3 Reasons You Should Not Use Drano in a Toilet

Hundreds of sites across the web advise you not to use Drano in a toilet. SC Johnson, the manufacturer of Drano, also recommends that you shouldn’t use the chemical cleaner as a clogger remover. It begs the question: why not use Drano in toilet? There are three significant reasons plumbers and the manufacturer advise people against using Drano to clear a toilet clog.

use drano in a toilet

Drano clears a clogged toilet through a chemical reaction that produces heat which may crack toilet porcelain, wear down corroded metal pipes, or soften PVC pipes. It also exposes you to skin burn risks if it splashes on you. Drano may also produce and expose you to toxic fumes when mixed with other chemical cleaners you might have used earlier.

If this scares you enough, read through the article to find out more about why Drano is a hazard when used to unclog a toilet. You’ll also learn what other things or strategies you can use to clear tough clogs in a toilet.

Related: The Condom has clogged the toilet. Here’s what to do

What is Drano and How Does it Work?

Drano is a drain opening liquid from SC Johnson that gradually eats away any sediment in drain pipes to prevent a clog from forming inside the pipes. It works best for emergency unclogging in sinks, shower drains, and tubs. (You should NEVER use it in a toilet.)

Drano contains sodium hypochlorite (bleach), an oxidizing agent, and sodium hydroxide, which is caustic. Bleach converts the clogging sediments into chemicals that easily wash away down the drains and sewer system.

Sodium hydroxide usually referred to as caustic soda, eats away any sediments such as grease, waste food, and scum in a chemical reaction that generates a lot of heat. The reaction proceeds until it eats away all the residue, which is usually overnight.

Can I Pour Drano Down My Toilet?

Never pour Drano down your toilet. As mentioned earlier, plumbers and the company that manufactures Drano advise you against pouring the chemical drain cleaner into your toilet bowl. And this for a good reason, as we’ll see below.

Reasons You Shouldn’t Use Drano in Toilet

Here are three critical reasons you should never use Drano to unclog a toilet, even in the most desperate of situations.

Drano May Crack the Toilet Porcelain

The heat produced by the exothermic reaction that occurs as the sodium hydroxide in Drano eats away the clog might end up cracking your toilet porcelain, causing you unforeseen toilet repair or replacement costs.

The heat produced overnight might be too intense for the porcelain to withstand, causing it to crack or break into pieces and scatter the oddities all over the floor. You don’t want that!

Drano May Cause You Skin Burns

Suppose you leave the clog remover in the toilet overnight, and it fails to work? When you try clearing it with a plunger or plumber’s snake, the chemical may accidentally splash on you, causing skin burns if you haven’t worn protective gloves.

Drano May Produce Toxic Fumes

If you tried clearing the clogged toilet with other chemical drain cleaners and then used Drano, it may produce toxic fumes. The fumes are harmful to human health when taken into the body through the respiratory system and might even cause death.

Drano Alternatives

You can use two main strategies to unclog a toilet – mechanical and chemical means.

What Can I Use to Unclog My Toilet?

Unclogging a toilet doesn’t have to be hard. You can use either mechanical or chemical means. It’s advisable first to try the former and only use chemical or enzymatic drain cleaners if the mechanical process fails. Here are some common toilet unclogging alternatives.

Using a Flange Plunger

Your toilet should always have a bell-shaped flange plunger. The plunger requires muscle to work in both downward and upward motion. Ensure that the water level in the toilet bowl covers the rubber part of the plunger before you start pumping away.

using a flange plunger

The pressure you create by pushing and pulling the plunger should be enough to clear the clog. However, if it doesn’t, consider using a plumbing snake.

Use a Plumber’s Snake

Sometimes the clog is lodged deep down the toilet in the U-trap or drain pipes. In such situations where a plunger doesn’t help, a plumber’s snake comes in handy.

plumbing snake

Also known as a plumbing snake, closet snake, closet auger, or drain snake, a plumber’s snake has a coil that extends 3-6 feet into the toilet trap. In case the clog is within its reach, you’ll clear it with just a few in and out strokes of the snake.

What is the Best Liquid to Unclog a Toilet?

While commercial chemical drain cleaners are passed as the best liquid solutions to unclog a blocked home drain, they usually pose various risks that you should avoid at all costs when used in toilets.

Enzymatic drain cleaners are safer to use than any given chemical drain cleaner. However, you can make a simple homemade drain cleaner from everyday home items like household bleach, hot water, dish soap, vinegar, and baking soda.

Household bleach breaks down the clothing waste, potentially unclogging the toilet in about 15 minutes. A mixture of hot water (avoid actively boiling water) and dish soap also works in 10 to 15 minutes when pressed for time.

You can also pour baking soda and vinegar into the toilet bowl to clear a clog. The two react and eat sediment away in a few minutes, but you might have to flush and pour them again a few times until the clog clears.

Why Do Plumbers Hate Drano?

Plumbers hate Drano when used in toilets because it makes the clogging situation worse. Since most people first try to clear clogs themselves before calling in a plumber, there are more risks of messing up even more.

Plumbers advise people against using Drano in toilets because it can easily damage the toilet porcelain through cracking or the drain pipes through corrosion, making it difficult for them to clear the clog or repair the toilet and its plumbing system.

Bottom Line

For the safety of your toilet and yourself, you should avoid using Drano as a drain cleaner for a clogged toilet.

You risk cracking the porcelain, damaging your relationship with your plumber, or suffering from skin burns and the toxicity of fumes produced when Drano reacts with other chemical drain cleaners you might have used earlier.

As an alternative to Drano, you can use a flange plunger, toilet auger, vinegar and baking soda, hot water, and dish soap or household bleach to clear the clog within a few minutes.

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