Every shower drain becomes blocked at some point, no matter how many preventative measures you put in place. Blocked drains are a common eventuality for many homeowners and more often than not, people want a quick fix. These common household items have been used as drain unblocking products for many years and will help prevent blocked drains in your home.
What are Drain Unblocking Products?
Drain unblocking products are common household drainage cleaners that help get rid of blockages. Drain unblocking products come in a variety of different types. Whether you want to use chemical cleaners or natural alternatives, quality drain unblocking products are made specially to help decompose most organic materials to help your drains flow normally again. You can find a wide variety of drain unblocking products sold all around the UK.
Biological Drain Cleaners
Biological products are great at unblocking stubborn drains. Utilising the power of enzymes, biological drain unblockers work to attack blockages that have built-up in the pipes. Biological drain cleaners work best on blockages or obstructions caused by natural materials such as hair and soap. More extensive issues may require a stronger solution.
Chemical Drain Cleaners
Chemical cleaners are the most widely used products on the market and can be found in every supermarket around the country. Not only are they a fantastic go-to cleaning product, but their powerful solutions can break through most blockages.
Remember, chemical cleaners of any kind can be harmful for your body and if your drainage involves use of a septic tank, chemical cleaners are a no-go as they contain an ingredient called sodium hydroxide and this can damage septic systems.
Natural Drain Unblocking Products
If you care about the products you use and work to protect the environment as much as possible, even in your daily cleaning tasks, natural products are probably your best bet. Natural drain unblockers include solutions such as sodium carbonate and boiling water. Letting this solution rest in your drains for 20-30 minutes before flushing it through with hot water is a great way to soften blockages and wash them away.
How Do Drain Unblocking Products Work?
Drain unblocking products can simply be poured down the drain where several chemical reactions happen at the same time. Some drain cleaners are so strong that they generate a chemical reaction so strong they generate heat at near-boiling temperatures. The high heat created by these chemical reactions help speed up the decomposition process to decompose hair, soap scum, and clog particles.
Let’s take a look at each of the drain unblocking product types, what they’re most useful for, how they work, and where you should use them.
Chemical Drain Cleaners, How They Work, and Where to Use Them
Chemical drain cleaners are one of the most popular types of drain unblocking products available. They work by creating a chemical reaction to help clean the pipes. This reaction creates bubbles which effectively speed up the unblocking process by loosening clog particles and clearing the pipes of blockages.
Chemical drain unblockers can be used throughout your home as they are also fantastic at killing bad bacteria commonly found in the bathroom and kitchen drain. However, chemical drain cleaners also have a number of negative aspects and, if you don’t know how to use them properly, they can do more damage than good.
Chemical Drain Products Can be Damaging
Using drain unblocking products can be risky and damaging for your drains in the following ways:
- Drain unblocking products sit in the pipes
- Some products can reach dangerously high heat levels
- If your drain pipes are PVC, old, or corroded, they can be easily damaged by strong drain unblocking products as they can dissolve the glue holding the pipes together.
Therefore, it is important to read the instructions of drain cleaning products properly before use. This ensures the product is right for your drain and won’t cause any damage to your drainage system.
Chemical Products Can be Unpredictable
Another negative aspect of some drain unblocking products is how unpredictable some products can be when combined with other cleaning chemicals. The reason for this is it is possible for small amounts of drain unblocking products to remain in your drain pipes after cleaning.
Therefore, if you use a chemical cleaning product afterwards it is possible the two mixed together will create toxic fumes when mixed together. This can be a health risk as you never know what kind of chemical reaction might be created.
Chemicals Can Irritate Skin, Eyes, and Lungs
Just like many other chemical cleaning products, if drain unblocking products get in your eyes, skin, hair, or lungs, they can burn and cause significant irritation. So, when using drain cleaning products, wear gloves at all times and apply the product carefully. Remember: never use a plunger with drain unblocking products so that there is no risk of splash-back.
Chemical Cleaners are a Quick Fix
Keep in mind that drain unblocking products should only be used as a quick fix; they should never be used as a long-term solution, as they can be harsh on your plumbing system and are bad for the environment.
Biological Drain Cleaners
Perfect for us in the shower or bath, biological drain unblockers do a fantastic job at breaking down clumps or hair or soap that have become caught in the pipes.
Biological Cleaners are Ideal for Partial Blockages
If you have a slow running drain, it is possible your drains are only partially blocked. If this is the case, it is possible to use a small amount of drain unblocking product to effectively break it down.
Biological drain cleaners are ideal for this job as they help break down any naturally-occurring blockages safely and effectively. What’s more, running the water afterwards will help flush out any loosened blockages leftover in the pipes. So, if you have partial blockages in your drainage system, use biological cleaners.
Biological Cleaners Cannot be Used on Serious Blockages
If your pipes are significantly blocked and the water has been backed up for a while, biological cleaners probably aren’t the best solution. While biological cleaners work very effectively on small blockages, they are unable to tackle serious blockages because they are not strong enough. If your blocked drains are very advanced, it is best to call in a drainage professional who can manually clear the blockage out to avoid pipe damage or flooding.
Natural Drain Unblocking Products
Caring for the environment effectively doesn’t just mean recycling and reducing your plastic use, it also means using natural cleaning products. Many cleaning products have contain chemicals in them that are harmful to the environment and putting them down your drains can wash them out into the oceans, affecting marine life significantly.
Therefore, natural drain unblocking products can be a very worthwhile solution.
Natural Products Unblock Blocked Drains
Having blocked drains is a serious problem that can cause a lot of issues within your drainage system, not least of all cracked or collapsed pipes, and flooding. You must prevent these problems at all costs.
One of the best ways you can keep your drains unblocked and flowing well is to clean them regularly with natural products, such as caustic soda. If you use natural products on your drains regularly, you’ll notice they’ll remain unblocked and you will not have to pay for any expensive repairs. However, the effectiveness of natural drain unblockers does depend significantly on how well you care for and maintain your drains.
Natural Products Do Not Clear Big Blockages
If you drains are significantly blocked, natural drain cleaners are probably not going to be that helpful. Rather, your drains will need professional attention to clear the blockage and return normal function. So, if you experience seriously blocked drains, call a professional to fix the problem for you rather than wasting your natural products on an issue that requires more.
Always Read the Product Instructions Before Use
Drain unblocking products are often a convenient do-it-yourself option for many homeowners, so are commonly available in a variety of hardware stores. While it has many applications (such as a short-term solution for getting rid of stuck hair), it should only be used with the proper precautions in place. Just as you wouldn’t use a product as strong as bleach without reading the label, you shouldn’t use a commercial drain treatment without first knowing the proper safety and usage instructions.
Call in the Drainage Professionals
Just like anything else, when it comes to your drains it is important to call in the professionals. After all, using quick-fix chemical cleaners can end up costing you more in the long run. That’s why we highly recommend you call our team at ASL to investigate the problem, identify the cause, and fix the issue without damaging your drains.
While chemical cleaners can be an effective short-term fix, they do not stop blockages altogether and drains that are significantly blocked should always be seen by a professional.