Is Drano Bad for Your Pipes? » House Trick (2023)

Drano is commonly used to unlock blockages in drains and sinks in your home. The company claims that its products don’t cause harm to pipes for plumbing; however, some people have made contradictory claims. So does Drano damage your pipes, or is it safe to use in your home?

Drano is bad for your pipes because it contains potent chemicals that break down the blockages in your pipes. It also causes harm to plastic and metal pipes. Regular use of Drano will break down your pipes, leading to leaks and the need for expensive repairs and replacements.

Keep reading to learn more about how Drano affects the pipes in your home. I’ll explore how Drano harms pipes and discuss alternatives you can use to clear blockages in your drains and sinks without causing any harm.

Table of Contents

(Video) Is Drano Bad For Pipes? Here's What We Found Out

Does Drano Eat Plastic Pipes?

Most homes have plastic pipes underneath sinks and drains. Plastic pipes are fantastic as they’re affordable and easy to shape. These pipes are also lightweight. However, plastics are prone to corrosion, especially when harsh chemicals are present.

Drano eats plastic pipes. The harsh chemicals in Drano cause the plastic to corrode, leading to holes and cracks appearing in plastic pipes. However, this typically happens over time, and using Drano on your pipes once likely won’t cause them to burst.

If you’ve used Drano to clear a blockage in your sink or drain, don’t add any water to the mixture as this will increase the risk of damages. It would help if you didn’t use the drain or sink after Drano poured down for at least 24 hours. However, it’s best to avoid using Drano in the first place.

Drano contains a chemical called lye. Lye is what causes the organic material to break down in the blockage. However, Drano also contains aluminum which reacts to producing high temperatures when combined with lye. This combination also corrodes the pulse while producing near booking temperature heat.

Frank intentionally included these chemicals to facilitate a quick reaction in the poor that clears the way. However, the result of this reaction can severely damage your pipes, resulting in costly damages.

Drano will also eat through metal pipes over time. The chemicals in Drano are designed to dissolve tough blockages, which they do well. However, the Drano will also likely dissolve through anything else, including the pipes. Therefore it’s best to avoid using Drano on plastic or metal pipes.

(Video) Why Plumbers Hate Drano!

Using Drano in Toilets

By now, you should already be well aware that you shouldn’t use Drano to clear blockages in your plastic or metal pipes. However, not all plumbing is made from plastic and metal. Toilets are typically made of porcelain, so how does porcelain fare against Drano?

You can’t use Drano in a toilet. Drano takes a long time to break through blockages in toilets. While the Drano breaks through the blockage, it produces heat. This heat can cause the plastic piping in the back of the toilet to melt and the porcelain to crack, resulting in costly damages.

Using Drano in a toilet is a terrible idea. Not only will the Drano eat through the pipes leading away from your toilet, but it can also cause the porcelain to heat up and expand quickly, causing it to crack. Your bathroom could quickly flood with some unpleasant and unsanitary water if this happens.

Using Drano to clear blockages in your toilet will undoubtedly result in the need for expensive repairs, mainly if the Drano is used more than once on the toilet. A crack in the toilet or a burst pipe could lead to thousands of dollars in bathroom repairs and water damage repairs. Even if you have a comprehensive home insurance policy, an occurrence like this will likely lead to a bug premium jump.

Drano Alternatives That Won’t Damage Your Pipes

Using Drano to fix black ages is pretty much an all-around bad idea. Drano harms metal and plastic piles by corrupting them with harsh chemicals, and it causes toilets to crack. So what can you use as an alternative to Drano that won’t cause any damages to your pipes or toilets?

You can use a mixture of boiling water, baking soda, and vinegar instead of Drano. The acidic vinegar and the basic baking soda interact, producing bubbles. These bubbles cause pressure to build up within the pipe, dislodge blockages and clear the way.

(Video) SECRET Plumber Trick: Unclog Drain in SECONDS 💥 (Extremely simple) 🤯

The mixture of baking soda and vinegar isn’t corrosive. That means the solution won’t cause any harm or damages to your metal, plastic, or porcelain pipes. You can also make this mixture yourself at home using everyday household items for a low cost.

