Many households carry Drano or a similar type of clog-reducing chemical. Families use them to flush out drains. Drano is not always the best solution, however; in fact, it can lead to worse plumbing issues than those it’s meant to solve.
Safe and green alternatives are available to consumers who are concerned about the potential effects of Drano on one’s home and the environment. Baking soda, plungers, drain snakes, and manual cleaning of pipe traps are tools and strategies that homeowners might prefer for maintaining their systems.
Consider these four issues or concerns with regard to the use of Drano and similar drain cleaner products.
1. Environmentally Unsafe Ingredients
Many commercial drain cleaners contain unsafe ingredients that can be detrimental to residential and water environments. Cleaning agents like Drano contain lye and other highly toxic materials. Liquid waste that has high levels of such toxins can make its way into the sewage system and out to rivers, streams, and the ocean, and take its toll on plants and wildlife, possibly even contaminate food and water supplies.
As a rule of thumb, families should keep all cleaning supplies and chemicals far away from food, children, and pet areas. Make sure to keep the phone numbers for local and national poison control hotlines handy, in case of accidental spillage or contact with these chemicals. The hotlines can provide appropriate disposal instructions for harmful chemicals and advice during a poison emergency.
2. Risks to Children
Many cleaning agents, including Drano, sport warning labels to inform consumers about physical threats the ingredients may pose. Unfortunately, children often cannot or do not read labels when they are playing and exploring. Practice good home safety tactics by removing these harmful chemicals from use altogether and replacing them with less toxic alternatives.
If a household requires the use of hazardous chemicals, they should be stored in a place where children cannot gain access. The active ingredients in Drano can cause serious, life-threatening symptoms in a very short time, when a person is exposed to the cleaner. Eyes and skin can be severely burned if Drano comes into contact with them. If a spill causes these chemicals to get onto clothing, one should remove the article of clothing immediately and rinse the person’s skin.
Never mix Drano with other cleaners, because the combination can create deadly gasses. In the event that chemical gasses are released, the area should be evacuated immediately. If a human being swallows some Drano, call a poison control center and seek medical attention immediately.
3. Further Pipe Damage
The chemicals in Drano may not solve all clogs, and they can lead to a worsening of pipe issues. Drano can build up in a clogged area, and corrode the pipe. With repeated use, these chemicals may eat their way through a pipe, and cause a leak or a collapse of the system.
Homeowners and plumbers should avoid repeated use of chemical cleaners. Safer plumbing alternatives can be chosen to resolve most drain issues. Before calling in professional help, apply gentle suction to a drain with a plunger. Dangerous corrosion of your pipes can be avoided by the use of baking soda, vinegar, and other eco-friendly chemicals.
4. A Danger to Pets
Like children, pets are susceptible to accidental poisoning by household chemicals. They are not able to read cautionary labels and cannot ask for help when they encounter and ingest harmful materials. Caring for pets should include taking proper safety precautions, such as moving cleaners to higher shelves where furry critters cannot reach the containers.
Animals can also track harmful substances around the house. Avoid pouring or spraying cleaners on surfaces over which a pet may soon walk. Otherwise, your four-legged housemates may track harmful chemicals around the house, develop irritated paws, and end up ingesting toxic substances by trying to clean themselves.