How to Use Drain Blockage Cleaner and When you Should Not Use It

It’s a common household problem – water taking forever to go down the sink or bathtub plug hole, a gurgling sound coming from the drain, and the unpleasant realisation that there’s a blockage. But don’t worry! In this guide, we’ll walk you through the process of using a chemical drain blockage cleaner, so you can get things running smoothly again. 

Why Might You Need to Unblock a Drain?

Almost every home will, at some point, grapple with the annoyance of a clogged drains. Over time, debris, hair, and food leftovers get down the drains, building up and preventing wastewater from passing through. Chemical drain cleaners can offer a swift and cost-effective solution to this issue. However, as with all powerful products, it’s crucial to know how to use them correctly. 

dirty blocked drain

Step by Step: Using Your Drain Blockage Cleaner

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to use drain blockage cleaner: 

1. Safety First

Are chemical drain cleaners safe? Using a chemical drain cleaner means dealing with powerful substances designed to break down even the nastiest of blockages. As effective as they are, they can also pose risks if not handled with care. Before you dive in, ensure that you are wearing rubber gloves. Many chemical drain cleaners contain harsh agents that can irritate the skin. 

You may also want to wear protective goggles, to protect your eyes from potential splashbacks. Plus, make sure that the area is well-ventilated. Many drain cleaners emit strong fumes that can be harmful if inhaled in large amounts. 

2. Read the Instructions

Each brand of drain cleaner may have slightly different guidelines. It’s essential to read the instructions on the bottle carefully. These will typically provide you with information on how much product to use and the waiting time required. 

3. Pour Slowly and Steadily

The manner in which you introduce the cleaner into the blocked passage is crucial for both your safety and the effectiveness of the product. Open the bottle and pour the recommended amount of cleaner down the blocked drain. Avoid dumping the entire amount suddenly. A slow, steady pour will ensure that the chemical liquid evenly distributes throughout the blockage. Plus, it reduces the risk of splashes that can damage countertops, sinks, and most crucially, pose a direct risk to your health. 

If the bottle’s opening is wide or you are concerned about controlling the flow, consider using a funnel to provide more precision.  

4. Wait Patiently

Once you have added the cleaner, patience is key. Allow it to work its magic. This can range from 15 minutes to several hours, depending on the product and severity of the blockage. 

5. Rinse with Warm Water

After waiting the recommended time, rinse the drain with plenty of warm or boiling water, depending on the instructions. This helps to flush away the chemical residue and any dislodged blockage particles. 

6. Inspect the Flow

Turn on the tap and let the water run for a couple of minutes. This will help you determine if the blockage has been successfully cleared. If the drain is still slow, consider a second application or alternative methods. 

When Not to Use Drain Cleaner

While chemical drain cleaners can be a godsend when you find a blockage in your home, there are some instances where they might not be the best choice. 

Down the Toilet

Never use chemical drain cleaners in the toilet. The porcelain can react adversely to the chemicals, leading to discolouration or even damage. Plus, if the cleaner doesn’t work and you need to use a plunger later, the chemicals can splash and cause harm. 

There are ways to unblock your toilet without using drain cleaner.

Septic Systems

For homes with a septic system, chemical drain cleaners are a no-go. They can destroy the essential bacteria in the system that break down waste, leading to even bigger problems in the long run. 

Older Pipework

In homes with aged plumbing, the pipes may not be equipped to handle the harshness of chemical cleaners. Over time, repeated use of these chemicals can corrode and weaken the pipes, leading to leaks or breaks. 

After Using Another Product

If you have tried one brand of drain cleaner and it hasn’t worked, resist the temptation to immediately try another. Mixing different cleaners can cause harmful a chemical reaction, resulting in the release of toxic fumes. 

Frequent Blockages

If you are often reaching for the drain cleaner, it might indicate a more significant issue. Frequent blockages could be a sign of structural problems or tree roots invading your pipes. In these cases, chemical cleaners only offer a temporary fix, and professional intervention is likely to be required. 

Drains with Standing Water

If a blockage is so severe that there’s standing water in your sink or bathtub, a chemical cleaner might not be effective. The standing water can dilute the cleaner, reducing its efficiency. 

When to Call an Expert

As handy as chemical drain cleaners can be, sometimes the blockage is too stubborn or located in a place that chemicals can’t reach. In such cases, or if you’re wary of using harsh chemicals at home, there’s an even better solution: calling in drainage experts. 

As professionals, we have the tools, knowledge, and expertise to address blockages safely and thoroughly. We will not only clear the blockage but also provide insights into its cause, helping prevent future problems. 

Whether you’re dealing with a stubborn blockage that won’t go away or a problem that drain blockage cleaner isn’t recommended for, trust First Response Drainage for all your drain unblockage needs in London and Hertfordshire. 

Our professionals are ready to respond quickly to your concerns, allowing you to get on with your day. Contact First Response today to find out more about how we can help.