Why You Shouldn’t Use Bleach in Drains
Take a peek inside the average home’s cleaning cupboard and you’re sure to find a container of bleach.
While most of us think of it as a cleaning agent, it is actually a chemical solution of sodium hypochlorite. When diluted with water, it’s great at killing germs on common household surfaces like kitchen benchtops, rubbish bins and bathroom vanities.
But it should never be poured down drains.
Why Bleach is Bad for Drains
1 – Bleach doesn’t clear blocked drains.
Bleach has no effect when you drain has been obstructed with things like hair, grease, or food scraps. Instead of dissolving the blockage, chances are that the bleach will remain in the pipes.
2 – It can be harmful to your health.
If you’ve ever come into contact with neat bleach, you’ll recognise its pungent odour, and its harmful effects on the skin and eyes.
Bleach may be great at removing mould in the shower, but breathing in the fumes irritates the lungs. This causes coughing and even breathing problems – even if you’re not an asthmatic.
3 – It should NEVER be mixed with other household cleaners (even accidentally).
If you pour bleach down the drain after using other cleaning products, it can cause a dangerous chemical reaction.
For example, if you pour bleach down the drain after a chemical drain cleaner, the bleach mixes with the acid, creating heat. This heat can damage pipes or even make them burst.
Chlorine gas is also released when bleach and acid mix, resulting in harmful fumes. So never pour vinegar, ammonia, acetone (nail polish remover), toilet cleaner or disinfectant into drains before or after using bleach.
4 – Bleach can damage pipes.
Bleach reacts with metal and is very corrosive, with rust or oxidation caused by the trading of electrons between the metal and bleach molecules. Copper pipes can also be damaged making them more prone to plumbing leaks. With PVC pipes, bleach dissolves the sealant used around the pipes.
5 – It kills good bacteria in a septic tank system.
Septic tank systems are full of beneficial bacteria that digest the waste inside the tank. Bleach kills the bacteria, meaning that undigested waste will clog the system. It also upsets the pH balance in the tank.
6 – It’s bad for the environment.
According to Planet Ark, bleach that enters the environment through waterways can form dioxins that are harmful to aquatic and other wildlife.
What to Use instead of Bleach to Clear Drains
Prevention is always better than cure, so we highly recommend using a metal or plastic sink strainer to collect hair, food particles and grease. This way they can be binned, rather than washed down the drain.
Instead of using bleach to clear a blockage, you could try using a plunger to dislodge it, just one of our DIY tips for unblocking drains.
For more stubborn or recurring problems, that’s where we can help. With our CCTV drain camera we can locate the blockage and remove it – all without having to dig up your property!
So don’t reach for the bleach – instead give us a call on (07) 3277 8401.