Before you pour that chemical drain cleaner down your sink, tub, or shower, you’ll want to read this– chemical drain cleaners aren’t for everyone. In fact, they are probably not for you if you live in the Phoenix area and your house is more than 30 years old.  

Chemical drain cleaners can do an incredible job of clearing some stoppages, such as hair, by dissolving the blockage with chemicals. Well, what’s the catch? Those same chemicals that “cleaned” everything out can actually dissolve through your drain line. Chemical drain cleaners should only be used on sewer and drain lines that are plastic and in great condition.  Even if you see that the drain line under your bathroom or kitchen sink is white or black plastic, do you know for sure what type of pipe you have behind the wall and under the floor? 

Chemical Drain Cleaners Can Eat Through Your Pipe

 Thousands of times during my career I have seen the tragedy unfold; a client has, what seems to be, a simple stoppage in their tub, shower, or sink and they grab a bottle of chemical drain cleaner from their local hardware store. They pour the cleaner down the drain expecting to see a magical swoosh as the chemical eats through the stoppage. Sadly, and all too often, the chemical drain cleaner ends up eating through the drain line creating the need for big repairs. We’ve had to remove bathtubs and showers to replace the p-trap underneath after a chemical drain cleaner was used and the integrity of the drain could not combat the solution itself.  

Cast Iron and Orangeburg Drain Lines Are Not Recommended for Chemical Drain Cleaners

 The drain lines inside your wall and under your floors could be cast iron or Orangeburg which can mean big trouble if you put chemical drain cleaners down your line. Cast iron lines are metal and metal exposed to water for decades, as you can imagine, may become very brittle and extremely fragile. Cast iron drain lines are still used to this day, especially in commercial applications, but not so much in residential buildings anymore. Orangeburg pipe is also known as fiber conduit. Orangeburg is made from layers of wood pulp and asphalt that have been pressed together, overtime becoming a paper like substance that’s no longer able to hold shape making it very fragile. Orangeburg was a popular product to use in homes from the early 1940’s to the late 1970’s.

Don’t Get Me Wrong: It’s Not the Fault of the Chemical That Your Drains Are in Bad Shape

I might sound like I am completely bashing chemical drain cleaners; I am not. It is not the fault of the drain cleaner that your drain lines are old and in need of repair or replacement. If you have cast iron drain lines or Orangeburg drain lines, repair or replacement is going to be inevitable. Simply, I’m trying to warn you to prevent speeding up that deterioration process from creating a hole in your pipe. 

If you have cast iron or Orangeburg drain lines, stoppages are simply a symptom of the problem, not the problem itself. Experiencing chronic stoppages could be a sign of a larger problem that should be addressed right away.  

Not Sure if You Have A Cast Iron or Orangeburg?

 If you’re experiencing stoppages, then it is time to get to the root of the problem, which is very likely an issue with your drain line. A camera inspection of your sewer and drain system can determine what kind of pipe you have as well as determine the cause of your stoppages.  Whether your stoppages are caused by corroded cast iron pipe, crushed Orangeburg, roots in your line or something else entirely, we can quickly determine the cause of your problem and provide you solutions to get your drain system running perfectly again. 

Never Put Chemical Drain Cleaners Down Your Disposal

Is your kitchen sink backed up? Take my advice and don’t put chemical drain cleaners down your disposal! Chemical drain cleaners can cause damage to the inside of your disposal causing leakages. If your disposal has a stoppage, you’re better off resetting the disposal or unjamming it rather than putting chemicals of any kind inside of it.