Is Drain Cleaner An Acid Or Base: A Detailed Explanation

Clogged drains are something no one wants. Therefore, we often find ways to prevent or find drain cleaners to end this situation. However, did you know: Is drain cleaner an acid or base? Let's find out through this article!

How do drains get clogged?

How do drains get clogged?


Before proceeding, you need to understand how drains get blocked. It will assist you in determining which cleansers are OK for usage and which are not.

Typically, drains get blocked owing to insoluble materials such as hair, tree roots or other plant matter, dirt, excessive tissue papers, diapers, and similar items.

Then there's food waste, fats and oil mixed with grease, tea bags, soap scum, and plastics to cause a clog.

Furthermore, if the drainage system is strong, such as employing inexpensive pipes, and there needs to be more maintenance work, it may lead to frequent difficulties. 

What is a drain cleaner?



A drain cleaner is a solution of several acids and bases that may be used to unclog various plumbing fittings, including drains and sewage lines. A drain cleaner may also be a mechanical instrument known as a plumbing snake, drain auger or plunger. The most prevalent sort of drain cleaning remedy is store-bought drain cleaning chemicals.

Is drain cleaner an acid or base

Depending on the source of the obstruction, a drain cleaner may be acidic or basic. The kind of acidic aids in the breakdown of grease, hair, and the dissolution of tissue paper in pipes. On the other hand, the basic drain cleaner is effective in opening obstructions by releasing electrons that react with wastes to remove the clog.

The pH level of the drain cleaners will inform you if it's acid or basic.

  1. PH stands for 'potential of hydrogen' or 'power of hydrogen,' with 7 being the neutral pH scale point.
  2. The pH varies from 0 to 7, indicating acidic qualities, with 0 being the most acidic.
  3. A pH level of 7 to 14 is considered a base. The more basic the chemical, the higher the pH level.

The chemical ingredients are what distinguish an acid drain cleaner from a base drain cleaner. Sodium Hydroxide, Potassium Hydroxide, Sodium Hypochlorite, or Sodium Bicarbonate are common ingredients in base drain cleaners, while acidic drain cleaners often include Sulphuric acid or Hydrochloric acid.

  • Acid drain cleaners

Acid drain cleaners


Acidic drain cleaners were used in the past. Some of them are still available on the market today. They have a low pH, which is generally due to the active component, sulfuric acid. This potent acid is strong enough to dissolve several common causes of drain blockages, such as hair, plant debris, lipids, and fibers.

If the drain cleaner contains sulfuric acid, it will draw water from absorbent things in the blockage, such as tissue paper or food. The theory is that the clog will fall free by reducing the material. However, a few blockages contain excess moisture that has to be extracted. They are often made up of solid fats, hair, and plant debris. As a result, this strategy is only sometimes successful.

The acidity of sulfuric acid drain cleaner, on the other hand, may cause severe irritation to your skin or lungs if you come into contact with it or inhale the fumes. Drain cleaners of all kinds may be fatal if eaten, and they can also cause irreversible damage to your skin, eyes, and lungs.

This strong acidity may also cause harm to your pipes and sealant. For starters, they have the potential to explode when they come into contact with water, causing damage to your plumbing. They may also erode protective coatings and sealants, perhaps resulting in a leak.

Basic drain cleaners

Basic drain cleaners


The pH of most current drain cleaners is either high or basic (also known as alkaline). Drano is a straightforward drain cleaning.

Basic drain cleaners are among the most alkaline compounds on the market. Some people have a pH of 14 on a scale of 14. This is more basic than bleach, so you can see how harmful these drain-cleaning treatments may be.

A simple drain cleanser, like bleach, may irritate or permanently harm your skin and generate harmful odors or explosions when used with other home goods. Drain cleaners are among the least safe household chemicals available. They may be lethal, particularly if youngsters get their hands on them.

These drain cleaners, despite their power, are seldom successful. They must be put directly to the clog in order to begin eating away at the lipids, food items, or other things in the blockage.

It is not practical for householders to apply the solution directly to the clog, especially for toilet blockages. Instead, drain cleaners dislodge the material that has been trapped to the side of the pipes prior to the blockage, and that material runs down to aggravate the jam.

Furthermore, heat is produced when common drain cleaners eat away at obstructions in plumbing pipes. This heat has the potential to distort and weaken PVC pipes. Alternatively, heat may affect sealants. As a result, houses that use liquid drain cleaners have more leaks and need more re-piping.

Caution when spending acid or basic cleaner

Both acidic and basic drain cleaners are hazardous to one's health. You should use these compounds with extreme caution.

  • Because the cleaners contain corrosive chemicals, be sure you read and follow the directions on the package.

  • Only combine two products once you fully understand their qualities. It has the potential to detonate and inflict serious damage.

  • Wear gloves to avoid getting chemicals on your skin by mistake. Furthermore, the compounds may cause eye irritation. Wear your safety glasses and remain safe.

  • Chemicals often emit odors and fumes, which may cause respiratory issues. Make an effort to establish a suitable ventilation system.

  • While using drain cleaners at home, keep the windows open.

  • Pour the chemicals with caution since some of them may harm marble, stone, or stainless steel.


What kind of material is drain cleaner?

Chemical drain cleaners are available in powder, liquid, and gel forms. As the name indicates, chemical drain cleaners use a chemical reaction to clear obstructions. The primary component of these cleansers is sodium hydroxide, sometimes known as lye.

Is the drain cleaner's foundation robust or weak?

Some drain cleaners have strong acids as active components, whereas others contain strong bases. Lye, having the chemical formula NaOH, is a strong common base (sodium hydroxide). Potassium hydroxide, or KOH, may be included in basic drain cleaners.

Is hydrochloric acid included in the drain cleaner?

Acid drain cleaners are generally liquid and include a high proportion of sulfuric acid or hydrochloric acid. They use acid hydrolysis to remove the lipids and sediments that cause a drain clog.

Last words

With the above information, surely, you have the answer to the question: is drain cleaner acid or base? Hopefully, through this article, you already know the nature of the two types of drain cleaners and can find yourself the best drain cleaner.

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