Q&A / 

Liquid Drain Cleaners

Liquid Drain Cleaners

Go to any grocery or super store and you will find liquid drain cleaners on the shelves. They are commonly found in or near the aisles where household cleaners are located. I visited several stores and two names overpowered the displays. You are probably familiar with both: Drano and Liquid Plumr (both are registered trademarks). The products come in different sizes and different formulations.

I also found a product that looked similar in packaging to Drano and Liquid Plumr. It was called The Works. It is labeled as a liquid drain cleaner just like the other two. In fact, it is easy to mistake them. The problem is that the chemistry of The Works is completely different than Drano or Liquid Plumr. The Works active ingredient is hydrochloric acid. Drano and Liquid Plumr operate at the other end of the chemical pH spectrum - they are alkaline bases. Bases and acids work to dissolve clogs and organic matter. If you use chemicals that are too strong, they can dissolve you and your plumbing system! Most of the off the shelf products can burn your skin or eyes so be careful.

One of the biggest dangers is mixing chemicals. Absolutely READ the label instructions. Don't become an amateur chemist and start pouring, different drain cleaners, ammonia, toilet bowl cleaners, etc. in with the drain cleaner you intend to use. Toxic gases can result as well as violent eruptions. Hot water also can accelerate or worsen the reactions. If drain cleaners don't work for you and you call in a plumbing service, be sure to warn them that chemicals are in the pipes.

You can call the companies below to get information about their products. Drano and Liquid Plumr both have helpful toll free numbers that offer drain clearing assistance over the phone! I used the Drano Maximum Strength product to clear my tub drain. It is clearly marked that it has a thick formulation. Be patient and let the products work a while.

  • Drano
    9:00 to 9:00 Eastern
    S. C. Johnson & Son, Inc.
    Racine, Wisconsin 53403-2236
    Drano comes in regular strength, thick Max Strength (the one I used), enzyme buildup remover AND the new FOAMER clog remover.
  • Liquid Plumr
    Clorox Company
    Oakland, California 94612
    Liquid Plumr appears to match Drano product for product. Both have regular, thick, etc. Their chemistry is also very similar. Both use chlorine bleach and sodium hydroxide as the active ingredients.

  • The Works
    P.O. Box 395
    Ashley, Indiana 46705

Related Articles:   Minimize Clogged Drains - Plumbing Installation TipsDrain Cleaners - What Works / What Doesn'tDrain Cleaners - Thick is Good

Column B246


2 Responses to Liquid Drain Cleaners

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *