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Why DIY Drain Cleaning is a Bad Idea

Why DIY Drain Cleaning is a Bad Idea

What’s the first thing you’ll do when your pipes get clogged? We know, you’re going to google it and reach for the best-advertised chemical drain cleaner. It’s certainly one of the simplest solutions you can opt for, but that still doesn’t mean it’s the best one. Yes, these products will provide quick results at a low cost, but will they be safe for you and your drains?

There’s a reason why people choose professional plumbing services instead of dealing with clogged drains on their own. DIY drain cleaning can be more challenging than you think, especially without the right tools and cleaning products. In fact, you can do more harm than good when relying on shady chemicals and techniques you don’t know much about. Keep reading to find out why DIY drain cleaning is a bad idea and what you can do instead.

Why Avoid Drain Cleaners?

The truth behind drain cleaners is a scary one. Most of these products contain harsh chemicals that are harmful to your pipes and can do a lot of damage to the entire plumbing system. Cleaners rich in sodium hydroxide and sulfuric acid are extremely corrosive and known to cause excessive damage to the pipes over time. Plus, these chemicals tend to linger in the air and release toxins harmful to human beings. You can become seriously ill if you inhale these vapors during the cleaning process!

If you still want to try out one of these liquids, go for a natural enzymatic product. Natural enzymes can break organic material and bacteria found in the drains without releasing extremely harmful toxins. These products are meant for minor clogs, though, so they won’t resolve larger issues in the drains. If you have a big clog somewhere in the system, take no chances and opt for professional drain cleaning services.

DIY Drain Maintenance

Don’t get us on the wrong side, you can still use your DIY skills to unclog drains safely and without professional help. If your drains are a little slow or you want to perform regular DIY drain maintenance to avoid problems in the future, there are some easy and inexpensive solutions you can go for.

Homemade Drain Cleaners

Homemade drain cleaners are much better than those available in stores because they are based on safer formulas. You know exactly what you put in the mix, so there are no surprises regarding harsh chemicals. Here are our suggestions for DIY drain cleaners:

  • Hot Water. Yes, it’s that simple. Hot water can help you eliminate small clogs and clean pipes regularly. You only need to pour a large pot of very hot (not boiling) water down the drain and flush the drains afterward with some cool water.
  • Baking Soda and Vinegar. This one is a classic. Pour half a cup of baking soda down the drain and follow it with half a cup of vinegar. Let it sit overnight and flush the drains with hot water in the morning. That’s it! You can repeat this action once per month for drain maintenance.
  • Baking Soda and Lemon Juice. This method is the same as the previous one – it just uses lemon instead of vinegar. Lemon juice is a better option for those who prefer a fresh fruity scent in their drains.


When you have to deal with big clogs and home cleaners don’t show results, you may need to search for an alternative. Before calling in professionals, you can try with a drain snake or a cup plunger.

  • A drain snake or auger is a tool used to break up clogs. The idea is to run a thick wire or a cable down the drain and spin it inside the pipe. This allows for the tool to break the blockage from the inside without causing damage to the system.
  • A cup plunger is one of the most common tools plumbers use to unclog drains. It consists of a handle and a cup plunger you place over the drain and suck out the materials and bacteria that form the clog.

How to Prevent Clogged Drains?

Now, there are a few ways to avoid clogged drains and keep your plumbing system in good shape. When you use your drains properly and clean them regularly, you don’t have to worry about having problems over time.

Here are some of the main culprits behind clogged drains:

  • Grease, fat, and oils
  • Eggshells
  • Pasta, rice, and potatoes
  • Stringy or fibrous foods
  • Coffee grounds
  • Feminine products, tissues, and napkins
  • Hair

When you prevent these from going down your drain, you keep it clean and free of harmful blockages. Therefore, limit what you put in the drain and put leftover foods in the trash instead of the garbage disposal. Make sure to dispose of liquid grease properly (you can put it into a sealable container and empty it later on in the trash) and brush your hair before each shower. Overall, watch out what you flush and think twice before you dispose of the waste in your house.

Seek Professional Help on Time

DIY drain cleaning can be bad for many reasons, starting with low efficiency and potentially harmful results. We already explained how common drain cleaners damage the drains in the long term, but there are other things to worry about, as well. First of all, you might fail to find the root of the issue. Secondly, you might make the problem worse.

By no means we doubt your DIY skills. However, sometimes it’s quite challenging to determine what’s wrong with the plumbing system. You might suspect a minor clog but face a serious issue behind this little inconvenience. Plus, digging around the drains and pipes can make the problem worse. Thus, if you’re not sure a clogged drain is a problem or you can’t resolve the issue on your own, we recommend you search for professional help.

A professional drain cleaning company can pinpoint the issue without much effort. Professionals use special tools and techniques most homeowners don’t have at their disposal, which ensures accurate and satisfying results. They will be in and out of your house is a breeze, leaving you with a smoothly running plumbing system.

Drain Cleaning Services in Phoenix

If you need drain cleaning services in Phoenix and surrounding areas, Hansen Family Plumbing and Air got you covered! We offer all kinds of services and techniques to keep your drains clean and running smoothly, including drain cabling, video camera inspection, and enzyme drain cleaning.

Our wide range of expertise ensures outstanding results regardless of the size and scope of the project. We are here to help unclog both small and severe clogs and maintain the entire plumbing system accordingly. Give us a call or schedule a visit of our team and say goodbye to your drain-related headaches!


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