based drain cleaner.
Moreover, certain chemical drain cleaners damage the PVC (polyvinyl chloride) pipes found in homes nowadays. However, if these drain cleaners are used as directed, they will not cause any damage. You should keep this fact in your mind while determining the answer to the question what is pH of drain cleaner.
2. Enzymatic Drain Cleaners
These types of drain cleaners consist of concentrated enzymes and bacteria that respond to organic remains which accumulate on sewer pipes. The dissolved residue inside the drain cleaner helps prevent clogged drains.
These enzymatic drain cleaners are safer to use than the chemical ones and they are intended to maintain proper flow within pipes and drains as well as for general maintenance. However, they cannot clear clogged drains and pipes effectively. You can probably say that they are the best option for temporarily fixing your plumbing problems, but they are ineffective in the long run.
Furthermore, if you want to know the answer to what is pH of drain cleaner, you can take a deep breath because these drain cleaners are environmentally-friendly and easier to use too. They basically use natural enzymes and bacteria that unclog the drain for soft obstructions like hair, food particles, etc. They have a septic system that helps in clearing away the grime in the clogged drains.
Besides, if you want to use drain cleaners, especially the safer ones, you should opt for enzymatic drain cleaners as they do not contain dangerous chemicals like chemical drain cleaners do. Additionally, they cannot leak into the soil and water supply.
Currently, they are one of the best options for people who do not know the proper way of using drain cleaners. Saving you from the hassle of wearing protection and safety gear, they can be used without the assistance of any professional plumber as well. In addition to this, if you are in a hurry and do not have time to wait for plumbers, use enzymatic drain cleaners to unclog your drain temporarily.
Precautions to Take while Using Drain Cleaners
Clogged drains are common in many households. However, they can be resolved by drain cleaning chemicals or devices. Regardless of the type of drain cleaner you are using; enzymatic, chemical or homemade, you should always remember the important precautions before using them. Before discussing the question what is pH of drain cleaner, you must keep the following tips in mind.
1. Follow the Instructions
A drain cleaning chemical is a very corrosive and strong liquid which requires extreme caution while using it. Therefore, those who ponder over what is pH of drain cleaner should first go through the instructions carefully that are normally written on the back of the packaging. Don’t do things in a hurry because a single mistake can result in serious injuries.
2. Be Cautious
If you are drowsy, intoxicated or in a tired state, never use drain cleaning products at all as they can be dangerous for you. You need to ensure you are fully active to undertake such technical tasks and mentally alert.
3. Wear Protective Gear
If you are pondering over the question what is pH of drain cleaner, you must keep in mind one of the most important precautionary measures while using drain cleaners; wearing protective gear. They include gloves that can help prevent any burns, especially if you accidentally spill some chemicals on your hand.
Moreover, such strong chemicals can cause toxic gases to emanate from the drain which can cause eye irritation. This is why wearing protective eyewear can also prevent you from hurting your eyes.
4. Ventilation and Adequate Lighting
Drain cleaners are very strong chemicals; therefore, you should keep in mind that they are not environmentally friendly, except for enzymatic drain cleaners. Since they can emanate toxic gases and fumes, they might cause breathing problems in human beings.
Hence, before using drain cleaners, you should always remember to open all the windows to ensure sufficient air circulation and have proper lighting to see the drain and reduce chances of any mistakes from occurring.
5. Do Not Mix with Other Products
One of the main things you should keep in mind if you are trying to understand what is pH of drain cleaner is that you should never mix drain cleaning chemicals with other substances like cleaners or water.
Drain cleaners are made up of strong chemical compounds that can lead to strange and harmful chemical reactions that might result in serious injuries. Therefore to prevent dangerous reactions from taking place, you need to ensure separate usage of chemical and homemade drain cleaners.
Preventing Clogged Drains
Even though you now know how to unclog your drains, you may never want to have a blocked drain in the first place. After all, they are a nuisance! The ultimate thing that all homeowners should keep in mind to prevent clogged drains is to make sure it’s properly maintained. In order to maintain them and to make sure you have a clean kitchen and bathroom drain, follow the tips below.
- Avoid flushing food scraps down the drain. Furthermore, you can use a drain strainer in your sink to keep the food particles out.
- Keep the water running when washing utensils. This will let waste particles be carried away with the flow of water through the drainage system.
- You should avoid putting grease or cooking oil in the drain. You can pour grease or oil in a sealable container and later, throw it away in a trash bin.
- To prevent clogged drains, you can also pour a bowl of boiling water down the drain once in a week to clear away all the fat, grease, or food particles that may have collected inside the pipes.
- For bathrooms, you can clean the drain stoppers on a regular basis; hair, soap particles, and other types of gunk can stick on the stoppers of your sink and tub.
- Tissues, flushing papers, and other types of heavy paper products can also block the drain.
What is the pH of a Drain Cleaner?
Before you determine the answer to the question what is the pH of a drain cleaner, you should comprehend the meaning of the term ‘pH’. It stands for ‘power of hydrogen’ or ‘potential of hydrogen’ and is a numerical scale utilized in chemistry to classify an aqueous solution as either an acid or a base. Mathematically speaking, it is a negative logarithmic scale of base 10 of the concentration of hydrogen ions present in a solution. This concentration is measure in moles per liter.
The pH scale starts from 0 and goes all the way up to 14; a pH value less than 7 signifies that the solution is acidic. On the other hand, a pH value greater than 7 shows that the solution is a base or alkaline. A value of 7 means the solution is neutral and the number of hydroxide and hydrogen ions are equal. An example is distilled water. Acids have a higher concentration of hydrogen ions and bases have a lower concentration.
When it comes to determining the pH of drain cleaners, you should keep in mind that there are different types of drain cleaners as discussed earlier. When talking about chemical drain cleaners, caustic drain cleaners contain sodium hydroxide or potassium hydroxide which a strong alkali. The pH value of sodium hydroxide and potassium hydroxide is 14 and 12 respectively on the pH scale. Hence, caustic drain cleaner has a pH of from 12 o 14.
Oxidizing drain cleaners contain sodium hypochlorite which is a base and it has a pH of 11 in diluted form. In concentrated forms, its pH can go up to 13. Acidic drain cleaner contain concentrated sulfuric or hydrochloric acid. The pH of sulfuric acid is between 0 and 1, while that of hydrochloric acid is 0. Therefore, it can be said that the pH of acidic drain cleaners ranges from 0 to 1.