Are you looking for help with projects around the house? Our blog offers helpful tips and DIY videos, or schedule a service appointment today.

A look at the different kinds of drain cleaners

Cleaning Supplies

Clogged drains are a problem almost every homeowner faces eventually. Whether it is a backup of grease or a piece of jewelry that slipped off your hand while doing the dishes, these blockages are sure to come at some point in the lifetime of a drain.

When your sink begins to back up, there are many potential solutions available to you, though not all of them can successfully remedy the issue. One of the first steps most homeowners take is using a store-bought chemical solution that pours down the drain and breaks up the clog. There are generally three different kinds of chemical solutions that you can choose from to attack your drain that are designed to break down specific materials.

Caustic drain cleaners contain bases such as lye or potash. Essentially, these chemicals will react with backed up grease and turn it into a soap-like substance so that it breaks down and flows down the drain with warm running water.

Another variety contains oxidizing chemicals like bleach, peroxides and nitrates. These chemicals are heavier than water so that they will sink down the drain through backed-up water releasing heat and gas that, ideally, will clear the pipe.

Some of the more powerful drain cleaners contain high concentrations of sulfuric or hydrochloric acids that literally eat away at the material causing the clog. These cleaners can be dangerous if they contact skin and are often not even sold in stores - instead, they are generally only used by plumbing professionals.

It's best to contact a Gaithersburg plumber like John C. Flood to tackle any particularly troublesome clogs. With over 100 years' experience serving the area, there are few plumbing issues we can't resolve.