The boiling water is included in the mixture to help melt and dissolve any blockages. Build-ups of fat or grease often cause blockages in kitchen sinks. Fat and grease will turn into a liquid when exposed to high temperatures. Therefore pouring hot water into the sink will help dislodge the blockages.

You can also use a plunger instead of Drano. Plungers for a seal around a pipe that, when the plunger is used, pulls and pushes the blockage until it breaks apart. Plungers are practical tools that are inexpensive, easy to use, and suitable for sinks and toilets. However, forceful plunging or plunging on a severe blockage can cause damage to pipes, so plunging isn’t always the best solution.

Finally, you can hire an expert to clear any severe blockages in your pipes. A professional plumber will likely use specialized equipment like a drain snake to clear the way. Drain snakes are long, skinny poles that can be manipulated to navigate pipes to clear blockages.

Hiring a professional plumber will ensure that your blockages are clear without harming the pipes. However, hiring a plumber is expensive, and you’ll likely want to avoid doing this when possible.

Will Bleach Unclog the Pipes?

Bleach is a powerful cleaning tool full of harsh chemicals that strip away marks and kill harmful bacteria. This chemical also appears to eat through things like lime and stains, and it usually has a corrosive warning on the bottle. So can bleach be used to break down blockages in your pipes?

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Bleach won’t unclog a drain. The harsh chemicals in bleach kill bacteria and remove odors. However, bleach isn’t capable of eating through hair, soap, or other build-ups commonly found in blockages. Therefore your bleach won’t be capable of unclogging a drain.

As bleach is highly effective at sanitizing and killing bacteria, bleach should be used to clean pipes, especially in kitchens and bathrooms. The bleach will eliminate the harmful and foul-smelling bacteria from your pipes. After pouring bleach down the drain, it’s important to run water afterward to ensure that the blech washes through the pipes, cleaning them thoroughly.

Some people don’t like to use bleach as it leaves a bad smell and is not an eco-friendly option. If you’re worried about using bleach for your drain, opt for alternatives that are kinder to the environment.

The Green Gobbler is a good option. It’s non-corrosive and can be used safely for your drains.

Final Thoughts

Drano contains chemicals that can severely damage your pipes. The lye in Drano eats through organic matter and pipes. Then the aluminum also reacts with lye producing heat. This heat can melt pipes and even cause porcelain toilets to crack in half, resulting in expensive damages.

You can avoid this hassle by making your own homemade drain blockade remover. All that you need to do is pour some boiling water down the blocked drain, followed by a mixture of baking soda and vinegar. This clears blockages without damaging the pipes.

(Video) Risks of Using Drano to Unclog a Drain

Related: Can You Leave Drano Overnight?


Is Drano bad for my pipes? ›

NOPE. Drano® will not damage pipes or plumbing. Drano® products are powerful enough to dissolve nasty clogs, but they will not harm your plastic or metal pipes, so there's no need to worry. In fact, Drano® Max Gel Clog Remover contains a special ingredient that prevents pipe corrosion.

Do plumbers hate Drano? ›

Why Plumbers Dislike Drano & Other Liquid Plumbers. One of the main reasons plumbers dislike liquid drain cleaners is that they can actually cause more harm than good. These products contain harsh chemicals that can corrode your pipes and cause damage over time.

How do you unclog a drain without damaging pipes? ›

Using a solution of baking soda, vinegar, and hot water

For more stubborn clogs, a combination of baking soda, vinegar, and hot water may do the trick. Because vinegar is an acid and baking soda is a base, mixing the two will cause a chemical reaction that will create pressure and possibly dislodge the clog.

What is the best thing to unclog pipes? ›

Baking soda, vinegar and boiling water can help clean drains naturally, but you may need something stronger, like Liquid-Plumr, to fully unclog those really tough drain clogs.

Will Drano eat through PVC pipe? ›

Because of its corrosive nature, Drano can cause toilet bowls to crack, PVC pipes to melt or break and the glue that holds pipes together can be eaten away. If any of these things happen, you're going to be left with an inoperable plumbing system and costly repairs.

How often is it OK to use Drano? ›

Reuse every four weeks. To help prevent toilet clogs in the future, you can safely use Drano® Max Build-Up Remover monthly.

