Is Drain Cleaner An Acid or Base?

Drainage problems can be highly inconvenient to resolve. To avoid drain clogs, you need to know how to keep your drainage system clean regularly. Therefore, it is important to understand what a drain cleaner is, what it is made of, and how to make such maintenance easier.

Drain cleaners are the chemicals used to clean sinks, drains, sewer pipes, and plumbing fixtures. The different types of cleaners on the market differ due to their ingredients. Some are acids, while others are bases, each with benefits and drawbacks. The pH level of each drain cleaner determines whether it is an acid or a base drain cleaner. Therefore, you can confidently take the help of a plumber for drain cleaning in Tucson and know more about it.

Understanding The pH Level In Drain Cleaners

You can determine how acidic or basic a drain cleaner is by looking at its pH level. The “potential of hydrogen” or “power of hydrogen” of any substance is determined by its pH level.

The pH scale ranges from 0 to 14, with anything less than 7 indicating acidic properties. Level 0 is the most acidic, whereas levels seven and up are the most basic. On a pH scale, 7 is the neutral point.

Types of Drain Cleaners

Enzymatic and chemical drain cleaners are two types of drain cleaners.


Drain cleaners that are classified as Enzymatic contain bacteria or concentrated enzymes. These bacteria or enzymes help in the degradation of organic waste and the keeping of a clean drain. They are both safe to use and eco-friendly.

On the other hand, enzymatic drain cleaners are slow and will not remove the clog permanently. As a result, these drain cleaners are best used as a maintenance substance. They can assist you in keeping the drain clean to avoid clogs.


Chemical drain cleaners have their own subsections. These drain cleaners are usually quick and effective, making them good for completely unclogging drains. The disadvantage is that they are dangerous. They can burn the skin and damage pipes and produce harmful fumes.

Chemical drain cleaners can include the following:

● acids like hydrochloric acid and sulfuric acid

● oxidizers like sodium hypochlorite

● caustics such as lye, caustic soda, or sodium hydroxide.

Is Drain Cleaner An Acid Or Base?

According to the most basic definition, acid is a sour, corrosive substance that neutralizes the base. On the other hand, the base is the substance that reacts with an acid to produce salts.

You might wonder what is in it and whether it is an acidic or basic chemical.

Simply put, it can be any type of chemical, ranging from strong acid to a strong base. Even though their effectiveness varies, their working processes are more or less the same.

The term acid drain cleaner refers to a cleaner containing strong acids. Acid is the active ingredient in these drain cleaners. In addition, a base drain cleaner will contain active base chemicals such as lye. Potassium hydroxide is sometimes included in drain cleaners considered bases (KOH).

Drain cleaners used to be primarily acidic. While acid drain cleaners are still accessible, base drain cleaners have become increasingly popular. If you do not want to be unsure whether drain cleaning is an acid or a base, learn about the components of each. You will also be able to choose which one is the best for the cleaning job ahead.

Acid Drain Cleaners

●   The pH of acid drain cleaners is very low. Its active ingredient is sulfuric acid, also known as hydrochloric acid. These acids are strong enough to dissolve even the most stubborn drain clogs. Inside the pipes, they can dissolve grease, hair, and tissue paper.

●     Acid drain cleaners containing sulfuric acid should be handled carefully. Inhaling the fumes from these drain cleaners can hurt your lungs. In addition, if you touch the liquid, it can cause skin irritation.

●     Your pipes may be damaged as a result of this powerful acidity. They can also wear out protective coatings and sealants, resulting in leaks.

Basic Drain Cleaners

●   Alkaline drain cleaners or openers are also known as base drain cleaners. Sodium hydroxide (lye) is found in most of them, whereas potassium hydroxide is contained in others. Drain cleaners for the base can be solid or liquid. On a 14-point pH scale, these drain cleaners can score as high as 14.

●   Drain cleansers like these are far more basic than bleach, making them far more dangerous.

●     Re-oxidizing to release hydrogen gas is how some simple drain cleaners work. The additional heat release then helps break down the greases, oils, and other elements that caused the blockage. In addition, because hair contains proteins, these cleaners also generate hydroxide ions and can dissolve hair.

●    Basic drain cleaners are really effective. On the other hand, some are only truly useful when used directly on a clog. This is because they will eat away at the fats, food, and other materials in a clog if used on it. Therefore, if your toilet is clogged, you will not be able to use this remedy to clear it. This can worsen by loosening materials stuck to the sides of the pipes, which will eventually run down and aggravate the clog.

●     On the other hand, the base cleaner is a corrosive alkaline liquid; the liquid will sink to the clog’s spot. It will be able to reach the clog and begin oxidation. Releasing gas and producing heat will turn grease into a soap-like matter. Later on, this soap substance will quickly dissolve.

Final Words

An acid or a base can be used as a drain cleaning. The acidity of commercially available liquid drain cleaners can range from very basic to very acidic.

Depending on which drain cleaner you buy, the pH can be extremely high or extremely low.

A drain cleaning plumber can give you numerous options that will not harm you, your family, or your plumbing pipes.

Christin Hakim

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