One of the most commonly asked questions when garbage disposals are showing signs of clogging is “Can I put Drano in my garbage disposal.” As much as I’d like to say “Yes”, I lean towards “No”. Will Drano unclog your garbage disposal, maybe and that will come at a hefty price believe it or not. Drano can be poured down a clogged garbage disposal; but it should not be your first option. S.C. Johnson, the family company that creates Drano and other drain cleaning products, claims to be safe to pour down your drain; nonetheless, the main ingredient in these products is sodium hydroxide. This chemical can cause dangerous burns to surfaces and ruin your pipes’ interior. Sodium hydroxide releases heat when it is mixed with water; rationally speaking there is water present at all times in a garbage disposal since water not only directs food scraps to the grinder but water cleans off the blades and flushes the ground scraps down your drain. This compound mixture can reside longer than expected in a garbage disposal and in drain pipes, causing caustic soda. Caustic soda releases toxic fumes from the interior of the disposal, which can work its way up to reach your kitchen and harm those living in your home. Furthermore, not only can caustic soda mix with water but it may also combine itself with dishwasher, bleach, vinegar and other cleaning products that flow through the garbage disposal; creating a more dangerous substance.
Before rushing to the store to purchase a bottle of Drano to save some money consider these safer alternatives. If the clogged area seems mild, try using a sink plunger to clear out the drain. This technique will be the most affordable because it is relatively inexpensive to purchase. However, if the clogged area is located further down the drain; advanced equipment is needed to unclog the area. Drain augers are priced between $30-$140. Most plumbers carry drain augers and you would only be paying for labor cost. Although, by purchasing your own drain auger, you have the necessary tool to clean up any future clogs. Learning how to use a drain auger on your own pipes may be damaging. It’s recommended to ask your plumber to come check out your situation before you begin.