Is anything better than Drano? ›

Baking Soda and White Vinegar

This mixture is a great green alternative to Drano because most people have these items somewhere in their kitchen. To use this method, pour half a cup of baking soda into the clogged drain and follow it with a half cup of white vinegar.

How do you unclog a drain naturally? ›

Baking Soda + Vinegar
  1. Pour 1/2 cup baking soda, followed by 1/2 cup vinegar down drain.
  2. Plug drain and let sit for one hour.
  3. Then, pour a pot of boiling water down drain. Repeat if necessary.

Can Drano make a drain worse? ›

It is Extremely Corrosive For Your Drains

This can put a great deal of stress on your drains as the heat can cause PVC pipes to soften and even break or collapse. While it is dissolving your clog, Drano can also quickly eat away at the glue holding your pipes together, leading to a potentially costly leak.

Is it better to snake a drain or use Drano? ›

Using a snake is also more invasive and time-consuming than using a chemical cleaner is, and can often become a dirty job. When it comes to getting at and removing major clogs or clogs that are deep down in your pipes, however, a plumber's snake is your best bet.

Why you should never use baking soda and vinegar to unclog a drain? ›

While the baking soda and vinegar solution is effective in breaking down a clog, it will also cause your drain to become more damaged. The baking soda's abrasive nature will wear down your drain over time. This is why you should avoid using baking soda and vinegar solution for cleaning out your drain.

What breaks up a clogged drain? ›

A lot of folks know the baking soda and vinegar trick. Simply pour some hot water down your clogged drain and follow it up with equal parts baking soda and vinegar (baking soda first), cover the drain with a plug if you have one, let it sit for 20-30 minutes, then follow it up with more hot water to clear the clog.

Does hydrogen peroxide unclog pipes? ›

Hydrogen peroxide works by eating any organic matter that is clogging up the drains. It dissolves organic matter, turning it into smaller pieces that are easier to flush out. This makes it effective at dissolving food gunk or balls of hair that often clog drains.

Can bleach unclog pipes? ›


It cannot dissolve things like food waste, breadcrumbs, grease, and hair. Instead, pouring bleach into a clogged drain will make things worse. The bleach could react with other chemicals, creating dangerous fumes, and if the reaction is violent, it can even burst your drain pipes.

Can you leave baking soda and vinegar in drain overnight? ›

If it's still clogged, pour one cup of baking soda and one cup of vinegar down the drain, followed by two cups of boiling water. Let it work overnight to clear the drain.

What is the strongest clog remover? ›

Best Overall

In just 15 minutes, our pick for the best drain cleaner, Drano Max Gel, will clear up clogs in sinks, tubs, PVC, septic tanks, and garbage disposals. It's safe for piping and septic systems, with a thick gel that sinks into standing water to the source of the clog.

What happens if you leave Drano in too long? ›

Drano can be a great tool to help unclog your drain and remove buildup when appropriately used. However, if you leave Drano in the drain for too long, it can cause serious damage to your pipes and plumbing fixtures and cause chemical burns and environmental damage.

Is Drano Max gel safe for all pipes? ›

Yes, all Drano® products can be used safely with plastic pipes or metal pipes.

Is it safe to use Drano once a month? ›

Simply put, Liquid-Plumr and Drano are not designed for frequent use. Because of the chemicals found in these types of products, you could cause irreparable damage to your pipes.

Is it OK to use Drano once a month? ›

To prevent backups, add Drano® Max Build-Up Remover to your monthly routine. One flush once a month can help prevent septic backups!

How long should you flush Drano with hot water? ›

After 15 to 30 minutes, clogs are substantially minimized or dissolved. A final blast of hot water flushes away what's left of the clog.

What is the number one drain Unclogger? ›

Experts agree: Drano Max Gel is the best overall drain cleaner because it works quickly to get rid of tough clogs. This reliable and effective cleaner is a thick gel that goes deep in sinks, pipes, and drains to reach the source of the clog and completely dissolve it.

Is vinegar better than Drano? ›

Look in Your Kitchen Pantry

Baking soda and vinegar may unclog your drain better than Drano ever could.

What chemical do plumbers use to unclog drains? ›

Among the most common ingredients in anti-clog solutions is the Hydrochloric acid (HCI). Also known as muriatic acid, this power chemical is highly effective in dissolving any buildup in the pipes.

