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Roadrunner Air Conditioning, Heating & Plumbing Blog

Why You Shouldn’t Use Chemical Store-Bought Drain Cleaners


We’ve all dealt with clogs in our pipes at one point or another, and wanted to get them out ASAP. As you weigh your options, you’ve most likely settled on buying one of the dozens of drain cleaners at your local big box store. However, did you know these products are actually one of the worst things you can put in your drain? Read on to learn why you should never use a store-bought drain cleaner.

Why Drain Cleaners are Horrible

We get those store-bought drain cleaners are convenient; however, they are also:


Every year, 3,000 people are injured by drain cleaners. Some brands’ high sulfuric acid content causes horrific burns that frequently require skin grafting. Many of the injured are children who accidentally touch these products. Others use a combination of hydrochloric acid and lye to create a tough cleaner that also burns the skin. Furthermore, the fumes from these products can damage the eyes. Finally, if you have pets in the home, the lingering fumes can severely injure your fuzzy friends.

Damage Your Plumbing

Sulfuric and hydrochloric acids and lye are just as bad for your pipes as they are for your skin. As you use them, the acid will slowly erode the pipe, taking small layers every single time. If you use them frequently, they’ll eventually eat through your pipes, creating holes and leaks that normally wouldn’t be there. When you pay for a professional drain cleaning, you’re getting rid of the clog without damaging your plumbing.


When you watch these products’ commercials, they’ll frequently show the clog simply getting washed away with ease, the drain cleaner dissolving the wad of food/hair/gunk in a matter of minutes, never to return. This couldn’t be further from the truth. What actually happens with drain cleaners is much more complicated. The cleaner will work to break through the clog, but it cannot fully dissolve it. What ends up happening is that the clog actually dissolves in spots (although, sometimes it won’t dissolve at all) to create a hole(s) in the thinnest spots. This still leaves the clog in the drain; it’s simply weaker. The gunk will continue to build in the drain, attaching itself to the old gunk left behind and creating a new clog. This process of using store-bought drain cleaners and dissolving part of the clog will continue in a never-ending cycle.

Hurt the Environment

All those chemicals still stay in the bottle even when it appears empty, and those poisons will eventually leech into the soil once the bottle hits a landmine. This can mean irreversible damage to the land and water in the area.

The best way to clean your drains is to hire a professional. A plumber will examine your drains to figure out the correct way to remove the clog while preserving your plumbing lines. From hydro-jetting to motorized drain augers, our plumbers will find the most effective solution for your home’s stubborn clogs. 

For professional drain cleaning in Santa Fe, NM, look no further than Roadrunner Air Conditioning, Heating & Plumbing. Contact us today!

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