A clogged kitchen sink is an absolute nightmare. Most people frequently use their kitchen sinks to wash dishes, rinse food, or clean throughout the day. While you could default to a bathroom sink, there’s something that feels so wrong about washing dishes in the bathroom.
You may find yourself reaching for Drano, hoping its chemical cocktail will dissolve the gunk clogging your garbage disposal. However, while you can use Drano on your handy waste disposal, it usually isn’t the best way to go.
Is Drano Safe To Use To Clear The Clog In The Drain?
Short answer: no. Although S.C. Johnson, the company that manufactures Drano, states all products can be used in garbage disposals except one (Drano Kitchen Crystals), it may not be the best idea. Why? The answer comes down to the main ingredient in all Drano drain cleaning products: sodium hydroxide.
The name might not mean anything to you if you don’t have a science background. It’s essentially a chemical that helps clean your drain but also has super friendly nicknames, including ‘caustic soda.’
Drano works by creating heat with the assistance of a chemical concoction made up of sodium hydroxide, sodium metasilicate, and sodium hypochlorite (bleach). The combination of these ingredients can produce a considerable amount of heat. While the heat is helpful for dissolving and breaking down stubborn clogs, it can also damage the plumbing beneath your sink, causing all sorts of issues.
If Drano gets hung up somewhere in your garbage disposal, it can damage the parts from generating too much heat.
Will Drano Damage A Garbage Disposal?
This primary ingredient, found in various products, including Dual Force Foam, Liquid Clog Remover, Max Gel, and Snake Plus, can be harmful to you and your plumbing. The compound can cause significant damage to your plumbing and severe burns.
In addition to the possibility of plumbing damage, Drano can actually be harmful to you. If the chemical remains in the drain or garbage disposal, it can produce caustic soda drains. The result is toxic fumes, particularly when adding additional chemicals, like bleach or ammonia.
While you can pour Drano down your drain and potentially not notice any of the potential side effects, there are other ways to unclog your drain that you should try first.
How To Unclog A Drain Without Drano
There are a few ways to unclog your kitchen drain without enlisting the help of the caustic cleaner. While it can be incredibly helpful in some scenarios, you may find that you can release the clog with a safer method.
Use A Hex Wrench
It sounds strange, but a hex wrench could help loosen the stubborn clog blocking your drain. Most clogs get lodged between the rotor and casing of the disposal canister, causing the rotor to lock and overflow the drain.
Take a hex wrench and insert it into the socket in the middle of the rotor beneath the garbage disposal. Turn it back and forth with the hex wrench. This might help dislodge the clog, freeing the rotor. Head back up above the sink (with the hex wrench, don’t leave it in there) and turn on the garbage disposal while running the water.
Plunge The Drain
You can also use a sink plunger (no, not the nasty bathroom plunger) to unclog the drain. This can help release clogs stuck in the pipes beyond the garbage disposal. You need to secure the sink plunger completely around the opening so it can create sufficient suction.
If there’s water in the sink (about an inch or two), you may have better luck. Generally, plungers work better with a bit of water in the sink.
Use Safer Chemicals Or A Snake
If neither of the above methods works to release the clog, you can try using a snake or safer chemicals. To snake the drain, you can disassemble the P-trap and snake out the wall drain. This method isn’t particularly pleasant, but it may help.
Alternatively, you could use a safer chemical. Or, you could enlist the help of baking soda and vinegar to create a fizzy reaction. While the science experiment approach usually takes a while to work, it’s safe for you, the plumbing, and the environment.
Can I Use Drano If Nothing Else Works?
Sure, you can use Drano if you’ve tried all other options. However, you need to be extremely careful and aware of the potential toll it can take on you and the plumbing in your home. Ensure you follow the manufacturer’s instructions. If you decide to use liquid Drano as a last resort, ensure you cover the garbage disposal before turning it on to avoid splashing.
Doing so can help protect you from chemical burns at the hands of the chemical mixture. Additionally, it’ll help preserve the surrounding area, including your countertop and floors.
Now, if nothing seems to work and the clog remains stuck, it might be time to call in a professional plumber.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Will boiling water unclog a drain?
Well, it’s debatable. Usually, hot water as a solution to unclog your drain is hit and miss at best. It can damage or melt PVC pipes and joints, which is a nightmare in itself. If you have metal pipes, you may have better results, but it’s usually not the best approach.
Can I use a toilet plunger to unclog the sink?
Technically, yes, you can, as long as the plunger cup fully covers the drain. It has to be large enough to create good suction all around the drain. Now, if you’ve already used the toilet plunger for its intended use, you may not want to use it in the sink, especially the kitchen sink.