Cape Town's Top Plumber
24/7 Availability
Speak With a Plumber Now

Can I use a Drain Cleaner on Toilets

One of the most annoying thing that any homeowner can experience is having a clogged toilet. You want it to go away right at that moment.
“Can I use a drain cleaner on toilets?”” may be the first question you have in mind. However, using a drain cleaner to unclog the toilet is not really a good idea. Read on to know the reason.

Table of Contents

Drain Cleaners are for Sinks and Drains

Liquid drain cleaners are really meant to be used on kitchen and toilet sinks, shower and floor drains, and tub drains. They are not effective when used on toilets because toilets have a different inside configuration.

Drain cleaners work by dissolving the things that are blocking the drain, such as hairs, dirt and dust.

With the toilet however, the blockages usually occur after the S-trap. The S trap blocks odor in waste vents from going through, and it controls the water level in the toilet bowl.

This means that when you pour the drain cleaner into the toilet bowl, it will not reach the substances that are blocking the toilet. Instead the drain cleaning solution is stuck in the bowl. Another thing is that toilet clogs are not usually caused by the same things that cause clogs at sink drains. Hence, drain cleaners are not able to dissolve toilet clogs.

Drain Cleaners have Chemicals

Drain Cleaners consists of caustic chemicals that are strong enough to dissolve debris that blocks the drain. Its chemical component produces heat once it is poured into the bowl.

Because of the S trap the drain cleaning solution will not be able to dissolve the debris immediately. If there’s no debris to dissolve, it may start dissolving something else.

As it goes down into the pipes, it may soften the pipes particularly if it is made of PVC. It can also damage metal pipes, even more if they are already old and rusty. At the worst case, it can crack the porcelain toilet bowl you will end up having to replace it.

Using Drain Cleaners to Prevent Clogs

Drain cleaners are best used when there are symptoms of clogging, such as the toilet flushing slowly. The cleaning power of the product can dissolve toilet paper and organic matter that is almost clogging the toilet. The reason it is still effective is because the solution can still pass through the S trap and to the pipes. Always follow manufacturer instructions when using the drain cleaner. It will tell you the frequency of use and the amount of product you should apply.

Choked-up pipes are narrower than normal pipes and may prevent the water from flowing quickly enough to move the matter that is being flushed away through the toilet trap. Removing the gunk from the pipes therefore helps prevent clogs. Read the manufacturer’s instructions to determine how much of the product to use and how often. Usually, you need to leave the drain cleaners for 6 to 8 hours before flushing it.

Best Way to Unclog a Toilet

The best way to unclog a toilet is really simple, by using a plunger. You may have to plunge a few times for it to work. It may take effort but it is the safest way. If it still doesn’t work, contact a plumber.

Get the Peace of Mind You Deserve

Speak with one of our 24/7 on-call plumbers in Cape Town now.