A Note about Drain Cleaners

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how to fix smelly drains

I recently came across a blog post on Twitter from another plumber in relation to the use of store bought Drain Cleaners in the home to clear away blocked drains. He advised not to use them as they were only a temporary fix and harmful to one’s health and the environment. When I looked at his location, I realized he was a plumber from the UK, but his point of view piqued my interest.

I have discussed the use of drain cleaners here for the specific purpose of getting rid of sediment at the bottom of shower and floor wastes that cause bathrooms to smell. It can also be used to unblock drains but sometimes the use of a jet rodding machine is needed to fully blast the blockage away.

Plumbers use Mo-Flo by Momar in Australia to unblock partially blocked drains, urinal wastes and to clear away unwanted smells from the bottom of drains.

The UK plumber highlighted how the store bought cleaners have chemicals like sulfuric acid, caustic soda, and sodium hydroxide and their main function is to melt or “eat away” at whatever it is causing the blockage in the drain such as hair, dirt, grease and soap. He explains that such chemicals when entering the sewer can then travel to water treatment plants where it can enter our water system.

Firstly we have powerful water treatment plants in Australia, and secondly recycled water is not used for drinking purposes… (yet) and thirdly all water is tested to a high standard before it comes to your tap for human consumption.

A quick look at Mo-Flo’s technical data sheet states that it is safe for use on septic tanks and the company that manufacture’s the product has done extensive research on their product for its safe usage.

I can’t comment on store bought cleaners like Draino because I have never used them but I have heard from customers that they don’t always work and this is not because of the product itself, but because the blockage is a bigger problem and requires the use of a plumber to investigate it further.

In a perfect world, we wouldn’t pour chemicals down our drains or any harmful liquids for that matter, but often the convenience of a sewerage system is taken for granted and an ‘out of sight, out of mind’ approach to what we flush down the toilet and down our drains is adopted.

As a plumber, I can put my hand up to having this approach with Mo-Flo – only because I have assumed that what I have bought is safe and because I know it’s able to fix a problem efficiently and effectively for a customer. (I’ve also used it on my own drains) But should Australia go down the track of using recycled water to top up it’s drinking water supply, I would consider which jobs really required the use of drain cleaning products.

What are your thoughts?