Drain cleaning is a rather dreadful thing, because life would be much easier if drains never got dirty. However, when they do get gunked up drain cleaning is possible, even if it is a little bit gross. Here is a short guide on how drain cleaners work to clean your drains.
Alkaline Drain Cleaners: Drain cleaners tend to be liquid or solid (solid, with the same consistency as sugar) and also on either end of the Ph spectrum. On the alkaline end of the spectrum, we get crystals and liquids that are great for use on grease and food related drain issues. This is because alkaline drain cleaners act like a really strong dish soap that is capable of breaking down food stuff. While these are not exceptionally safe, and can be rather nasty, they are still not as dangerous as acidic drain cleaners.
Acidic Drain Cleaners: An acidic drain cleaner usually contains sulfuric acid, and if that sounds scary, that is because it is scary. Acidic drain cleaners can be dangerous, so they must be handled with care. They aren’t terribly dangerous to have around the house, but these drain cleaners must be handled properly to safely clean a drain. The acid is able to break down hair, toilet paper, or most bathroom things that go down a drain. While the alkaline cleaners are more for the kitchen, these acidic cleaners are best suited for bathrooms.
Drain Cleaner Tools: An alternative to chemical drain cleaners, plumbing snakes, plungers, and other tools can be used to safely and effectively clean clogged drains and get them flowing smoothly again. While alkaline and acidic drain cleaners can damage pipes, drain cleaning tools shouldn’t.
Some of these tools can be purchased at your hardware store and used by any DIY fanatic. However, it is often best to call a plumber to do your drain cleaning. It is important to know how certain chemicals can break down certain things and what will be the best tool for the specific situation.