Watching the water in your kitchen or bathroom sink refuse to swirl down the drain is sure to give you feelings of frustration. A clogged drain can be such a bother!
When your sink does not drain, it will not take long for the water standing in the basin to become stagnant. Your first line of defense is most likely a plunger. If, after several minutes of intense plunging, the clog remains stubborn, you may be tempted to invest in drain cleaners.
Chemical drain cleaners are designed to eat through minor clogs in drains, allowing the water to flow freely again. While most professional plumbers do advise against using these cleaners – not only do they eat away at the clog, they can also eat away at your pipes – the average homeowner is bound to use a drain cleaner at some point.
So, if you find yourself standing in front of the drain cleaners at your local hardware store, keep one thing in mind – do NOT mix your drain cleaners!
Drain cleaners are not all the same. The chemicals and compounds used to create different drain cleaners means that they are not always compatible to mix. For instance, some drain cleaners use bleaches, while others use acids – both bleaches and acids will chew away at a clog, but if you mix different types of cleaners, you can get a severely toxic reaction. For example:
- Mixing an acid-based cleaner with a base cleaner could result in hot water coming up out of the drain – scalding hot water that could burn you.
- Mixing an acid-based cleaner with a bleach-based cleaner can have even more toxic results – chlorine gas.
Chlorine gas can be quite irritating to the skin, lungs and eyes. In large amounts, it can be deadly. Chlorine gas was even used during WWI as a chemical weapon!
To avoid the dangers of accidentally mixing drain cleaners, your best bet is to not use the cleaners at all and call a plumber for help. However, if you are compelled to give drain cleaners a try, make sure to never mix different kinds of cleaners.