What is the pH of drain cleaners?

Coker Septic | May, 26

Try to imagine how much stuff, grease, hair, and everything else goes through pipes in your house, especially kitchen and bathroom ones. You may start to wonder how come it doesn’t clog as much. And just thinking about it makes you want to go and clean them immediately. Now and then, a clog happens, and when it does, it’s a nightmare to sort out. So, the easiest solution is to pour strong chemicals to unblock it. Well, it does help with sorting it out. But have you ever wondered what the proper way to use them and not damage the whole drain system is? And what is it in those products that can cause damage? How do all those chemicals affect your health? It all lies in the drain cleaners’ pH value.

What is the pH of drain cleaners?

Types of drain cleaners

A drain cleaner is a product that unblocks sewer pipes or clogged wastewater drains. There are many varieties on the market. The main difference between the available drain cleaners is in their pH level. The pH level in them determines whether they’re acids or bases. And why is that important? Stay tuned, and you’ll find out.

Drain cleaners can be divided into two categories:

Chemical drain cleaners

This type of drain cleaner usually comes in two forms: solid and liquid and have a subsection of their own. These cleaners are fast and effective but dangerous. You have to be extremely cautious if using them on your own because they can cause burns on your skin, harm your respiratory tract as they produce poisonous fumes, and can also damage pipes. That’s why it’s best to schedule a call with a septic service to come and deal with the clog.

According to the ingredients they consist, the subsections are formed, so you have:

    • Oxidizing drain cleaners, which contain oxidizers like sodium hypochlorite
    • Caustic drain cleaners, which contain caustics such as lye, caustic soda, or sodium hydroxide
    • Acid-based drain cleaners, which contain acids like sulfuric and hydrochloric acids

Enzymatic drain cleaners

Drain cleaners that fall under this type usually contain bacteria or concreted enzymes. These components help degrade the organic waste and keep the drains clean. They are considered eco-friendly and safe to use on your own. However, because they aren’t strong like chemical ones, their affection needs time and has shorter action (they won’t solve the clog permanently).

Precautions to take while using drain cleaners

No matter the pH of drain cleaner, there are some instructions and tips you should follow when using them:

Follow the instructions and be cautious

These strong liquids require extreme caution as they can result in serious injuries. Make sure you read the instructions written on the back of the product carefully. Don’t do things in a hurry. Take time and have your full attention if you’re planning on unclogging your draining system.

Wear protective gear

Protective gear includes gloves that can prevent burns, a mask if you have one in handy, anything that can keep your eyes safe, and don’t use drain cleaners barefoot or wearing sandals/flip flops.

Provide ventilation

The majority of chemicals that exist have a strong smell. Since they can produce toxic gasses and fumes, they can affect your respiratory system. That’s why you should open all the windows and turn on any kind of ventilation you own to ensure sufficient air circulation.

Don’t mix with other products

Even though this might be stated in the instructions, it has to be mentioned separately. Drain cleaners mostly contain strong chemical compounds that can cause a strong and harmful chemical reaction if mixed with anything else. Those reactions can cause serious injuries. Therefore, to prevent dangerous reactions from taking place, don’t mix drain cleaners with any other product.

The safest option is always to call professionals. There are several options that won’t harm you, nor your plumbing pipes that a plumber specialized in drain cleaning can give you. The blockage can be removed with other techniques like hydro jetting and rooting, and the emergency septic service Miami offers it all. 

How to prevent the drain from clogging

Even though there are ways to unclog the drains, you may want to avoid getting them blocked in the first place:

  • Avoid flushing food scraps down the drain. 
  • Avoid pouring grease or cooking oil down the drain.
  • Once a week, pour a bowl of boiling water down the drain to flush any grease, fat, and food particles that may have collected inside the pipes.
  • Avoid flushing wet wipes or kitchen paper down the toilet as they can block the drain.
  • Use drain stoppers both in the kitchen and bathroom.

The pH of drain cleaners

The scale of pH levels ranges between 0-14. Level 0 is the most acidic, 7 is the neutral point, and 14 is the most basic. The pH level of any substance refers to the potential of hydrogen. By looking at the pH level of drain cleaners, you can determine how acidic or basic the cleaner is.

Now we go back to drain cleaners categories and subsections of chemical cleaners. Oxidizing drain cleaners contain sodium hypochlorite, which is a base. Its pH level is 11 in diluted form and goes up to 13 in concentrated form, so we can say that this type of chemical cleaner is basic. Then we have caustic drain cleaners whose pH goes from 12 to 14 because chemicals that are part of it have that pH level range. So, these cleaners are basic as well. And last but not least are acidic drain cleaners that are acidic, as their name says. They contain ingredients whose pH ranges between 0 and 1, and that is the range of pH value of this type of drain cleaner as well.

Final thoughts

If you live in a building, a clog can happen in any apartment, causing the whole building to suffer. But if you live in a house, it may cause a problem with your whole septic system, and then drain field repair is needed.

To avoid problems with your draining system in the first place, you should make sure to maintain it regularly. If clogging occurs, you can always use drain cleaners for a quick repair but get informed which pH levels of drain cleaners are suitable with your pipe system. And remember, drain cleaners won’t completely dissolve grease, hair, and other things that caused the clogging, and the clog can occur again.