HomeBathroomDoes Bleach Unclog Drains? Should You Be Using It?

Does Bleach Unclog Drains? Should You Be Using It?

A bathroom or kitchen drain gets clogged when dirt, hair, skin flakes, grease, food remains, or shampoo scum bind to the walls of drain pipes. Over time, the gunk accumulates and significantly reduces water flow, until it is completely cut off.

Good drain hygiene is key to preventing clogged drains. But when you do get a blockage and your bathroom sink won’t drain, there are several methods for resolving the issue. 

One of the possible solutions is bleach. Bleach is a cleaning solution made of water and sodium hypochlorite, a chlorine-based compound. As such, bleach is a great cleaning compound, but also a powerful disinfectant and pipe cleaner.

One thing to be aware of is that bleach is also quite corrosive, so handle it with caution to avoid any injuries or damage to your pipes.

Does Bleach Unclog Drains? 

Bleach can help you unclog drains, but it will only work on certain kinds of clogs. As it can also potentially damage your pipes, you need to carefully weigh the pros and cons before using it. 

Bleach is primarily a disinfectant, which means it can help sanitise your drains and break up some smaller clogs. Since bleach is a base with a pH ranging between 11 and 13, it is effective in dissolving acids, including hair and some organic matter, to some extent. This makes it a good choice for bathroom drains, since the clogs there usually start building up because of hair from brushing, cutting, or shaving. 

However, when dealing with a heavily clogged drain, caused by something more solid, bleach will not be that effective. Additionally, using a substantial amount of bleach can potentially damage the pipes and create potentially harmful fumes, especially if used in combination with other cleaners. Make sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully and use a diluted form of bleach, without mixing it with other chemicals.

Rinse the drain thoroughly after using bleach to prevent any damage to your pipes.

Is It OK To Pour Bleach Down the Drain?

It is generally safe to pour bleach down the drain, especially when disinfecting it and keeping the pipes clear. However, it is important to do it safely, since bleach is toxic and it can cause eye, skin, or lung irritation. Additionally, it can react with other chemicals, causing dangerous fumes.

Bleach is also safe to introduce to a sewage or septic system. After use, run water down the drain to flush the bleach down.

One thing to pay attention to is that a small amount of bleach can remain in the P-trap of the pipe, so make sure to flush a significant amount of water before using any other chemicals. When bleach is mixed with certain chemicals, such as ammonia, it creates toxic fumes.

How To Unclog a Drain With Bleach

To unclog a drain with bleach, dilute the bleach with water before pouring it down the drain. The dilution ratio depends on the bleach strength and amount of water in the drain. Generally, the ratio should be one cup of bleach per one gallon of water. Make sure to wear protective equipment (gloves and goggles) when handling bleach, and carefully pour the bleach down the drain. Let it sit for up to 15 minutes and then flush the drain thoroughly.

Don’t leave the bleach in the drain any longer than that, as it has corrosive properties.

How Much Bleach Does It Take to Clear a Drain?

The amount of bleach to use to clear a drain depends on the intensity of the clog. Try mixing one gallon of water with a cup of bleach and pour it down the drain. If the clog doesn’t break up, repeat the process with the same amount.

After you finish, flush the remains with water to clear the pipes.

How Long Can Bleach Sit In a Drain?

Bleach should not be kept in the drain for longer than 15 minutes. Since bleach is a strong, corrosive chemical, it can damage the pipes if left in the drain for too long.

The recommended amount of time to keep bleach in the drain depends on the specific issue you want to address. If you want to disinfect the drain, you can pour bleach down the drain and rinse it immediately.

However, for breaking up a clog, let bleach sit in the drain for no longer than 15 minutes, after which time it should be rinsed thoroughly with water. It will take about half an hour for bleach to dissolve hair in the drain, but it could also damage your pipes if the material is prone to corrosion, so check the type of pipes you have before using bleach for longer than 15 minutes. 

How Often Should You Pour Bleach Down Your Drain?

Bleach should not be poured down the drain more than once or twice a year. This is true both for disinfecting the drain and breaking up clogs. 

If you find yourself needing to use it more often, check if there is a larger plumbing issue that requires professional help.

Does Bleach Damage PVC Pipes?

Bleach does not damage PVC pipes, so you can safely use it to disinfect and clean them. Just make sure to dilute it before use, and don’t mix it with any other chemicals, as you can inadvertently create a toxic combination. 

Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) pipes undergo a hardening process known as thermosetting, which makes the pipes resistant to various chemicals, including bleach.

What you should worry about is combining bleach and other chemicals trapped in the pipe, such as ammonia or vinegar. Make sure not to combine bleach with other chemicals.

Is Bleach Better Than Drano?

Bleach and Drano are both used for clearing pipes, and they are both acids. Bleach is a more basic compound than Drano, and Drano already contains bleach in its formula. Both are viable options for maintaining drain hygiene, and, depending on the case, one may be better than the other.

For example, when you want to sanitise your drains as a precaution, it is perfectly fine to use bleach. It is also a great option when you know it won’t damage your pipes (for example, if you have PVC pipes).

On the other hand, Drano already contains bleach but it also has a special compound whose purpose is to protect pipes from corrosion. If you find yourself having to clear your drains more often, Drano is probably the better option.

Can Bleach Unclog a Kitchen Sink?

Bleach can be used to unclog a kitchen sink, although its effectiveness may depend on the type of clog. It is usually effective with clogs that aren’t made up of solid materials, and it is great at dissolving organic matter.

However, note that bleach can be corrosive to stainless-steel sinks and pipes. If you have a porcelain sink, be sure to check the pipes to see what kind they are. Don’t use bleach on stainless-steel pipes, instead opt for something less corrosive.

If you want to use bleach, make sure to dilute it.

What Can I Pour Down My Drain to Unclog It?

Apart from bleach, there are many other natural drain cleaners, but also products that are quite effective at breaking up clogs.

For example, a homemade solution of baking soda and vinegar is a great natural drain cleaner for weaker clogs, but a tough drain clog will probably require a stronger solution. 

In this case, you can check out some of my favourite drain unblockers, such as the Mister Muscle Drain Unblocker, or the HG Drain Unblocker

Wrapping It Up 

While you can use bleach to unclog a drain, it’s better at sanitising drains than unblocking them. If you are going to pour some down your bathroom or kitchen drain, make sure to dilute it, never mix it with any other chemicals, and make sure to rinse it thoroughly. 


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