When I have published my previous article about clogged shower drain, I have received a question asking whether it is okay to pour bleach down the drain to remove clogs and disinfect the plumbing.
I often write about incoming water through the pipeline. Nonetheless, I believe it is essential also to take care of what we are sending to the landfill through the drain.
In this article, I will talk more in-depth about bleach and what problems it can cause when you pour it down the drain.
The long story short, bleach is highly reactive chemical, and when you pour it down the drain, it can react with other chemicals trapped in a drain and cause damage to your piping or create fumes that might be dangerous to your health. Therefore, I would not recommend you to pour bleach down the drain as there are other better alternatives available.
What Happens When You Have Poured Bleach Down the Drain?
In general, pouring bleach in a drain should not be an issue. However, at the same time, I don’t believe that there is a need to use bleach to clean plumbing.
Let me explain:
Bleach is disinfecting and cleaning but is not capable of removing built-up grease or pieces of food and other trapped particles.
What is important to know is that bleach itself, despite being an active chemical doesn’t have a significant negative impact on the environment. This is because the compound is not strong enough to survive the municipal sewage treatment.
Although it is not harmful to the environment, I wouldn’t recommend flushing the drain with it anyway.
Because bleach is a highly reactive chemical when it comes to other chemicals. Probably, the worst combination that could be with bleach is ammonia. When these two chemicals are in contact, they form a deadly gas, also known as Mustard gas.
You may wonder, how would the ammonia mix with bleach if you don’t mix them two purposely. Well, ammonia is commonly used in cleaning products, and the chances are you have these at home.
Here is the list of products you might have at home that contain ammonia.
Hope it gives you an idea that the ammonia is more common than you think, and is identified on the product label as ammonium hydroxide. You can check the label of cleaners you have at home right now.
The takeaway is:
The ammonia might be already present in piping, especially if you have finished cleaning before. So, when you pour bleach, it can create a reaction and generate fumes without you even knowing that.
If you feel that pouring it down will help, at least use a sufficient amount of water after, and make sure you open windows to allow fresh air to come in, and fumes go away.
Will Bleach Damage The Plumbing?
Let’s talk about bleach and the impact it has on plumbing.
I have some good news.
Regardless of whether you have plastic, copper, or steel pipes, bleach itself is not going to damage the plumbing.
However, as I wrote in a previous chapter, bleach is very reactive with other chemicals. For you, this means that the chemical reaction can create a substance that could damage plumbing.
It is difficult to estimate an impact, as in metal plumbing it can cause corrosion which would lead to leaks over time if you used bleach often or in the case with plastic it might damage the inside walls which would start eventually leaking too.
I wouldn’t recommend flushing bleach into the drain, simply because you don’t know what is already inside and what impact it would have.
However, a small amount of bleach should not damage plumbing.
What Are The Alternatives to Use Instead of Bleach?
You may wonder:
Are there any alternatives to bleach that could do the job but are less reactive?
Of course, there are!
The first alternative is called Drano. I am pretty sure you are well familiar with this brand.
Drano is a drain cleaner that is capable to do what bleach couldn’t such as dissolving hair, grease and food.
I wouldn’t recommend using Drano either.
I have done a little research to see the impact of Drano on the environment.
The conclusion is that Drano hasn’t got a significant impact on the environment but contains substances that contribute to the creation of methamphetamine. If you don’t know what it is – it’s a drug.
There is much more about Drano to read, so if you would like to read a study, click here.
Another alternative that I believe is much better is called CitraSolv. This is an alternative to both Drano and bleach.
The main difference between CitraSolv and Drano is that it does not contain substances to make drugs, which is excellent.
Although, I need to warn that even CitraSolv is not the greatest option when used as the spray. This is because it can react with air and penetrate the lungs when you inhale it. However, it is completely safe when using for our purpose of cleaning drain.
You can get the product on Amazon.
So this is the alternative you could use instead of Drano; however, there are also lots of other good what is more important DIY alternatives you can use at home.
The recipe for a good DIY bleach alternative is the following:
Mix everything in a bowl and drop ¼ cup down the drain and follow with two cups of boiling water. Wait for a minute and repeat.
This is the recipe I have found on youtube, and I have seen some good results with it. There are also plenty of other tips, so make sure to check out the video below.
How To Dispose Bleach?
Disposing the chemicals is also an important part of the process. So let’s cover it together.
If you have bleach leftovers, the worst thing you can do is just put in a bin. Since you now know that bleach is a highly reactive chemical, can you imagine what can happen if it just mixes up in a litter?
Yes, it can create a lot of mess, or it can stink at home, as well as it won’t do any good when the garbage is collected and being recycled.
The good idea will be to ask neighbors or friends if they need it.
Alternatively, what you can do is pour small amounts into a toilet and flush it. Just remember what I have said earlier that toilet cleaners also contain ammonia so be aware of this and try to remember if you have used any of these recently. This also might include toiler fresheners.
In other cases, pouring it down the toilet is a good option as water will neutralize the substance.
The key thing to remember when disposing of bleach is that you should never mix it with any other chemical other than water.
Okay, so I hope I have made it clear why pouring bleach down the drain is not okay. No, because it is going to damage, but because it is a highly reactive chemical. In the comments section below, I would love to hear your stories about the bleach.
I would love to hear your answers as well as extensive experiences with this chemical.