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Can You Pour Bleach Down the Drain? What You Need to Know!


Somewhere, somebody thought pouring bleach down the drain was a good way to clean it. They were wrong. Not only is it potentially damaging to the drain and pipes, but there’s also the potential for a toxic chemical reaction.

We’ll walk you through everything you need to know about potentially pouring bleach down the drain and why you shouldn’t do it, but we’ll also give you some helpful tips on other ways you can clean your drain without damaging anything.

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The 3 Reasons You Should Never Pour Bleach Down the Drain

If you’re thinking about pouring bleach down the drain, think again. Bleach is an extremely toxic and corrosive chemical, and while it might clear up the gunk, it can damage the pipes in the process. Even worse, pouring bleach down the drain can be dangerous for you!

Image By: Semevent, Pixabay

1. Chemical Reaction

This isn’t the most likely reaction when you pour bleach down the drain, but it has the most serious implications. Bleach is an extremely strong chemical, and you don’t always know what’s sitting in your drain.

If there’s any kind of ammonia, acid, or another cleaner already in the sink, bleach can mix with it. Too much of a reaction and you might end up with a toxic gas coming out of your drain.

2. Pipe Damage

Bleach is extremely toxic and corrosive, and no matter what type of pipes you have this can create problems. If you have copper or steel pipes it can start and expedite the corrosion process, leading to failures of the pipe itself.

And while bleach isn’t quite as bad for PVC pipes, these types of pipes use gaskets at different connection points. Bleach will eat at these gaskets, leading to leaks and other problems.

3. Septic System Damage

Septic systems use beneficial bacteria to break down the waste you put in the tank, and bleach is harmful to just about everything alive. The beneficial bacteria in the septic tank will react with the bleach, and it’ll kill the bacteria.

This is good when it happens to harmful bacteria, but that’s not the case with a septic tank. Small amounts of bleach typically won’t create a long-lasting problem, but frequent use of bleach can lead to expensive damages.

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Other Ways to Clean Your Drains

Just because you shouldn’t pour bleach down your drain doesn’t mean there’s nothing you can do to clean the drain and pipes. Even better, while it might take a bit more work to make your own cleaning solution, it’s less expensive than constantly purchasing bleach to pour down the drain.

person holding glass of vinegar while pouring baking soda down the drain
Image By: batjaket, Shutterstock

To clean and disinfect your drain in a more natural way we recommend the following steps:

  1. Pour ½ cup of baking soda down the drain.
  2. Create a ½ gallon of a 50/50 mix of vinegar and boiling water. Pour this combination down the drain.
  3. Finish by pouring another ½ gallon of boiling water down the drain.

Once you finish with the extra ½ gallon of boiling water, run water down the sink until all the foam runs down the drain.

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Final Thoughts

Now that you know why you shouldn’t pour bleach down the drain and have a better way to get the job done, you can safely clean your drain. While you might be able to safely pour bleach down the drain a time or two if you get lucky, it’s only a matter of time until you need to call a plumber for some expensive repairs if you keep doing it!

Featured Image Credit: Billion Photos, Shutterstock


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