Is Drano Bad For Pipes? We Help You Figure Out

Kenneth Wilson

Drano is just one of many drain cleaning products used today! When this product is poured down a drainpipe, clogs are instantaneously solved. However, many consumers have reservations about Drano’s cleaning products and how these can affect your pipes and plumbing system.

When the correct product is used, and the instructions are followed, Drano will not damage your pipes or plumbing system. With their specialized product selection, Drano has dedicated products for different plumbing issues, each with specific instructions for usage thereof.

In this article, we’ll break down everything you need to know about using Drano to unclog your drains. Firstly, we’re going to explain whether or not Drano products are safe for drainpipes and what the company has to say about this. Then we’ll take a look at what plumbing experts have to say about using this product to unclog your drains!

Is Drano Bad For Pipes?

Drano is a brand of liquid drain cleaner commonly used in the United States. Essentially, this product is poured down a clogged drain in order to unclog it. It is able to do this by way of numerous chemical reactions with the organic matter that has built up in the drainpipe.

To understand how these chemical reactions occur within a drainpipe, it’s crucial to consider the ingredients in Drano. Typically, Drano drain cleaner is made from bleach, lye, sodium chloride, sodium nitrate, as well as aluminum.

The lye within Drano, which is also known as sodium hydroxide, is the main ingredient responsible for targeting the physical organic matter within your drain. Generally, this is soap scum, hair, and gunk that has collected over time.

The aluminum in the Drano also reacts with the sodium hydroxide, which results in a temperature increase. Ultimately, this speeds up the unclogging process. Finally, the sodium hydroxide will react with grease present in your drainpipes. This reaction results in a soapy substance that can eventually be washed away with hot water.

However, given that all of these processes happen simultaneously, many plumbers advise against using Drano. The reasoning behind this is that the process of unclogging a drainpipe with Drano is too much for your average pipes to handle. It can even cause corrosion to occur under certain circumstances. Let’s consider what Drano has to say about this!

Are Drano Products Safe For Drainpipes?

As mentioned above, many people have reservations about using Drano. On their official website, the company addresses these concerns regarding their product range. First and foremost, the company states that the product is safe to use with both plastic and metal pipes.

However, Drano also stresses the importance of carefully following the provided directions when using the product. Failure to do this can result in adverse effects that could damage your plumbing system.

Drano states that their Clog Remover products are safe to use when unclogging kitchen sinks, bathroom sinks, shower drains, and bathtubs. However, the company stresses that the product should not be used in toilets. That’s because certain chemicals can disrupt the bacteria in septic tanks, slowing down the decomposition process. For toilets, Drano Max Build-Up Remover can be safely used.

To address concerns about the effects of their products, Drano has specially formulated different products for specific plumbing issues. Using the correct product and following the directions is crucial. With any drain cleaning product, it’s essential to carefully follow all instructions. Leaving any product in your pipes for too long can cause damage.

Earlier, we mentioned the fear of Drano causing corrosion to occur in your plumbing system. With their Max Gel Clog Remover, the product is specially formulated to prevent any deterioration in your plastic or metal drainpipes.

On their official website, Drano mentions the fact that many similar products can actually cause damage to drainpipes. This is most likely to happen when consumers purchase off-brand drain cleaning products. To the effects of these inferior products, drain cleaners as a whole get a bad reputation in the cleaning community. (Related: Can You Use Drano With A Septic System? Here's Everything You Need To Know)

Why Liquid Drain Cleaner Can Be Dangerous

As we touched on above, any liquid drain cleaning product can be damaging when misused.

Firstly, this means that leaving the product in your drain for too long can cause damage to your plumbing system. This means your pipes can begin to corrode, crack, and soften.

At the start of this article, we discussed the processes that occur in your drainpipes when Drano is used. These processes co-occur and, when allowed to continue for too long, can damage your pipes. Of course, the simple solution to this would be to follow the directions.

However, even when you correctly follow the instructions, Drano is not a long-term solution to your plumbing issues. Regardless of which brand you’re using, plumbing experts advise not to use Drano products more than four times annually. Exceeding this can damage your pipes.

So, if plumbing experts don’t recommend the prolonged use of Drano and similar products, what do they recommend? Let’s take a look!

Does Drano Really Fix Your Plumbing Problem?

Ultimately, plumbers advise against the long-term usage of Drano and other liquid unclogging products. This primarily comes down to the bleach and lye that are present within these products. The reaction of these chemical ingredients can damage drainpipes. While this can be combatted by following the directions, long-term usage is not recommended.

The overall reason for this is because Drano does not actually fix your underlying plumbing issue. There is a problem likely causing your drain to become clogged. While Drano can help alleviate these issues, it is considered a “band-aid” solution. For this reason, plumbers recommend using other means to deal with blockages.

The easiest way to address a clogged drainpipe without resorting to chemical products is using a plunger or drain snake. For a clogged toilet, a plunger will be your best bet at safely resolving the issue. For other clogs, a drain snake can come in very handy.

By using these means of addressing clogs, you can prevent your plumbing system from becoming damaged due to the continued use of liquid drain cleaning products.

For more information on unclogging your toilet with a plunger or drain snake, the following YouTube videos will guide you through the process!


Drano is a popular product used to unclog drains. While the product is safe to use when the directions are followed, many plumbers advise against the long-term use of these products. This is due to the potentially damaging effects it can have on plumbing systems. Instead, plumbers recommend unclogging toilets and drainpipes with plungers and drain snakes.

Kenneth Wilson
November 10, 2021
Plumbing, Reviews

Kenneth Wilson

Retired contractor. Currently residing in Southwest Florida. Now in semi-retirement, I write and manage this blog focused on helping home owners make savvy decisions when it comes to finding contractors and getting their projects done. I also operate remodeling design service for homeowners.

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