Is Drain Cleaner Acid Or A Base? It’s PH And How It Works

Drain cleaners come as acids or bases depending on the major chemicals used in their manufacture. The most common base used in their preparation is sodium hydroxide which is crystalline. For acidic drain cleaners, hydrochloric acid is the most common chemical used. It is safer to use strong base drain cleaners as acid ones are dangerous when they react with water on your skin. 

What Is The Best Natural Drain Cleaner?

A combination of baking soda and lemon juice is the best natural homemade drain cleaner to use on clogged pipes and drains. The following steps are taken while using the two to unclog drains and pipes:

Step 1: Pour half a cup of baking soda into the drain.

Step 2: Pour half a cup of squeezed lemon juice into the drain.

Step 3: Plug the drain and let it sit in that state for an hour.

Step 4: Unplug the drain and wash it down with two liters of boiling water.

By following this short process, you can unclog your drain and pipes. Besides, you will leave your home with a desirable smell since lemon kills the bad odor.

Why Should I Not Use Drain Cleaner?

Sometimes it is advisable not to use the drain cleaners as it has bad effects as highlighted below:

Dangerous To Children And Pets

Drain cleaners are made up of very toxic and corrosive materials that may harm children and pets if exposed to them. If you have no safe way of keeping drain cleaners out of reach for your children and pets, you would rather not have them around. It may bring about hazardous situations that would have been avoided had you not used it in your home.

A Couple Of Safety Issues

Precautions indicated on the containers of drain cleaners require a lot to achieve. Provisions like; using in a well-ventilated area, not being used with a plunger, and not mixing two or more drain cleaners are a bit demanding. For instance, if your kitchen space is not well ventilated and there is nothing you can do about it, you cannot use a drain cleaner as it may be harmful.

Environmental Impact

Drain cleaners contain bleach and other chemicals that, on reaction, emit toxic gases to the environment. These gases have harmful effects, like causing further damage to the OZone layer. If you do not have a way to contain the gas, do not use the drain cleaners. 

Pipe Damage

The corrosive nature of drain cleaners and the heat produced during reactions weakens pipes. Weakened pipes are prone to breakage and leakages that cost a lot to replace. 

Chemical Reactions

Mixing two different drain cleaners is dangerous as chemicals of various types react, leading to toxic fumes. For instance, bleach and ammonia may react unintentionally, producing fumes that may cause respiratory complications on being inhaled.

Despite drain cleaners being so helpful in unclogging pipes, their use may result in other hazardous situations. If you cannot observe the precautions mentioned above, it is wise not to use a drain cleaner.

Is Drain Cleaner A Weak Acid?

Since drain cleaners come as acids or bases, they do so as strong ones. Acidic drain cleaners have strong acids as their active ingredients, while basic drain cleaners have strong bases as their active ingredients. This ensures that their purpose of unclogging pipes and drains is performed perfectly. 

What Is The PH Of A Drain Cleaner?

Basic drain cleaners have active ingredients like sodium hydroxide, potassium hydroxide, and sodium hypochlorite, which have PH of 14, 12, and 11. Therefore the PH of basic drain cleaners lies within the same range. On the other hand, acidic drain cleaners contain hydrochloric acid, which has a PH of 1 which means that the drain cleaner PH will lie within the same range. 

How Do Basic Drain Cleaners Work?

Basic drain cleaners are bases, and they give electrons to the clogging substances with hydroxide ions, causing a reaction that clears the clogs. Their basic chemicals release heat that turns grease, causing clogging, into a soap-like substance easily dissolved to unblock the drain or pipes. Most people believe only acids are strong enough to dissolve substances that cause clogging, but hydroxides have the same effect.

Is Drain Cleaner Corrosive?

Drain cleaner is made of very strong acids or bases hence very corrosive. Sodium hydroxide and sulphuric acid are very corrosive chemicals and are very common active ingredients in drain cleaners. Drain cleaner can be corrosive to organic materials, metals, clothes, and skin. Due to their corrosive nature, it is advisable to handle them with gloves to avoid harming your hands. 

