Can bleach unclog drains? It’s a simple question, but the answer is a bit more elusive. Here’s the truth straight up, with no punches pulled.
Most of us know already how corrosive bleach is. Anyone who has done the laundry enough times has read the warnings on a bottle of Clorox® bleach. But it does clean extremely well, which is why we continue to use it when washing our clothes.
So, here’s what we need to know about bleach and if it can — and more important, if it should be used to — unclog drains.
Table of Contents
What is Bleach?
Bleach is a cleaning solution made out of water and the chlorine-based compound sodium hypochlorite. It’s also referred to as chlorine bleach for that reason. The bleach used in a swimming pool (“chlorine”) is much stronger than the bleach used to wash our clothes.
When used on clothing, it is strong enough to remove the colors from your garments. That is why it’s commonly used in the laundry process to remove stains.
Can Bleach Unclog Drains?
Maybe. Not only can bleach remove stains, it might also help you unclog your drain.
But it needs to be used with extreme caution and only when you’ve run out of other options. It’s possible that using bleach will do more harm than good (similar to chemical drain cleaners like Drano®, they’re simply too harsh on your pipes and often ineffective).
Having said that, it can also be extremely effective at dissolving hair. And hair in your drain is perhaps the single most common reason for a clogged drain.
Your hair (from brushing, cutting, or shaving) builds up in your drain over time. Eventually, it causes a full or partial clog. If you remember your high school chemistry, you might know that bleach is a base. This allows it to dissolve human hair, which is an acid.
Instructions for Unclogging a Drain with Bleach
Here’s what we recommend if want to try unclogging your drain with bleach.
CAUTION: Wear goggles and waterproof gloves whenever working with bleach. Be careful to not splash bleach onto you or your hands. If this happens, wash immediately and thoroughly with fresh water.
- Purchase a gallon of liquid bleach
- Remove any excess water from your sink or bathtub (from wherever your drain is located)
- Pour 1 cup of bleach into a cup, and then into your drain (this will reduce splashing)
Wait 10 minutes, then run hot water for 5 minutes to see if it has unclogged
- When done, wash out your sink or tub with plenty of fresh water
PRO TIP: Don’t force this solution to work: if it doesn’t work the first time, try using this natural drain-clearing solution instead. A solution of vinegar and baking soda is much safer, healthier, and probably more effective.
Conclusion: Can Bleach Unclog Drains?
As you can tell, professional plumbers aren’t too keen on recommending bleach as a home remedy for your clogged drains. We much prefer using safe, natural solutions — and proven DIY plumbing solutions — that are more effective and less damaging to you and your pipes.
If you need help cleaning or unclogging any drain in your home or office, don’t hesitate to contact us or call us at 1-Tom-Plumber (1-866-758-6237). We will immediately respond to and handle any emergency plumbing, drain cleaning and drain clearing, and water damage problem, including excavation of underground water lines and sewer main lines.