How to Use a Drain Cleaner: Simple Steps

We’re all familiar with the warning signs. Your sink starts taking its sweet time to drain. Soon after, the water starts forming pools around your feet in your shower. And then come the odors – wildly strange and unpleasant in all their glory! Ultimately, the drain is completely blocked, and against your better judgment, you are forced to take action this time. And so, armed with that good old bent wire-coat-hanger of yours, you proceed to wrestle back and forth with the annoying clog. But it just won’t go without a fight, will it? Well, that is where drain cleaners come in.

Chemical drain cleaners are by far the easiest and cheapest ways of unblocking a slow-flowing or clogged drain. In most cases, these products will be highly effective in their job of removing buildup. However, if not correctly used, they can cause damages to property or not achieve the desired results at all. Well, with this in mind, we have compiled a basic instruction manual that will apply to most chemical-based cleaners you’ll find out there. To ensure you get the best value for your money.

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Know Your Particular Drain Cleaners And The Type Of Drain It Is Meant For

1. What Type of Drain Cleaner Do You Have?

As you’ve seen by now, drain cleaners come in different types. We have alkaline-based cleaners, strong acid-based cleaners, and granulated crystals. Typically, they all rely on a form of alkali or strong acid to break down the clogged substance and dissolve it.

In this case, acid and alkaline cleaners will start working on the clog material the second you pour them. Granulated crystals, on the other hand, will need you to follow up by pouring down some water to activate them. 

It is important to note that alkaline cleaners work best on drains that are moving slow. They might not be as effective in unclogging drains with standing water. In this case, acidic cleaners will be your best bet. The reaction, in most cases, will also tend to be exothermic, which means some heat will be produced during the process.

2. Is Your Drain Cleaner Best Suited For Your Kind Of Drain?

Another important factor to consider is the kind of drain you intend to use the cleaner on. You see, different cleaners will work best on specific types of drains, and if used in the wrong environments, they may cause adverse effects. 

For example, most chemical drain cleaners are not recommended for use in septic systems since they would kill the bacteria that actually break down waste. This also applies to the drainages leading to the septic, including toilets, garbage disposals, tubs, and factures with grinder pumps or macerators.

Therefore, in such cases, you’ll want a cleaner specifically meant for a septic tank baffle. For instance, some drain cleaners use enzyme formulas to attach fat bonds and protein on clogs. These are harmless to the bacteria and, therefore, won’t affect the functioning of the septic.

Also, on the same, you may want to check the type of material used in the pipes since some drain cleaners can cause corrosion on old metals and plastic pipes. We have heavy-duty formulas as well that contain sulfuric acid or 100% lye, which, much as they are highly effective, they can be dangerous to untrained people.

How To Use Your Drain Cleaner

1. Follow Appropriate Safety Precautions 

Most drain cleaners are caustic in nature, which means if exposed to the eyes, skin, and mucous membrane, they can cause harmful effects. Some also react with the clog material explosively. For this reason, you will want to put on safety gear first. These include goggles, face masks or respirators, and rubber gloves that are stretch beyond your wrist.

2. Thereafter, If Your Drain Cleaner Is Liquid In Nature, Follow The Following Steps:

  • Open the drain cleaner bottle while grasping it by its handle (try not to squeeze or splash)
  • Measure the specified amount an pour it down the drain
  • Leave it for up to 30 minutes to work on and clear the clog
  • Flush it down with a lot of hot water

3. If Your Drain Cleaner Is Powder Or Crystal-Based, Follow The Following Steps:

  • Get rid of any standing water in the drain
  • Add about 1-3 tablespoons of the crystals into the drain
  • Follow it up with one cup of cold water
  • Leave it for 30 minutes to clear the clog
  • Flush down with cold water


At the end of the day, the results you get from your drain cleaner will greatly depend on how well you use it. We are confident that if you follow the steps mentioned above, your drainage will up and flowing in no time.