What will dissolve hair in a drain? ›

Use Baking Soda and Vinegar

Baking soda and vinegar is a very powerful combination that can help clear nasty hair clogs. Besides helping dissolve hair in your drain, baking soda also has disinfectant qualities that can fight fungi and bacteria.

Will vinegar help unclog a drain? ›

If you suspect a grease clog, a mixture of very hot water and vinegar can also help melt and remove the grease that's blocking the pipes. Allow it to work for a few minutes, then use a plunger to help move the clog along. You may have to repeat this more than once.

Is it OK to pour white vinegar down the drain? ›

Vinegar. Vinegar is both safe and beneficial to pour down your drain. It acts as a natural cleaning solution and can remove blockages and harmful bacteria that cause foul odors.

Can dishwashing liquid unclog drains? ›

Greasy clogs can be cleared with dish soap and hot water.

For this method to work, the drain needs to be cleared of water. Squirt dish soap down the clogged drain and then pour boiling water down the drain. Grease is eliminated!

What are the dangers of Drano? ›

Drain cleaners contain very dangerous chemicals that can be harmful to your health if you swallow them, breathe them in (inhale), or if they come in contact with your skin and eyes.
Symptoms from getting sodium hydroxide on the skin or in the eyes include:
  • Burning.
  • Severe pain.
  • Vision loss.

Will drain cleaner ruin plumbing? ›

Drain Cleaner Can Damage Your Pipes

Drain cleaner is caustic, meaning it will eat away at your pipes — even the tougher types. If your home employs plastic pipes, use the solution sparingly, if at all. It can even eat away at metal pipes. Use the solution once to break up a clog, and you could be safe.

What do plumbers use to snake a drain? ›

A manual drain snake, also known as a plumber's snake or a drain auger, is a small boring tool that rotates slowly as it's physically pushed through a stubborn clog. The terminal end of the device is a corkscrew-shaped hook that is fed into a clogged drain or toilet.

Why is Drano not used in toilets? ›

In a toilet, especially since Drano does not work quickly on toilet clogs, it creates a serious issue. The heat generated from this chemical reaction can crack the porcelain of the toilet or soften the PVC of the pipes. So, not only can Drano hurt you, but it can also hurt your toilet and cause costly damage.

Why is my drain still clogged after snaking? ›

If your snake isn't unclogging your drains, it could be because the thumbscrew is loose, the clog is too severe, or the auger is dirty. Or maybe you just need a refresher on how to use a drain snake. A drain auger (snake) is a simple, inexpensive necessity for every homeowner.

Why pour dish soap down drain at night? ›

Why pour dish soap in the toilet at night? It's pretty simple — just like they do on food particles that are stuck to your dishes in the sink, the combination of hot water and dish soap help to dissolve and break up whatever it may be that is lodged in the toilet, causing a clog.

How long can you leave baking soda and vinegar in drain? ›

Leave it in the drain for an hour or two or overnight, and then flush the drain with hot tap water. For larger drains, such as tubs and kitchen sinks, use about a quarter-cup of baking soda, a half-cup of water to move the powder down, and 2 cups of vinegar.

Can peroxide and vinegar unclog a drain? ›

One of the best products to use in clearing drain clogs is hydrogen peroxide. The product works as an oxidizer. It's colourless and a bit denser than water. It works by damaging and destroying organic matter including germs, making it a great disinfectant.

How does Dawn dish soap clear a clogged drain? ›

What about Dawn dish soap? It would break down any fats in the drain and provide lubrication for the clogs to get through the pipe.

How do you unclog a drain overnight? ›

When it comes to clog removal, mix one part of baking soda with one part salt and four parts of boiling water. Dump this mixture down the drain and let it sit overnight. Flush your drain with hot water in the morning.

Can you unclog a drain with Coke? ›

Does Coke Unclog Drains? Sodas like Pepsi or Coca-Cola can clean the grime off of pipes because of their acidity. However, this is not a quick solution because these sugary sodas leave behind their own film: sugar syrup.

