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Old 05-28-2018, 03:13 AM #1
St. Phatty
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Question Plumbing Question, Pros & Cons of Drano

I have 1 toilet and maybe 3 sinks that needs some assistance getting un-clogged.

What I'm not sure about is, using a Drano type product.

What if the Drano doesn't work ? Then the person using the snake or unbolting pipes, has to deal with not only sewage, but sewage with Lye (or acid) mixed in.

That seems like a real bad situation for whoever has to face it.

I asked a guy at the gym and we talked and agreed, I could always wear a welding mask if I have to work on the drain when it has a caustic substance mixed in. Safety glasses always fog up on me.

They sell dilute Drano type products at the $ store.

Do any IC Mag members with experience fixing plumbing problems have strong feelings about using Caustic substances like Drano ?

Good to use, bad to use, favorite product, any guidance would be appreciated.

You guys are my front line for home improvement !

I'm trying to not call a plumber, but if I do call a plumber I would rather not hand them a sh-t situation with difficult substances involved.


I admit I'm being kind of generic when I say "Drano". Reading the labels, most of them are alkaline, and a few are acidic.
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Old 05-28-2018, 03:18 AM #2
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Drano is a weak version of some kind of acid many time/most times it doesn't work.

What is clogging your drain ? do you know ?

After a few drain problems I invested in a 30ft "snake" for around $15. it has saved me a few times from hiring a plumber who will usually bring a "snake".
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Old 05-28-2018, 03:41 AM #3
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a multiple clog situation sounds nasty, separate clogs or 1 big one?
lye does make a bad situation worse if it doesn't work
i've used lye with very good results, but that's because i'm was sure lye would work on the clog
my vote is no lye until you're sure what you're dealing with
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Old 05-28-2018, 04:06 AM #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by green404 View Post
Drano is a weak version of some kind of acid many time/most times it doesn't work.

What is clogging your drain ? do you know ?

After a few drain problems I invested in a 30ft "snake" for around $15. it has saved me a few times from hiring a plumber who will usually bring a "snake".
Bathroom sink drain - Baking Soda. I rinse my teeth with alkaline water because I have problems with acidic plaque.

Toilet - Poop Plaque ? Is that a thing ? Sure sounds smelly.

Kitchen Sink - don't remember. There was a problem and I worked around it.

I think I need to concentrate on a fundamental skill, running the plumbing snake. Just jam it in every plumbing orifice it will go in, turn the crank, get comfortable using it.

It's like I'm afraid of it because I never use it !

I think a good work mode for home handyman folks is TRAINING people like me.

I don't mind wrestling with a problem, if I know I will get to the finish line. Having a "Handyman Coach", that's what I need.

a "Handyman Coach" who will take Cannabis in partial payment for their time ... Hmmm.
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Old 05-28-2018, 04:13 AM #5
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ok, sounds like multiple problems
and if it's slow running that's significant because you can flush through the chemical, if you choose that route
(note) - slow running can become stopped with chemical because some is dislodged and can clog a small opening
there is the 'foaming pipe snake' stuff, that can be useful where you have a layer that is slowing down the drain
as for cons, i will give you one con for lye
lye burns to the eye will not heal well, lye in the eye and it's game over
an eye might recover from an acid burn, depends on the particulars
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Old 05-28-2018, 04:16 AM #6
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Snake is the better way to go, even if you had acid strong enough it would never do as good a job as the snake. Much cheaper than any service call.

Just stick it in a few inches, crank it to make it spin, go farther until you think you got enough. Return if still stuck. Worse part is keeping the area clean when removing snake, black stinky stuff will coat snake
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Old 05-28-2018, 04:25 AM #7
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This reminded me of Robs story. I think you might need a poop knife.
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Old 05-28-2018, 04:28 AM #8
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... an ounce of prevention is worth a # of cure. Drano is a "maintenance" component vs a fix it thing. It is normally used with excellent results. I tbs/month down the drain (as prescribed) and no need for a snake. Bathroom drains? Take the P trap off and get rid of the "hair" in there. Usual colprit
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Old 05-28-2018, 04:49 AM #9
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I have used stronger sulfuric acid to clear out drains, it is hard to find. The acid will eat soap and grease, maybe even hair. I have never had luck with "draino" only with the concentrated sulfuric acid but I can't find it anymore.

The sink you take apart the goose neck and usually get most of the clog out. If that doesn't fix it,, you need the snake beyond it.

Latex gloves if you don't have them. or find a reasonable plumber, that's the easy route.
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Old 05-28-2018, 04:41 PM #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by redlaser View Post
Just stick it in a few inches, crank it to make it spin, go farther until you think you got enough. Return if still stuck. Worse part is keeping the area clean when removing snake, black stinky stuff will coat snake
Oh, so, like cleaning a water pipe !

I've been training for this job my entire life.


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I have used stronger sulfuric acid to clear out drains, it is hard to find. The acid will eat soap and grease, maybe even hair. I have never had luck with "draino" only with the concentrated sulfuric acid but I can't find it anymore.
I know people who use heated sulfuric acid to do electrolytic extraction of precious metals. Their process scares me to death.

I've used sulfuric acid to make Nitric Acid. Very serious stuff, a force of nature that doesn't stop for human flesh.
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