Clogged pipes are undoubtedly one of the most frustrating household problems. With so many chemical drain cleaners on the market, it can be tough to decide which one is the best for you and your plumbing. Drano is one such product, but you may be aware that plumbers generally advise against using this drain unblocker due to its harsh ingredients. It’s best to instead opt for a Drano alternative as a safer and more plumbing-friendly way to unclog your drains.
Some of the best Drano alternatives include using a plunger or pipe snake, soap or salt mixed with boiling water, or baking soda and white vinegar.
Also, for maximum effectiveness, you can combine several of these methods together to get rid of the clog. In this article, we’ll explore some of these Drano alternatives that you can use to keep your pipes clear and your home safe from harsh chemicals. Whether you’re dealing with a minor clog or a major plumbing issue, we’ve got you covered with effective and natural solutions that are sure to get the job done.
How Does Drano Work?
Drano works to clear clogged drains using corrosive chemicals that break down the organic matter forming the clog. More specifically, the main active chemicals found in Drano products are sodium hydroxide (lye), sodium hypochlorite (bleach), sodium chloride (salt), and aluminum.
Different Drano products have different formulations of these chemicals, working to clear clogs in slightly different ways. To look at the basic formula of Drano Liquid, the main active ingredient is sodium hydroxide, otherwise known as lye or caustic soda. Sodium hydroxide is capable of decomposing most organic matter; it breaks down clogs by cutting through hair, grease, and any other organic matter blocking the drain. Also within the formula is aluminum, which reacts with the sodium hydroxide to generate heat and accelerate the decomposition process. Other formulations may contain some additional ingredients, but this is the basic action of all Drano products on clogs.
Why Should I Avoid Using Drano and Find a Drano Alternative?
Despite its effectiveness in clearing clogs, you’ll find that plumbers hate Drano and typically advise against using this product. Using Drano incorrectly or too often can pose a threat to your plumbing, and more importantly, to your health. It’s best to opt for a Drano alternative wherever possible, as the risks of this product generally outweigh its rewards.
Using Drano Can Damage Your Plumbing
The corrosive action that Drano has on clogs can also take a toll on your plumbing. Repeated applications of this product can gradually wear down pipes, especially if the plumbing is older and already corroded. In toilets and showers, Drano can seep into the porcelain, causing it to crack and potentially even explode. You can end up with issues much more severe (and more costly to fix) than the initial clog you were dealing with.
Handling Drano is Dangerous for Your Health
As we’ve explained, Drano corrodes almost all organic matter it comes into contact with. This includes your skin, eyes, mouth, and lungs – in fact, all of your body parts are at risk of the corrosive action that the harsh chemicals in Drano have. Accidentally coming into contact with this product can leave you with rashes or burns, and in the worst cases, blindness, breathing issues, or gastrointestinal issues. The same goes for any children or pets in your household.
Drano May Only Act as a Temporary Solution to a Bigger Issue
Using Drano may work quickly to clear a clog, and using it as a one-off treatment here and there isn’t too bad. However, if you’re finding that your pipes are repeatedly becoming clogged on a regular basis, this indicates a deeper issue with your plumbing. You should get in contact with the professionals like us at Metro Heating and Cooling if this is the case; Drano and even Drano alternatives are only temporary solutions to any more significant plumbing problems causing regular blockages.
Top 5 Best Drano Alternatives
Maybe you’ve got concerns over using this product, or maybe you just don’t have any to hand. Whatever your reasoning is, you’re pretty much always better off using a Drano alternative to clear clogs in your plumbing. We’ve listed our top 5 best Drano alternatives below that are just as effective as this product without any of its risks.
1. Use a Plunger
Clearing a clog in a toilet, sink, or drain can be as simple as using the trusty plunger. Plungers are tried and tested tools for clearing blockages with minimal effort, and you likely already have one lying around.
Place the plunger over the blocked pipe to form a seal over the opening; then, give it 5 to 10 firm plunges. If you’re plunging a sink, remember to cover any overflow openings with a wet rag; if it’s a double sink, cover the second opening so the plunger can work properly. If the clog doesn’t clear after the first round, run some hot water down the drain before giving it another go.
2. Use a Pipe Snake
Another manual Drano alternative is to use a pipe snake. If you don’t have one of these to hand, a coat hanger or stiff wire can be a good substitute.
Feed the snake down the blocked pipe until you feel resistance, then try to dislodge the clog with some semi-firm pressure. Take care not to force the snake too hard to avoid any accidental damage; also, make sure not to push it so far that you can’t get it back out.
3. Use Soap and Boiling Water
A common cause for clogs, especially in kitchen drains, is a buildup of grease. Soap and hot water can be an effective Drano alternative to dissolve grease blockages.
Pour roughly ½ to 1 cup of dish soap down the blocked drain. Following this, pour about a gallon of boiling water, taking care not to burn yourself. This combination should work to shift the clog if it’s mainly made up of grease.
4. Use Salt and Boiling Water
Salt and boiling water is another home remedy that acts as a cheap and easy Drano alternative. Salt is a naturally abrasive substance that can break down grease blockages while eliminating bacteria, odors, and mold.
Pour about ½ cup of salt down the blocked drain followed by about a gallon of boiling water; alternatively, you can mix the two to create a solution before pouring it all down the drain. Again, take care not to burn yourself with the hot water.
5. Use Baking Soda and White Vinegar
Another natural DIY Drano alternative is to mix baking soda with white vinegar. These two household ingredients have a chemical reaction with each other that works to break up clogs.
Pour ½ cup of baking soda down the drain, then follow it up with ½ cup of white vinegar. Wait 20 to 30 minutes, then pour about half a quart of boiling water into the drain.
Extra Tip: Combine the Remedies Above
You can improve the effectiveness of the above remedies by combining them into one treatment. Also, if your remedy doesn’t work the first time you apply it, try repeating it a couple of times until the clog shifts. If all else fails, try the ultimate Drano alternative by getting in contact with a professional company like us at Metro Heating and Cooling; we can inspect your plumbing and get to the root cause of your blocked drains to save you the time and hassle of dealing with it yourself.