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Ask Art: Can I Pour Bleach Down The Drain?

drain cleaning
Reading Time: 3 minutes

Many people have the belief that bleach can be used for drain cleaning or as a substitute to clear clogs. Additionally, most people turn to the sink to dispose of bleach and other household chemicals. This could wind up being a problem in the long run, especially if you happen to live in a home that runs on a septic tank. Because South Florida is basically at sea level and ground water is so close to the surface, septic tanks aren’t as common. However, if you pour bleach down your drain and you do happen to have one, you could be causing a world of costly damage.

​​​​​What to Expect After Pouring Bleach Down Your Drain?

It’s hazardous to pour bleach down the drain and it can cause damage to your pipes.

When mixed with other household substances, bleach releases toxic fumes. These fumes can spread through the pipes and exit through the vents, and circulate around the house. It can also destroy the good bacteria that’s in your septic system. Most of the bleach will enter the sewer and waste line, and a certain amount remains in the P-trap until other liquids are poured into the sink to flush it away.

Bleach Reacts to Other Agents In Your Pipes

Bleach can mix with other elements in the pipes. When bleach is poured into the sink, some of it remains in the P-traps. If you or someone else pours another substance such as alcohol, ammonia, or acid, the bleach will react with these substances. If bleach does happen to get into the sink by accident, you can simply flush it away with plenty of water.

Bleach Is Harmful to Septic Systems

While bleach is a good disinfectant for bacteria, the septic tank has plenty of good bacteria, and your septic tank needs them to work properly. If you are one of the few homes in South Florida with a septic tank, never use bleach as a drain cleaning method. The bacteria absorb the waste that enters the tank, and if the good bacteria are destroyed with bleach, then your system will be clogged with waste.

Nothing Good Will Happen If Bleach Is Mixed with Ammonia

If you mix bleach with ammonia, expect gas to be a result. Poisonous chloramine gas will move through your pipelines and circulate in the air in your house. Depending on the amount of time that has elapsed since the gas was released, it can cause illness or even death.

Here’s what exposure to chloramine gases can cause:

  • Coughing and shortness of breath
  • Chest pain and wheezing
  • Irritation to the nose, throat, eyes, and other components of the respiratory system
  • Pneumonia

Substances and Cleaners That Should Never Be Mixed with Bleach

There are substances and cleaners that you should never mix with bleach. Mixing bleach with any of the following household cleaners will generate poisonous gases that release into the air in your home.

  • Pesticides
  • Ammonia
  • Vinegar & acids
  • Rubbing alcohol & acetone
  • Toilet cleaners
  • Disinfectants

Tips for Disinfecting the Drain and Removing Clogs

Bleach has very little effectiveness when it comes to dissolving particles in the drain. Also, pouring bleach in a drain is harmful since it sits in the pipes and reacts with other cleaning agents. Here are tips for safe drain cleaning and clog removal.

Vinegar/Baking Soda Foam Bomb

  • Pour half a cup of baking soda down the drain.
  • Pour half a gallon of vinegar and boiling water. With this combination, it will generate a cleaning foam that will shoot out of the drain.
  • Wait for the foam to diminish, then follow up with pouring another half a gallon of boiling water down the drain.

Use an Alternative to Bleach for Disinfecting

To effectively and safely disinfect a sink drain, these are the alternatives you should be using.

  • Vinegar
  • Baking soda
  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Lemon juice
  • Tea tree oil

Leave Drain Cleaning to the Professionals

Do-it-yourself drain cleaning may not always be the best option. If you have any issues with your drain or are experiencing clogs, contact the experienced and friendly team at Art Rooter, Sewer & Drain Cleaning. Our rooter technicians have the knowledge and experience to tackle any drain issues that you may be experiencing. If you would like to learn more, call us at 1-888-773-1524 today to schedule an appointment!

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