Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Clogged Drain Products Comparisons: Liquid-Plumr Vs. Drano

Similar in chemical composition, Liquid-Plumr and Drano drain cleaner/clog removal products each do a thorough job. Gel clog remover products to work effectively when applied through standing water while kitchen sinks clogged by grease, oils and fats require a more specific drain cleaner product.

Surprisingly similar yet each with specific differences, Liquid-Plumr™ and Drano™ drain clog removers are the two most recognized drain clog opener products on the market.

Clorox Co. owns the product Liquid-Plumr, -a product that claims to be the oldest clogged drain removal product on the market.
 Drano drain clog remover is a product of rival company S.C. Johnson and Co.

Both drain cleaner products contain the active ingredients of sodium hydroxide and sodium hypochlorite, and Drano contains the additional active ingredient sodium silicate.

Both Liquid-Plumr and Drano require that standing water be removed from sink basins as much as possible to allow the product to pour down into the drain as is possible. Usually the clog material is built-up residues of soaps, human hair, toothpaste and food particles.

Both products are equally up to the task of breaking-apart these often organic obstacles. Flushing the cleared and open drain after the clog is dissolved is necessary. This rinses any residual caustic product from the basin and pipes. Both products claim that pipes and drains are unharmed by the use their product when used as directed.

Gel Drain Cleaners and Standing Water

There are cases where a sink basin is too steep to allow for adequate removal of standing water. Simply pouring the product into the standing water might not allow enough product to reach the clog. For this, Liquid Plumr Gel Clog Remover or comparable product Drano Max Gel Clog Remover would be more useful. Gel drain clog remover can be applied through standing water and directed into the open drain hole where it will descend into the drain and come into contact with the clog.

Worth noting for whatever difference it might be, Drano Gel Clog Remover claims to be 50% thicker than its competitor. Again, each of these products contain the two main active ingredients, and proprietary undisclosed sudsing agents to help clean surfaces as it unclogs.
Can Drain Cleaners be Used on Kitchen Sinks?

They can be, but kitchen sinks tend to be clogged more often with greases and fats from cooking debris. Washing of greasy fry pans, cooking oil disposal and pouring sauces and other greasy food products down the kitchen sink requires a different formulation. A formulation that dissolves greases, oils and fats.

Drano Kitchen Crystals is a formulation designed to work better on grease clogs. The crystals pour down into the drain react with the water present to create a thick foaming action. The heat generated is probably more so than in their other line of drain clog products. Heat which helps to soften and break apart the greasy clog as well and chemically dissolve the clog.

Allowed 10-to-15 minutes to work, most kitchen clogs are cleared with Drano Kitchen Crystals. After the clog is opened, the drain must be thoroughly rinsed with cold water.

Drano does not recommend a repeat treatment if the first use fails to clear the clog but instead recommends that a professional plumber be consulted for inspection and mechanical removal of the clog.

Can Drano or Liquid-Plumr be Used on Clogged Toilets/Septic Lines?

No! Both of these products produce too much heat and there could be a risk of an explosion if used to unclog a toilet. Sewer gases that are kept in check below the watergate on your toilet (the S-curve in the toilet's seat base) may be ignited from the chemical reactive heat, damaging your toilet and septic pipes.

For toilet drain health, there are products intended for toilet bowl use that contain active cultures that will more gently work to keep these drains clear of accumulated sludge and build-up. Not just septic lines, but bathroom and kitchen drains alike can benefit equally from products such as Drano Prevention that introduce active cultures into the lines.
Using Drain Cleaner Products Wrongly

Back on the farm we used to use a small quantity of Drano and clear water through closed engine blocks of tractors, farm vehicles, etc. to dissolve gunk and accumulation from years of anti-freeze and radiator Stop-Leak use. Five minutes of running the coolant was enough to clean the gunk from the cooling system.

Effective albeit potentially damaging, extensive rinsing and neutralizing was done after draining the cleaning flush. For intensive cleaning the interior passages of engine blocks of motor vehicles, a diluted concentration muriatic (hydrochloric) acid is superior but must be used correctly and rinsed quite thoroughly.
 Drain cleaner products are equally damaging to these surfaces and can not only remove the build-up and flush away rust and sludge, but potentially dissolve pits into the metal. It is best to use engine block cleaner made for the purpose.

Using the wrong intensive cleaning product for a purpose it was not intended causes more trouble than it is worth. Good advice for all drain cleaner and clog removal products alike.
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