Home Improvement

Do Drain Cleaners Damage Pipes?

Most homeowners often run to liquid drain cleaners when they can’t get a plumber. Or when a plumber’s stick cannot unblock their drain clog. But are drain cleaners safe? Which model is effective? Well, in this post I respond to the following question – do drain cleaners damage pipes?

In the meantime, to understand the facts about the different models check the following guide to learn more about drain cleaners.

Do Drain Cleaners Damage Pipes

Enzymatic cleaners are 100% safe

The various drain cleaners available are acidic, acoustic enzymatic, lye (sodium hydroxide) and basic. However, enzymatic cleaners are the safest to use with your drain cleaners as they’ll not corrode the drain construction material.

Enzymatic drain deposit enzymes into the drain clog. The enzymes eat away the clog matters such as fats and carbohydrates. This allows them to reproduce rapidly – and thus no chemical is involved.

Therefore, it’s evident that if the concentration of the other drain cleaners is not taken into consideration, the liquids might corrode the pipework – although in a slow rate. For example, acoustic and strong alkaline cleaners will react with drain pipes. This results in generation gases and heat that could harm the pipework.

Lye, acid and caustic cleaners corrode old pipes

When it comes to old pipes in your drain work, the system might be at risk if you use either concentrated lye, acidic and caustic drain cleaners. The mode of action of these cleaners is through the generation of fumes and hot gases. These gases then burn the clog and thus clear the blockage.

The above-mentioned drain cleaners will corrode old or dilapidated PVC, copper or Galvanized steel pipes in your drainage systems. However, you must regulate the amount of drain cleaner that you use when unblocking drain clogs. Important to remember is to always read the product label instruction before deciding to add the amount of cleaner in the pipework.

What about eco-friendly/green drain cleaners?

As a homeowner, maybe you already know that it’s better safe than sorry. Therefore, when choosing your drain cleaner, ensure that it’s safe for you, your kids, and pets and the drain system. However, the key takeaway at this point is that you’ll need to choose a drain cleaner labeled as environmentally safe and great for your drain pipes.

In fact, the green drain cleaners will be safe for both human beings and pets. Therefore, any spillage in the bathroom or around the kitchen sinks won’t result in poisoning around your house. This can be contrasted to the highly concentrated acoustic, acidic or basic drain cleaners that could be toxic.


It’s now clear that drain cleaners are safe for unclogging blocked drains. In the same light, every homeowner needs to make sure that they don’t waste their resources (in form of pouring excessive drain cleaner) and hence save on running their household bills.

For anyone who cannot effectively do DIY drain cleaning, it would be wise to hire a professional plumber of drain cleaner. Remember when considering the safest drain cleaners for your drain work, think about enzymatic drain cleaners followed by the eco-friendly/ green drain cleaners.


  • Rebecca Gardner

    Thanks for explaining that certain kinds of drain cleaners can damage any pipe if we use too much. I was thinking about buying some cleaner from the store because the drain in my bathroom sink started working slowly yesterday morning. Maybe I’ll start looking for a local drain cleaning service to hire instead since I don’t want to risk damaging my pipes by mistake.

  • ESCO

    Hello there! The article is so in-depth, thanks for sharing! Just wanted to add that there are plenty of potential hazards associated with drain cleaners and not all of them have been mentioned here. If you want to know more about it, you can check our article on drain cleaners, hopefully, your readers will find it useful

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