What You Should Know About Using Green Drain Cleaners

Products touted as "all-natural," "organic" or "green" are all the rage among people looking for an environmentally friendlier alternative to the everyday products they use. This even includes drain cleaners, which traditionally use harsh chemicals that could put your sewer system in peril over time. This is where green drain cleaners come into play. Before you pick that new green drain cleaner off the shelf, you'll want to know how they work, how effective they are and the potential downsides of using them, so read this article to learn more. 

How Green Drain Cleaners Work

Ordinary drain cleaners often rely on corrosive chemicals, including sulfuric acid and sodium hydroxide. Thanks to their corrosive nature, these chemicals can burn through most clogs in a short amount of time. Unfortunately, they can also burn through clothes and even skin. Regular use of chemical drain cleaners isn't all that healthy for your septic system, either, as these chemicals have the potential to damage steel, copper and PVC pipes while clearing organic clogs.

Instead of harsh, caustic chemicals, the vast majority of green drain cleaners use enzymes and bacteria to remove clogs. Once exposed to the clog, the enzymes and bacteria set about digesting organic matter within the clog. These organisms also reproduce, spreading the enzymes throughout the pipes to remove other organic matter. Enzymatic drain cleaners are also biodegradable, meaning they won't hang around in your toilet or septic system after the job's done.

The Benefits of Using Green Drain Cleaners

There are plenty of benefits to using green drain cleaners. For starters, you won't have to worry about damaging your pipes and plumbing, since enzymatic drain cleaners don't have any of the corrosive effects of a comparable chemical drain cleaner. 

This also means you won't have to worry about damaging your clothes or receiving chemical burns on your skin while handling a green drain cleaner. According to recent data from the National Capital Poison Center, drain cleaners and other cleaning substances accounted for 11 percent of pediatric toxic exposures and 5.7 percent of adult poison exposures reported to U.S. Poison Control Centers as of 2014.

Unlike chemical drain cleaners, green drain cleaning products present little to no harm to the environment, thanks to their mostly natural ingredients.

Understanding the Downsides

There are a few downsides to using green drain cleaners. Unlike their chemical counterparts, most green drain cleaners take longer to remove clogs. This is largely due to the biological and digestive reactions that enzymatic drain cleaners use to break up and eventually dissolve the clog. In many cases, it could take hours for your green cleaner to work through the clog.

Although using an enzymatic drain cleaner is nothing like adding biological septic tank additives to your toilet, you may want to consider how your green drain cleaner will affect the natural balance of the beneficial bacteria that's already in your septic system. Heavy use of enzymatic drain cleaners could upset this balance, possibly preventing the septic tank from processing wastes effectively.

Also keep in mind that some stores don't keep green drain cleaners in stock, which means you'll have to find alternate sources. In some cases, you may end up ordering your green drain cleaner from an online merchant. And if you're planning to stock up on your favorite green drain cleaner, you may want to think twice about long-term storage. Many enzymatic drain cleaners have a short shelf life when compared to ordinary chemical drain cleaners.

In spite of these downsides, green drain cleaners remain effective in knocking out clogs without resorting to caustic and potentially harmful chemical treatments. However, an effective green drain cleaner is still no substitute for a plumber's expertise, especially when dealing with constant and multiple clogs. So if you've got a lot of difficult clogs in your plumbing, it may be best to contact a professional sewer cleaning service like Total Enviro Services Inc