Can salt unclog a drain? ›

If you pour salt down your drain, it will not do anything to unclog it. However, salt is recommended as an ingredient (mixed with many other components) to help clear up clogged drains. It is also a recommended ingredient for mixtures that keep fruit flies at bay.

How long should vinegar sit in a clogged pipe? ›

Drain cleaner

Pour in the vinegar and let it fizz for five to 10 minutes. Pour in boiling water (careful — don't burn yourself with the steam). Beware of sodium hydroxide in disinfectants and oven, bathroom and toilet bowl cleaners.

Is it OK to pour bleach down the toilet? ›

Frequently asked questions. Can you put bleach in a toilet bowl? Yes, Clorox® Bleach is safe to add to the water in the toilet bowl. Always flush the toilet first before scrubbing, and then again when toilet cleaning is finished.

Does bleach dissolve hair in drain? ›

It is not a great drain clog remover. Bleach has no effect in dissolving the common culprits of household drain clogs, like hair, food scraps and grease. Also, pouring bleach can harm the integrity of your drains and pipes. It's a lose-lose scenario.

What is the brown stuff coming out of my shower drain? ›

What Is That Brown Stuff? If you have rusty pipes, the brown stuff is the rust from your pipes coming loose. Old iron plumbing wears out and puts off both iron and manganese into the water. This rust isn't very dangerous, but it's probably not something that you'll want to drink or wash your dishes with.

What cuts grease in pipes? ›

Use a 50:50 mix of boiling hot water and white vinegar. The hot water will melt the fat; the vinegar removes it from the lining of the pipes, and the flow of the water will carry it away down the pipe, so follow up with more hot water in a few minutes.

What happens if baking soda and vinegar doesn't work? ›

If the baking soda and vinegar method doesn't unclog the drain, use the salt and baking soda method next. This works best if you do it right before bedtime since the drain won't be used until morning.

What happens if you put too much baking soda down the drain? ›

Baking soda powder will turn into a cement like mass and completely clog everything it settles in.

Why shouldnt you plunge Drano? ›

Using Drano in the toilet can also hurt you. For example, let's say you used Drano and the clog isn't going anywhere, so you decide to try plunging it. While doing so, you run the risk of accidentally splashing the sitting Drano on your skin, which could cause a burn.

Can using Drano make a clog worse? ›

The chemicals in Drano may not solve all clogs, and they can lead to a worsening of pipe issues. Drano can build up in a clogged area, and corrode the pipe. With repeated use, these chemicals may eat their way through a pipe, and cause a leak or a collapse of the system.

How long do you have to run water after Drano? ›

For clogged or slow-running drains, apply the product and let it work 15 minutes, then flush with hot water. For tough problems, allow 30 minutes before flushing. Drano® Max Build-Up Remover works over a longer time period to prevent clogged drains.

What happens if I leave Drano in too long? ›

Drano can be a great tool to help unclog your drain and remove buildup when appropriately used. However, if you leave Drano in the drain for too long, it can cause serious damage to your pipes and plumbing fixtures and cause chemical burns and environmental damage.

What happens if you pour Drano in a toilet? ›

In a toilet, especially since Drano does not work quickly on toilet clogs, it creates a serious issue. The heat generated from this chemical reaction can crack the porcelain of the toilet or soften the PVC of the pipes. So, not only can Drano hurt you, but it can also hurt your toilet and cause costly damage.

Is it safe to use Drano once? ›

Using Drano once or twice is nothing to be too concerned about, and it likely won't cause damage to your pipes. However, if you find that a clog is showing up repeatedly, this can be a sign of deeper plumbing issues that should be addressed by a professional.

How do you clean pipes with baking soda? ›

Let hot water run for a minute to warm up the pipes. Drop in 1/2 cup of baking soda down the drain. Pour in 1 cup of vinegar, cover the drain with a plug and let sit for 10 minutes – you will hear fizzing. Rinse with more hot water.

Is Drano and vinegar safe? ›

Can you mix Drano and vinegar? NO. Drano is highly corrosive and vinegar could start a chemical reaction with deleterious effects. Always follow the directions with cleaning products.

What happens if you use a plunger after Drano? ›

You're Ready to Take the Plunge

DON'T use the plunger if you poured chemical drain opener into the drain. The toxic liquid could splash your skin and cause a chemical burn.


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