How Does A Chemical Drain Cleaner Work?

Chemical drain cleaners create chemical reactions in the pipes and drain that end up producing heat. This heat melts and dissolves all the materials clogging the pipelines, leaving them free to allow a fast water flow and other substances. However, the heat produced may be harmful to the pipes, especially plastic ones, since they are weakened. In this case, the pipes are prone to breakage and leakages. Chemical drain cleaners are effective in clearing clogs but may negatively affect the pipes afterward 

How Do Enzyme-Based Drain Cleaners Work?

Enzyme-based drain cleaners use enzymes or bacteria to break down organic matter in the pipes that cause clogging. They are slower than chemical drain cleaners but have no damaging effect on the pipes. However, they may not always be effective since they are not so strong. Sometimes they may be unable to unclog pipes and drains, leaving them in their initial clogged state. Due to this property, they are not so commonly used unless enzymes or bacteria can dissolve the organic matter clogging the lines.

How Long Does Drain Cleaner Take To Work?

For clogged or slow-running pipes without more complicated or demanding issues, 15 minutes is enough for a drain cleaner to dissolve the dirt. However, if the pipe has tougher clogs that require longer reactions, 30 minutes or more is most suitable. Depending on the issue with your drains and pipes, allocate adequate amounts of drain cleaner and time to have the dirt cleared off completely for better substance flow. Chemical drain cleaners work faster than enzyme-based drain cleaners, which will take longer hours to dissolve the dirt.

Is It Safe To Leave Drain Cleaner Overnight?

It is safe to leave drain cleaner overnight. This gives it enough time to react and deal even with the toughest clogging issues. This works mostly for tough clogs that have formed over time and require extensive chemical reactions to dissolve. Once the chemicals have enough time to react, they produce a lot of heat used to melt and dissolve the dirt. Overnight offers enough time to unclog the drains and pipes completely. This also works very well for enzyme-based drain cleaners that require a lot of time to unclog pipes.

Will Drain Cleaner Eat Through Plastic?

Drain cleaners are made up of very corrosive chemicals, and plastic is very prone to damage and will be eaten over time. Liquid drain cleaners are very concentrated, and on pouring into the pipes, they may erode them, causing a leak of chemicals onto other surfaces. This is very dangerous since if the chemical reactions occur in open-air, the toxic fumes produced may be inhaled. These toxic fumes are harmful to human beings as well as the environment. You should check the concentration of the drain cleaners before using them on plastic to avoid hazardous situations.

What Does Drain Cleaner Do To Hair?

Liquid drain cleaners combine bleach and lye chemicals to create enzymes or corrosive substances that can dissolve or loosen hair clogs. Hair clogs are usually tough to unclog when using powder drain cleaners and enzyme-based drain cleaners. Hair is tough to dissolve material, thus, the challenge to clear them from the pipes. Therefore, liquid drain cleaners are the most suitable for bathrooms, salons, and barbershop clogs as they clean out hair. Hair clogs are usually an ugly sight to see, and any possible measure should be taken to dissolve or loosen them.

What Chemicals Are In A Drain Cleaner?

Chemical drain cleaners have two major components, which are bleach and lye. Different chemicals are used as bleach or lye depending on whether the drain cleaner is acidic or basic. Each chemical has s concentration of up to 50% hence very strong and corrosive. These chemicals are used due to their effects after chemically reacting with each other. This is because the results of these reactions play the role of unclogging the pipes and drains.

Final Word 

The ingredients used in the manufacture of drain cleaners dictate whether they will be acidic or bases. This means its PH can be too high or too low on the PH scale. However, whichever side of the PH scale it lays on, it is strong. Since most of the drain cleaners are chemical, they work by chemical reactions which produce heat that dissolves and melts the matter clogging your pipes. 

However, the enzyme-based drain cleaners work by producing enzymes or bacteria that break down organic matter overtime to unclog the pipes and drains. It is best to understand the clogged pipes’ root cause to choose the best drain cleaner that works effectively. 

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