How Do “Liquid Plumbers” Work?
Explaining The Basics Of Liquid Drain Cleaners
We’ve all been there. You’ve got a shower that won’t drain properly, a toilet that’s clogged, or a kitchen sink that’s backing up. You head to your closet, grab a bottle of “liquid plumber,” and pour it down the drain.
Then, you let it sit for a while, follow up with a little bit of hot water, and boom! Your drain is clear – just like magic.
But it’s not magic! Read on to learn a bit more about how liquid drain cleaners work, and why they’re not always enough to clear away stubborn clogs on their own.
How Do Liquid Drain Cleaners Work?
All liquid drain cleaners do the same basic thing. They use chemicals to break apart clogs by destroying biofilm and organic matter. There are two common types of liquid drain cleaners available to consumers.
- Chemical drain cleaners – These drain cleaners use chemicals like lye, bleach, and caustic potash. These chemicals are very caustic to organic materials, and weaken the chemical bonds holding clogs together, causing them to break apart.
- Oxidizing drain cleaners – This type of drain cleaner usually uses bleach and other ingredients like nitrates and peroxides. These cause “oxidization,” which breaks down fatty acids and other organic compounds that typically cause clogs, removing the clog.
The third type of liquid drain cleaner is acid drain cleaner, which uses sulfuric acid to destroy clogs. This is usually only available to plumbing professionals, since it’s extremely caustic and dangerous, and can cause severe, life-threatening chemical and thermal burns if it touches your bare skin.
What If My Liquid Drain Cleaner Can’t Eliminate The Clog?
Sometimes, a liquid drain cleaner may not be enough to eliminate the clog. This will usually happen if the clog is very large, such as a big clog of shampoo, soap, and hair in the shower, or a bunch of food is stuck in the kitchen sink.
You don’t have to call a plumber yet, though. There are a few other steps you can take to unclog the drain.
- Try a plunger – The magic of suction may be enough to help break up the clog. One common mistake that people make when using plungers is that they use a toilet plunger for their sink – or vice-versa. Don’t make this mistake. Using the wrong plunger means you won’t get a good seal, so the suction will be lacking, and the clog will remain intact.
Sink plungers have a handle and a flat base, so they can seal properly on a flat tub, shower, or sink drain. Toilet plungers have a flared tip, which fits into the drain opening in the toilet bowl. Choose the right tool for the job!
- Grab a wire hanger – This may be enough to break up and remove clogs that are very close to the drain openings – for example, a clog that’s close to the opening of your toilet, or a hair clog in your shower. Unwind the wire hanger, and then jam it into the drain, moving it back and forth to agitate the clog and break it up.
- Buy a drain snake – A drain snake will do the same thing as a wire hanger – but at a much larger scale! This tool consists of flexible metal tubing with a drill or auger-like tip. You unwind the tubing into your drain until you hit the clog. Then, you crank the snake by hand or with a drill, and the tip digs into the clog, breaking it apart and clearing the clog.
Got A Stubborn Clog In Santa Cruz? Contact Anytime Plumbing For Help
If liquid plumber combined with the above steps can’t unclog the drain, you’ll probably need to call a pro. It’s unlikely that you’ll be able to resolve the issue on your own.
So don’t wait – call Anytime Plumbing at 831-431-6593, or contact us online to schedule service. Our plumbing pros are always standing by and are ready to help.