What To Do if You Put Drano in Toilet? And Related Questions

Homes have a lot of drains that Drano can help with effectively. The kitchen and bathroom sinks, as well as bathtubs, are typical places where clogs happen. But can you put Drano down a toilet? And if you do, what will happen?

While Drano is a decent solution for unclogging sinks and tubs, it can cause many problems if you use it in your toilet.

What is Drano?

Drano is a chemical drain cleaner that has saved homeowners a lot of money on plumbing bills for nearly a century.

The mixture of sodium hydroxide, sodium nitrate, sodium chloride, and aluminum is perfect for dissolving most things that cause a standard household drain to become clogged. Many people will try Drano before they call a plumber for most issues when their drains stop working.

When a drain gets clogged with grease, hair, or other things, Drano can dissolve the matter that is blocking the water. Over the years, the formula has changed to make it more environmentally friendly. However, the key ingredients have remained largely unchanged.

How Does Drano Work?

There are two steps to creating the chemical reaction Drano works with. Both work together to break down organic matter and melt solid material to help it flow through the drain and allow water to pass.

  • A key ingredient is lye (sodium hydroxide) which dissolves many solid things. The aluminum reacts with the lye and releases hydrogen gas, causing the mixture to stir itself. Pressure builds up in the drain and moves the clog along.
  • Hydrogen gas is volatile, so sodium nitrate helps remove it. It can also break down organic matter, but not as efficiently as lye.

What Kind of Clogs Is Drano Used For?

Drains can get clogged for many reasons. And regardless of where the drain is that suffers from a clog, there are products under the Drano brand that can easily dislodge most matter and get your bathroom or kitchen back to normal.

Kitchen Sinks

The kitchen sink can have a lot of food particles or grease build up in the pipes and stop water from flowing through.

Drano has a lot of products that use their formula to unclog drains and dissolve grease and food easily. The chemicals found in Drano are not harmful to your sink or pipes, and after a thorough washing, you should be safe from contaminating any food.

Bathroom Sinks and Bathtubs

The bathroom can be tough on drains. Washing hair, shaving, washing your hands, and brushing your teeth contribute to the buildup of hair and soap scum. Drano works effectively to get rid of whatever is causing the problem. 

Showers

A standing shower can be difficult if the drain gets clogged. There is not as much room as a bathtub when the water starts to back up. These drains get clogged with hair easily. Fortunately, Drano has many products designed for getting the standing showers unclogged.

Can You Use Drano To Unclog a Toilet?

Since Drano works miracles on clogged drains, it may stand to reason you could use it to clear a clog in your toilet. They usually drain to either a sewer or septic tank. So, what happens if you use Drano in the toilet?

Drano’s website says its line of clog removers is not meant for a toilet. They do not offer any warnings or consequences for using it. But if the brand manufacturer says not to do it, you should heed the warning.

What Happens If You Use Drano in a Toilet?

Drano can unclog your toilet. It acts as a dissolver of organic material and gunk, which is what your toilet is clogged with. The clog is not necessarily the problem. It’s the damage that you can do to your home you need to worry about.

Damage to Your Toilet and Plumbing

When you pour Drano into a toilet, the chemical reaction could damage your toilet. The porcelain may crack and you may have to replace the entire toilet. The money you tried to save on a plumber is gone, and you still have a clogged drain.

Toilet plumbing consists of PVC pipes, made of hard, durable plastic. The chemicals used in Drano can soften those pipes, making them unusable over time. That can lead to extensive and costly home repairs. Old and corroded pipes may also be damaged by Drano.

Health Hazards

In addition to the damage that can do to your home by putting Drano products in your toilet, there are several health concerns to be aware of.

Drano’s main ingredient is lye, an irritant to the skin and eyes. If your toilet does not flush after using Drano, you may be tempted to plunge it. That could cause the chemicals to splash out and get on your skin or eyes, causing burns or even blindness.

Many people reach for other products once they see one has failed. After pouring Drano into your toilet, you might pour another chemical down an hour later. The Drano sitting in the toilet pipes could have a chemical reaction with the new product. That could cause deadly gases to come out.

Flood Damage

If you use Drano in your toilet and it causes damage, you could start getting a lot of water in your bathroom. The damage that could result from a DIY fix could cause a lot of flood damage to your floors and walls, especially if the chemicals cause your pipes to leak inside the wall.

That kind of flood damage will not likely be covered by your homeowner’s insurance.

Breaking Your Lease

If you rent an apartment or house, there may be language in your lease about not using clog removers in the toilet. If you do it, you could be breaking the terms of your lease. If you tried to save money by not using a plumber, you would lose your savings by having to find a new place to live.

What Should You Use For Your Toilet Instead?

Drano is not a good choice for unclogging a toilet. However, there are a few methods you can try to use to free the clog before giving in and calling for help. Try one of these solutions if your toilet starts backing up.

Flange Plunger

One tool every household should have is a flange plunger, also known as a ball plunger. These are not the cup plungers most people buy at the hardware store.

A cup plunger is for unclogging sinks and tubs. A flange plunger has a smaller cup at the bottom designed for the opening in a toilet.

Place the flange plunger over the toilet drain and push it down a few times. The way the plunger works will prevent water from splashing out and should create enough suction to pull the obstruction out. If it doesn’t work at first, give it another try.

Auger

Another solution for a clogged toilet is an auger, also known as a drain snake. Augers are long, flexible tools that can be fed into the toilet drain to remove a blockage.

The flexibility will let you get it down the pipe until it easily reaches the clog. Then, the end of it can twist into the clog to pull it free.

If you don’t have an auger, you can make a rudimentary one with a clothes hanger. Just straighten it out and leave a little bit of a hook at the end. Put the end of it into the toilet drain. If the clog is not too far down the line, you should be able to get through it and pull it free.

Baking Soda

If you have a clog you can’t clear, and you can’t get to the hardware store for a plunger or an auger, you can use baking soda and vinegar.

One cup of baking soda and two cups of vinegar down your toilet’s drain can cause a fizzy reaction that could be enough to break the blockage free. It isn’t as effective as Drano, but it will not damage your plumbing.

Other Drano Products

Drano Max Build-Up Remover can help keep drains from clogging in the first place. Adding it to toilets and septic systems can add helpful microorganisms that keep residue from building up. 

Conclusion

The chemicals found in Drano can work wonders for unclogging your sinks and bathtub. But the reaction that clears those drains can severely damage your toilet and its plumbing. To unclog your toilet, you are better off with tools such as flange plungers and augers.

While you may be trying to save money by not calling a plumber, you could do more damage that will cost you a great deal later on. If you use a plunger and an auger but still can’t get your toilet unclogged, your next best choice is to call a plumber. Their knowledge may cost money, but it will be worth not damaging your home.

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